Singapore companies adopt e-commerce plans as Covid upends businesses

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On a laptop, a woman browses the Reebonz website. Reebonz, established in Singapore, is the largest luxury e-commerce company in Southeast Asia.

Getty Images/Bloomberg

Companies in Singapore are progressively relocating their operations to other countries. businesses online  to deal with the interruption that Covid-19 has caused in their physical operations

When the pandemic arrived, even small and medium-sized businesses, which were previously less inclined to operate online, had to rethink their tactics.

“Prior to Covid, there may have been some hesitation in implementing some of these e-commerce methods. They’ll say no, because it takes too much time. It necessitates a significant amount of resources, as well as significant investments “OCBC bank’s top economist, Selena Ling, said CNBC’s Christine Tan.

“But I think what has changed in terms of thinking in the last 12 to 15 months is that it’s a ‘do-or-die’ approach,” she continued.

Many firms, including tiny businesses, were forced to adapt to this digital paradigm.

Selena Ling is a model and actress.

OCBC bank’s chief economist

At the height of the pandemic last year, Singapore’s government enforced a “circuit breaker” — a partial shutdown requiring most people to stay and work at home — to slow the spread of the virus. As a result, many shops and manufacturers were unable to open physical locations, according to Ling.

“Many firms, including tiny businesses, were forced to adapt to this digital paradigm. And I believe that much of the governmental support has been geared on assisting smaller businesses in adopting a digital strategy “she stated

The pandemic has forced many domestic companies and smaller online players to adjust to the changes, according to James Chang, CEO of Lazada Singapore.

“In fact, the pandemic was a major driver of e-commerce adoption. In three ways: first, many brands have gone online, and many SMEs have started their businesses online; second, many brands have gone online, and many SMEs have started their businesses online; and third, many SMEs have started their businesses online “He was talking about small and medium-sized businesses. “The buyer adoption has accelerated significantly.”

A vibrant ecosystem

Lazada, Southeast Asia’s largest online retailer, is now assisting SMEs in the city-state in expanding their e-commerce presence.

“The cost of entry for an entrepreneur starting a retail firm has been quite high. If we can lower the entry barrier, we believe we can cultivate and invigorate a much more vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem, which can serve as a basic pillar for bringing more SMEs into the market “Chang stated.

One of the most important things Singapore has done, in my opinion, is to create a funding climate that is particularly appealing to new businesses.

Root, James

Bain Futures’ senior partner and chairman

Since the outbreak of Covid-19, the Singapore government has lent a hand in advancing digital agendas for domestic firms.

“I believe Singapore has been quite supportive of both large and small businesses, particularly through macroeconomic upheavals like Covid. The local government has been really helpful in providing wage subsidies, as well as assisting with retraining and rescaling “Henry Chan, co-founder and CEO of ShopBack, a local e-commerce startup, agreed.

Furthermore, according to one expert, Singapore’s e-commerce funding climate has greatly improved in the previous ten years, which has aided start-ups in raising capital and expanding their businesses.

“One of the key things Singapore has done is establish a funding climate that’s highly appealing to young companies starting out,” said James Root, senior partner and head of Bain Futures, a global think tank at consultancy company Bain & Company. “That wasn’t always the case ten years ago. You’d have a hard time finding more than a few venture capital firms.”

Many people are now able to offer funding in the early stages of these businesses, he said.

“And that growth financing is critical for organisations that have passed the initial bumps of seed rounds and are trying to expand into new categories and markets,” Root added.

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