Pikom: Local SMEs need govt support to build strong brand presence

Pikom believes e-commerce is the future of the retail industry globally as well as globally. — AFP pic
Pikom believes e-commerce is the future of the retail industry globally as well as globally. — AFP pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 29 — Given the tremendous potential in e-commerce to support the nation’s economic growth, local brands will stand to benefit if they have a comprehensive e-commerce plan as part of the retail strategy, according to the National Tech Association of Malaysia (Pikom).

Pikom believes e-commerce is the future of the retail industry globally as well as globally.

“We need to support the capabilities and digitalisation of local brands,” stressed its chairman Danny Lee, pointing out that major e-commerce players in Malaysia are foreign-owned.

That is why, he said, that quite a number of the products that consumers buy are being shipped from overseas.

“This is also why we believe it is imperative that our small and medium enterprises (SMEs) build a strong brand presence through online channels,” he said.

To this end, Pikom said the government could play a major role in helping local SMEs increase their online presence, which include online marketing, brand building, product positioning, pricing strategy and omni-channel rollout.

Lee said SMEs with support from the government can fulfill their aspirations to penetrate regional markets.

“In the popular e-marketplaces, undoubtedly the bulk of products listed are those that are shipped from overseas. That’s because quite a number of local SMEs are not well versed in the right marketing mix for their product, as compared to their overseas competitors,” he said.

Lee said established e-commerce enablers in the country could provide the whole suite of digital marketing, performance marketing, inventory planning, multi-webstore management and customer care services as a non-stop solution and help SMEs find the best fit.

He cited ‘live commerce’, a new online avenue that could be used by local SMEs.

Live commerce uses influencers to conduct live video streaming while providing online shoppers the ability to interact with sellers and purchase their desired products instantly. 

“Currently, local SMEs may not have the necessary expertise, so we need to have initiatives to support it.

“With the right support, SMEs can reap the benefits of e-commerce as proven by some local brands that have seen their sales grow by 10 to 20 times within a year after partnering with local e-commerce enablers,” he said.

He suggested that high level dialogues be hosted by the government with local SMEs and e-commerce industry players to further nurture growth for the local e-commerce industry and ensure that the fast-growing industry will benefit local retailers.

On its part to help develop local e-commerce merchants, PIKOM has been organising the #MYCYBERSALE, an annual national initiative in collaboration with Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) which has been successful for six years running.

“The number of merchants coming on board has grown from 283 to 1,510 over the six-year period. #MYCYBERSALE has been very successful in catalysing the growth of the national e-commerce industry contributing RM392 million in gross merchandise value (GMV) during the seven-day sales in 2019,” said Lee. — Bernama

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