This post was written in collaboration with Singtel. While we are financially compensated by them, we nonetheless strive to maintain our editorial integrity and review products with the same objective lens. We are committed to providing the best recommendations and advice in order for you to make personal financial decisions with confidence. You can view our Editorial Guidelines here.
A large majority of the companies in Singapore are SMEs, which are a key driver of economic growth in the Republic. But Singaporeans tend to only notice the big MNCs because they are more visible, and might lack awareness of SMEs and what they have to offer.
For businesses, this translates to an ever-present challenge of figuring out how to reach out to their target audience. Finding a way to reach potential clients on the Internet has been growing in importance over the last decade, and shows no signs of stopping. Businesses with a strong online presence get to harness the benefits of scale, reach and cost savings. But how does one get there?
SMEs in Singapore now have a new way to build an online presence and reach out to a larger audience.
99%SME is an e-commerce platform co-founded by Singtel and DBS that is designed to help SMEs reach their customers in cyberspace.
For some, the perception of “going digital” might sound like an extremely tedious task, but on 99%SME, setting up your online store is extremely simple. You can create a profile on the platform to enable customers to purchase products and services online. Online payment and shipping functions are easy to set up on the platform thanks to an integrated system that makes it possible to start an online store in just minutes.
The platform enables you to reach more customers online thanks to geo-location based search functions. Customers will also be able to locate your physical store’s address and opt for self-collection, which can boost in-person visits.
The site also collects sales data to enable you to make better business decisions. All data can be accessed via your seller account.
99%SME has a strong mandate to help businesses succeed online, and so provides access to lots of guidance and marketing resources. You can obtain advice on photo taking, learn how to build and manage your online store, how to run promotions and how to successfully fulfil online orders.
You’ll also have lots of chances to publicise your business thanks to marketing resources and monthly promotional campaigns, including those capitalising on Mothers’ Day, the Great Singapore Sale, Hari Raya Puasa, Christmas and so on. You can take advantage of them at no extra cost using an EDM blast and/or running digital advertisements on social media and elsewhere.
What else can you get from the platform?
Apart from the benefits that come from establishing a digital presence online which you can get with 99%SME, there is a holistic suite of supporting initiatives to ensure each company’s success.
Dedicated support team
The beginning of a digital journey can be a steep learning curve, as we will explore further in subsequent articles. 99%SME has a dedicated team to provide assistance and guide you every step of the way. It could anything from simple copy writing to product photography and even understanding the data that the platform provides you.
Partnership with Polytechnics
The collaboration with local polytechnics is an especially unique one for a digital platform. These institutions are able to provide student resources to help SMEs on their digitalization projects. The students also benefit from the exposure they get to real-world projects and the business needs of SMEs
Training and workshops
99%SME has a regular line up of training and workshops to better equip SMEs with skills and knowledge as they progress through their digital journey. These courses cover topics such as e-commerce, digital marketing, HR, accountancy, cyber security and much more.
All participating SMEs will also get access to resource packs which include:
- Business solutions at subsidized rates to improve their daily operations
- Corporate loans at preferential rates
- Curated training programmes by SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) to prepare SMEs for e-commerce/managing an online business
- Health and wellness packages (SME Health+ packages by Health Promotion Board) for SMEs to improve their staff welfare and engagement
As you can see, this isn’t just a platform for companies to list their products and services, but it is really something that takes every effort to ensure that you don’t just begin your journey but actually have the tools to thrive online.
How can your business benefit?
One of the biggest benefits of 99%SME is that it offers increased accessibility to your desired audience. Many brick and mortar businesses are now moving online (check out this article for some pearls of wisdom from businesses who’ve made the shift), so having a strong online presence is now more important than ever. Maintaining an e-store on 99%SME can be a key pillar of your online strategy.
By maintaining an e-store on 99%SME, you could also potentially operate on a larger scale, reaching an online audience that would otherwise be harder to access with a physical store. You might also be able to reduce your operating costs, thanks to a reduced reliance on brick and mortar premises and as well as expensive-to-maintain online infrastructure.
Being on 99%SME will also boost overall brand awareness. Not only will you have a dedicated online store for an Internet audience, you will also be able to communicate more closely with potential clients thanks to the many marketing opportunities provided by the platform.
In an age where technology is constantly disrupting consumer behavior, it can be tough to keep up and survive in such a fast-paced landscape. 99%SME’s purpose is really to help SMEs with the challenges of the digital age, and ultimately become the digital destination of SMEs in Singapore.
How can this benefit consumers?
Businesses aren’t the only ones who stand to gain from using 99%SME. There is a strong element of brand and product discovery that you might not have realized previously. Think about it this way – with so many local SMEs typically running brick and mortar shops, it’s highly unlikely that you have physically seen or visited many of these companies.
With 99%SME, users can now easily browse the site in order to discover new & homegrown SG brands that we may not be aware of or be reminded of existing ones. And you will certainly be surprised at the diversity of brands and products available on the site.
In the long run, 99%SME can also be an asset to the local economy, as more and more consumers support local businesses simply by shopping with them!
Are you a local business? Click here to sign up as an e-seller.
Are you a customer? Click here to discover new local businesses and buy from them online.
What are some of your favorite SMEs from Singapore? Share them in the comments!