By Sana Faisal
It’s safe to say that most of us are familiar with online shopping. The COVID-19 pandemic only served to boost online shopping, with many being stuck at home. Many entrepreneurs have started to focus on online business in Singapore since the country isn’t just supportive of small businesses but technology in general. Physical-only stores have started transforming their business processes, and people have looked to banks to secure business banking loans.
If you’re also looking to start your own online business in Singapore, read on to learn about a couple of tips on how you can get ahead.
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Assess customer problems you need to solve. A timeless piece of advice here is to start a business is to stay agile and always seek out new options and ways to solve problems before they even happen. The idea is to solve customers’ daily problems. As you start researching, don’t forget avenues like social media and real-life interactions.
Finding a solution for a demographic is the first step and retaining them is the next. It’s crucial always to have open communication with your customers to update them on any changes. When COVID-19 hit, many businesses struggled to source a reliable delivery service as the pandemic situation resulted in disruptions with deliveries.
Some businesses made adjustments early on delivery policies to keep customers informed of any delays and used social media for delivery updates. Compare delivery partners to find the right one with balanced features for the cost.
Match your selling platform to your product. Online stores like Lazada and Shopee found success in the marketplace as they stand out thanks to the product range, review capability, and shipping options. Look for a platform where you can stand out from the rest and focus on that
You can do this by first considering the nature of your offering and evaluating the top-selling items on different mediums. Electronics and fashion, for example, rely on visual elements, making them great for selling on platforms like Instagram. Websites, however, offer more quality assurance to customers and an official avenue to provide queries.
Instead of selling online marketplaces, you can decide to sell your products directly on your site and promote word of mouth and social media instead of traditional marketing.
Invest in an app to allow faster customer decisions. It would help if you were ready to adapt to shifting environments, including having an online app for your business. Your company can adjust to the shifting environment brought by the pandemic to invest in an app. Of course, this will require a bit of investment, but that would be small compared to the return on investment. You can use your business banking account to acquire financing for this upgrade.
Utilize regular posting schedule and good content. As you know, not having an online presence is tragic for any business. If you already own a website, then making quality, value-ridden content will only serve to catapult your offerings to greater heights. One secret for success is creating an online presence and investing in digital marketing. Utilize high-quality images, a regular posting schedule, and good content.
Having a strong online presence is a strategic move to create a multi-channel presence, where customers could not only go to your physical stores but also online. You do this by investing in digital marketing and building content to engage customers. Even during the ongoing pandemic, you can maintain good communication with customers and gain new customers thanks to online marketing push.
Government financing schemes SMEs can utilize for business expansion:
SME Working Capital Loan. The SME Working Capital Loan is a government-assisted financing loan under the Enterprise Financing Scheme (EFS-WCL). The enhanced scheme in the Solidarity Budget 2020 helps SMEs access financing till March 2021.
Loan Insurance Scheme (LIS). Enterprises can secure short-term trade financing loans via the Loan Insurance Scheme (LIS) from Participating Financial Institutions (PFI).
Enterprise Financing Scheme (EFS). With effect from 29 Oct 2019, Enterprise Singapore’s existing financing schemes will be streamlined into one umbrella scheme known as the Enterprise Financing Scheme (EFS). EFS will enable Singapore enterprises to access financing more readily throughout their various stages of growth.
As a business owner, you must educate yourself on SME financing nuances and the most appropriate sme grants Singapore offers before full commitment. If you’re serious about starting an online business Singapore local will love, then don’t skimp on technology and finance all the right upgrades through the best business banking partner you can find.
When looking to start a business, ensure that it’s targeted and specialized. Instead of focusing on the entire market with a unique idea, you should focus on underrepresented customers or industries. Your business idea should ideally be something you like doing, what you are good at, and something in demand or what people are willing to pay for. Therefore, it’s vital to research your industry, find competitors, understand risk and map out your finances before starting your business.
(Disclaimer: The article is sponsored and hence, promotes some commercial links.)