Set up in 2014, Rong Ping Pte Ltd (Rong Ping) distributes, repairs and services mobility scooters — under the Bencole brand. Rong Ping started with direct marketing efforts to hospitals and welfare homes. After observing how its competitors are gaining traction via e-commerce, they decided to expand their business online in 2016.
“Having an online store helps speed up sales conversion,” said Ms Nicole Teo, Director, Rong Ping Pte Ltd. As part of its digital strategy, Rong Ping considered other existing e-commerce platforms but found the registration tedious.
When Singtel contacted Ms Teo to join the 99%SME eMarketplace, she saw how easy the registration was and decided to participate in the programme. She said, “With available on-boarding training and assistance from the 99%SME team, we could put up our promotions easily and get started quickly on the eMarketplace.”
Going onto the 99%SME eMarketplace also helps to increase visibility and level the playing field for Rong Ping. “It is tough for a small business like ours to compete with the bigger players. With limited budget, we cannot afford to spend much on online marketing. The 99%SME eMarketplace is a free advertising platform that has helped drive increased awareness at no on-boarding costs. We are receiving more enquiries now,” said Ms Teo.
Sharing her experience on the 99%SME eMarketplace, Ms Teo concluded, “We are pleased to see good traction in the four months since our listing and have experienced an increment of about 30% in overall sales figures.”
As a home-grown company behind the Kinohitmisu brand, Kino Biotech Pte Ltd (Kino Biotech) embarked on its digital journey since 2014. Mr Chong Ka Wee, Kino Biotech’s Chief Executive Officer, shared his motivation to bring the company online, “Expanding into the digital space opens up a new, borderless market for faster growth. It gives us new ways to engage today’s digital-savvy customers.”
Moving online has enabled Kino Biotech to connect to consumers directly beyond its distribution to over 4,500 resellers across Asia. Besides driving faster growth with direct access to its customers, the online data collected has helped Kino Biotech better understand its customers’ preferences and buying behaviour, which is useful when developing new products.
Mr Chong said, “Today, where customers are spoilt for choice, it is important for businesses to understand their customers and engage them effectively. With an in-depth knowledge of our customers’ journeys across every physical, human and digital brand touch-points, we provide a seamless and consistent customer experience through online and offline channels.”
Kino Biotech markets its products on various e-commerce platforms as Mr Chong believes that different platforms appeal to different customers. “We are constantly looking for new avenues to enhance awareness of our brand. The 99%SME eMarketplace provides a new platform to reach out to millions of potential customers, while driving traffic to both our online shop and physical stores,” said Mr Chong. As a 99%SME participant, he is also looking forward to the dedicated online campaigns and SME Week which will help drive more sales for his business.
Encouraging other SMEs to consider e-commerce, Mr Chong advised, “Digital transformation is a journey -- it does not replace one’s existing business model, but enhances it with additional capabilities. You can start with baby steps by leveraging opportunities such as 99%SME eMarketplace.”
When it first started in 2007, Ashleigh Ivory Pte Ltd (Ashleigh Ivory) marketed its beauty and skincare products through retail stores and distribution to major departmental stores. To expand her market reach, Ms Cassiopea Yap, Managing Director of Ashleigh Ivory, decided to move her business online 2 years ago.
“The local market is getting saturated and retail sales is not as good as before. With high overhead expenses on rental and manpower, it is more cost effective to operate my business online,” said Ms Yap.
When she first ventured online, she did not have the digital expertise and had to learn through trial and error. She said, “I wish we had the subsidy to engage a Digital Professional (DP) back then. I was unsure how to improve my online business and did not have a staff with digital knowledge. So when I learnt about the DP programme through Nanyang Polytechnic’s (NYP) Singapore Institute of Retail Studies (SIRS), I went ahead to engage a trained DP.”
The DP was tasked to enhance Ashleigh Ivory’s website, while making use of the online data captured to analyse customer preferences and buying patterns, to speed up business decision-making for Ms Yap. She added, “The data analytics performed by the DP provided me with insight to market trends which has helped with promotions and new product development.”
She is pleased with the performance of the DP and has plans to expand her digital team. Free participation on 99%SME, coupled with subsidies of up to 90% to employ DPs has greatly helped to keep her expenses in check as she grows her online business.