The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), Singtel and DBS recently rolled out a new 99%SME e-commerce platform (99sme.sg) that aims to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Singapore easily adopt digital technologies and provide their customers with omni-channel experiences. The new platform was launched by Sim Ann, Senior Minister of State, Ministry for Communications and Information and Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth.
The new platform (99sme.sg) complements the 99%SME campaign, co-founded by Singtel and DBS, to help SMEs adopt digital technology to grow their businesses and supports IMDA’s existing plans to boost the digital capabilities of Singapore’s retail sector.
SMEs can tap into the platform’s new omni-channel and retail features to grow their customer base using both their offline and online presence effectively. The platform allows retailers to offer ‘last-mile’ delivery options to their online customers by allowing them to perform self-collection from the stores. This enables SMEs to upsell and cross-sell to online customers who walk into their stores and collect their merchandise. SME merchants can also use the platform’s business insights and reports to better understand sales performance of product categories and help them plan their product mix to optimise sales and inventory.
There is no charge for SMEs to list their products or services. Participating merchants can also freely use the platform’s library of common copyright-free product images and details to list their products and services more easily.
For the consumer, the new 99%SME platform will enable them to conveniently find the nearest and most relevant SME store and product based on their search query. They can also enjoy the platform’s recommended or similar products, based on their needs and previous usage patterns.
Jane Lim, Assistant Chief Executive, Sector Transformation Group, IMDA, said: “With the strong growth of e-commerce in Singapore, our neighbourhood retailers with physical stores should capitalise on this opportunity by going omni-channel. Dedicated platforms such as the 99%SME platform can help them digitalise and compete more effectively in an increasingly connected and globalised market. Residents will benefit too as they will be able to search and buy products more easily from their neighbourhood retailers, whether they shop offline or online.”
“The new 99%SME platform presents SMEs with all the features of a digital marketplace to optimise their market exposure and help shoppers find and buy their products either online or in-store. The platform will greatly benefit SMEs by giving them the opportunity to develop an online revenue stream and, at the same time, encourage more buyers to visit their physical stores,” said Andrew Lim, Managing Director, Business Group at Singtel. “As a founding member of the 99%SME movement, we are committed to helping SMEs scale up and thrive in a highly competitive environment and make the most of new opportunities in the fast-growing digital economy.”
In addition, merchants on 99%SME will also have access to DBS’ B2B e-marketplace, which enables SMEs to sell their goods and services to large corporations. These SMEs can also access supply chain connections, financing, and payment solutions that are usually only open to large enterprises.
“Recognising that SMEs need more support to thrive in the digital economy, multi-national corporations (MNCs) and public sector partners must collaborate to close the gap with SMEs,” said Joyce Tee, Group Head of SME Banking, DBS Bank. “The B2B e-marketplace pilot launch was successful, and we’re in the processing of onboarding large corporates. With support from the broader ecosystem partners and by leveraging the power of new technologies, SMEs will be given the tools needed to grow revenue and expand into new markets.”
To help SMEs accelerate their digitalisation journey, Singtel and DBS are partnering the Federation of Merchants’ Association, trade associations, chambers of commerce, polytechnics and corporate partners to reach out and encourage SMEs to support the new 99%SME platform.
Yeo Hiang Meng, President, Federation of Merchants’ Association Singapore (FMAS), said: “FMAS welcomes dedicated efforts like these, which will benefit heartland retailers and get them ready for the new digital economy. Every heartland and neighbourhood have its own unique retail mix and having an omni-channel presence helps open up more opportunities for retailers.”
The launch of the new platform marks another milestone in the journey of the annual 99%SME campaign to help SMEs in Singapore transform and operate in the digital economy. Since its launch in 2015, the campaign has supported more than 8,000 SMEs in their digitalisation journey.