E-commerce key to survival
P&G launches first digital innovation centre outside the United States
Digitalisation is crucial to companies' survival as more consumers are living their lives on their mobile phones, said industry leaders from US consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble, supermarket chain FairPrice and tech giant Google yesterday.
They also shared how e-commerce should become part of a consumer's journey at the second edition of P&G's leadership development programme for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) - which included a panel discussion that focused on digital and e-commerce topics.
This was held in conjunction with the launch of P&G's first digital innovation centre, called the e-Center, outside the United States.
This also comes in line with the $80 million set aside in this year's Budget for the SMEs Go Digital programme.
During the panel discussion yesterday, FairPrice's chief strategic officer Elvin Too said his company was pushed to digitalise its business. NTUC's FairPrice Online service was first launched in 2002, and a revised version of its mobile shopping app was introduced in 2015 with added features such as tabs and shopping lists.
"Transformation is just survival... To win in retail, it's no longer about e-commerce or physical commerce, it's just commerce now," he said.
This also meant FairPrice had to transform some of its offline processes to accommodate its digital push - a difficult move given its offline processes make up 90 per cent of its business - but Mr Too said it was necessary.
Another panellist, Mr Ghislain Le Chatelier, Google's global marketing solutions South-east Asia regional director, shared how his company worked with Gain City, which saw its online revenue increase by four times in just the first phase of the project.
Homegrown e-mail marketing start-up Ematic Solutions' vice-president Saloni Singh advised companies starting on e-commerce to focus their resources on key products. "If you don't have enough resources to promote (everything), select the products that will have the highest potential to sell online and stop there," she said.
P&G's new e-Center here, launched in partnership with the Economic Development Board, will focus on improving the company's supply chain management, e-analytics and e-business in its undertaking of end-to-end digital innovation.
The company will invest US$100 million (S$140 million)in the e-Center over the next five years.
P&G will also partner local SMEs to develop new digital solutions and work with institutes of higher learning here to develop curriculum in digital skills.
Said Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S. Iswaran, who was the event's guest of honour: "We are confident that this new e-Center will better position P&G and Singapore to capture future opportunities in the digital economy."