SMEs still lack online marketing, e-commerce skills to survive


LACK of online marketing and e-commerce skills are the biggest stumbling block for local SMEs to succeed when the Full Movement Control Order (FMCO) is enforced, based on data collected from DATA Asia Virtual Tech Conference and Expo organised by Virtualtech Frontier Sdn Bhd (VTF) recently.

“Digital marketing is key to business digitalisation, especially during the FMCO, where business operation and consumer movements are limited. When a business lacks digital marketing resources, they would not be able to reach out to their customer base effectively given the present pandemic situation,” said VTF digital enablement specialist and founder Jason Low.

Low also added that at the virtual conference and expo, the participants showed keen interest on topics such as Innovate Your Business with Cloud Technology and Building Credibility of SME Businesses via B2B eCommerce Marketplace.

This is aligned with post-event findings that businesses beyond the retail sector are searching for the right solutions to digitalise their sales channel.

According to the participants surveyed, sectors most thirsty for e-commerce solutions are retail (21%), services (18%) and manufacturing (18%).

On the lack of e-commerce solution, the common issue that was brought up by the participants was the inability to identify suitable and reputable mentors in their respective industries.

“If lack of digital marketing and e-commerce resources make up the top three areas across all sectors, it may be an indication of impaired business operations in today’s situation. If the present movement restriction is prolonged, these sectors will suffer losses in the long run. Given that 98.5% of business establishments in Malaysia are SMEs, this is not good news. As such, there should be an accelerated effort to upskill the entrepreneurs and their staff with essential digitalisation tools”, said Low in a statement.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian Global Creativity and Innovation welcomes the gradual opening of sectors in the National Recovery Plan announced by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on Tuesday.

“The four-phased approach has clear transitions designed to take the country out of the health and economic crisis brought about by the global Covid-19 pandemic. It provides a roadmap on easing restrictions and offers pathways to normality,” said its acting CEO Amiruddin Abdul Shukor.

During this period, MaGIC will continue to manage and coordinate initiatives announced by the government under the National Budget 2021, short-term National Economic Recovery Plan, Prihatin Rakyat Economic Stimulus Package and Strategic Programme to Empower the People and the Economy initiatives.

These include the National Technology & Innovation Sandbox, Social Impact Matching Grant, Program Perolehan Inovasi Sosial Kerajaan and Social Innovation Challenge Accelerator and various capacity building programmes for start-ups and social enterprises.