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Enhanced portal gives Singapore SMEs extra help in omni-channel capabilities

SMALL and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Singapore can now use the enhanced 99%SME website to access business insights, last-mile delivery options, and stronger customer engagement features, said Singtel, DBS and the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) in a joint statement on Friday.

Consumers will also be able to find, on the website, the nearest and most relevant SME store based on their search query, and be able to view recommended products based on their needs and usage patterns. 

The annual 99%SME campaign - started by DBS and Singtel in 2015 - aims to help local SMEs go digital. It was named 99%SME as SMEs make up 99 per cent of businesses in Singapore. To date, more than 8,000 retailers have joined the campaign. 

Said assistant chief executive of the sector transformation group at IMDA, Jane Lim: "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."

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There is no charge for SMEs to list their products or services on the website. 

With the enhanced platform, SMEs will have increased visibility through the location-based search feature, and be able to market to consumers in the vicinity, which can help drive footfall to their stores. 

SMEs may also tap the platform's new omni-channel and retail features to grow their customer base by effectively utilising both their offline and online presence, Singtel, DBS and IMDA said. 

The platform now 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 may walk into their stores and collect their merchandise.

Separately, the e-commerce portal allows SMEs to access business insights to better understand their sales performance, and plan their product mix to optimise sales and inventory.

In addition, merchants on the site will have access to DBS's 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 open to large enterprises.

Noted group head of SME banking at DBS Joyce Tee: "Recognising that SMEs need more support to thrive in the digital economy, multi-national corporations and public sector partners must collaborate to close the gap with SMEs."

She added that the B2B e-marketplace pilot launch was successful, and that the bank is now in the process of onboarding large corporates.

To further help SMEs accelerate their digitalisation journey, Singtel and DBS are partnering the Federation of Merchants’ Association (FMAS), trade associations, chambers of commerce, polytechnics and corporate partners to reach out and encourage SMEs to support the new 99%SME platform.

Said FMAS president Yeo Hiang Meng: "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."

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