60% of Singapore’s core merchants have gone online since the digitization push in 2020
SINGAPORE – As of March, 60% of merchants in the heart had listed their items on e-commerce platforms and used online marketing tools.
This is partly thanks to the Heartlands Go Digital program launched by Enterprise Singapore (ESG) in October 2020. At that time, only 6% of Heartlands merchants were online.
The program aims to support approximately 20,000 nationwide food and beverage retailers and businesses in their digital adoption, storefront enhancements and marketing skills development.
While its launch was timely as businesses were driven online during the Covid-19 pandemic, the digital trade program stemmed from broader government revitalization efforts at the heart of the country.
For example, companies can use advertising and promotion tools on discounted Carousell, Fave, Vaniday, Shopback and Foodpanda Shop for their marketing activities and to create online company profiles.
Merchants are also trained in the use of electronic payment solutions and the use of social media to promote their products and engage customers.
Some marketers like Ms Christina Ang, 70, faced a steep learning curve when she started selling on Shopee and Facebook.
“I had no digital knowledge, so I had to learn everything from scratch, from posting products, taking product images and writing product descriptions,” the owner of the site said. Blissful Connections lingerie store at Block 32 New Market Road in Chinatown.
“It was hard to get familiar with and manage all the different accounts. I also had to get into the habit of remembering to check all the different platforms.”
At Toa Payoh Central, Mr. Tony Yau, 68, said his biscuit shop, The Biscuit House, has adopted PayNow. He added that a small store like his doesn’t have the resources such as staff to handle e-commerce fulfillment.
Merchants surveyed by the Straits Times said the benefits of adopting e-commerce outweigh the challenges.
They cited benefits such as increased sales and greater convenience for themselves as well as consumers.
With time and practice, traders have also gradually become accustomed to using the platforms. Ms Ang, for her part, said using electronic payment services such as PayNow is “no longer a problem”.
The transition process has also been made easier for some merchants, thanks to the help they have received from the Heartland Enterprise Center Singapore (HECS), which falls under the Federation of Singapore Merchants Associations.