Over 5,500 SMEs now have digital presence to reach wider base of customers
More than 5,500 small and medium (SME) enterprises now have a digital presence after signing up with the 99%SME initiative, which is now in its third year.
Many of these businesses will advertise their in-store discounts on the 99%SME website, as part of the annual 99%SME shopping week that was launched at Toa Payoh Central yesterday.
This year's record number of participants of 5,500 was more than double last year's number of 2,600.
The event caps a year-long series of initiatives by 99%SME to help SMEs transform and digitalise their operations, which include partnering Nanyang Polytechnic to help SMEs hire digital professionals.
In July, about 400 SMEs registered to sell their products on the 99%SME e-commerce site, which is powered by online retailer Lazada.
The initiative - named 99%SME as SMEs make up 99 per cent of all businesses here - is organised by local corporations Singtel and DBS.
Mr Andrew Lim, managing director of business group at Singtel, said that many SMEs are aware of the need to go digital, but lack time and resources to do so.
About 80 per cent of these 5,500 businesses are brick and mortar shops who joined the 99%SME portal to reach a wider base of online customers, added Mr Lim.
"E-commerce is new to many of them... Advertising their products on the 99%SME website can target new customers (and) drive traffic to their stores. Customers can also discover unique and exciting offers from the SMEs," said Mr Lim.
Ms Joyce Tee, group head of SME Banking, DBS, said that cashless payment solutions are an important part of the digitalisation process for SMEs.
She pointed out that the lack of transaction fees for e-wallet payment method DBS PayLah! has drawn some merchants.
A DBS spokesman said that 1,700 small merchants, ranging from hawker centres to neighbourhood stores, now accept DBS PayLah!
Mr Gerald Tong, general manager of Tong Jum Chew, a third-generation traditional Chinese medicine business that recently revamped their own e-commerce site and started accepting DBS Pay Lah! is part of the 99%SME movement.
He said: "It will take time for customers to accept new payment methods, but we also have to move with the times."