Malaysians SMEs Lack Digital Marketing and e-Commerce Resources

Data collected from Malaysians Small Medium Enterprise (SME) owners who participated in a recent DATA Asia Virtual Tech Conference & Expo organised by Virtualtech Frontier Sdn Bhd (VTF) revealed that 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.

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Based on the insights shared by 1,256 SME owners who attended the event, the top three areas of interest for SMEs in Malaysia are online marketing (25%), e-commerce (18%) and iOT (12%).

Diving deeper into the respective business sectors these SME owners represented, it is revealed that the services sector has the biggest need for digital marketing resources (26%). This is followed by retail (23%) and manufacturing (23%).

“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 digital enablement specialist and founder of VTF Jason Low.

Low also added that at the virtual conference and expo, the participants showed very 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.

Along the same lines, participants also felt that the success of other businesses may not be easily replicated as strategies applied to boost revenue is unique to a brand or a company based on many other variables such as audience demography, business challenges, product mix among others.

Based on this findings, VTF intends to bring to business owners the most appropriate e-commerce resources to enterprises in order to ride out all the posibble challenges that business owners might face as the business navigate through the various phases of the national recovery plan as announced by prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on Tuesday, said Low.

Low, who described the findings as unsettling, said that the conference was attended by representatives from the key business sectors of Malaysia Gross Domestic Products (GDP) contributors — services (52%), retail (11%), manufacturing (6%), information technology (4%) and education (1%).

“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 control 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.

“As such, VTF will continue to be the nucleus in providing virtualisation platforms that will spark growth of SME digitalisation in Malaysia. With more knowledge on the pain points faced by SMEs through DATA Asia, we are able to work together with our digitalisation partners and put together practical solutions to spur digitalisation among SMEs and help them remain resilient despite all the movement constraints,” Low said.

Source : Cynthia Lee(Press Release)