Iswaran urges businesses - big or small - to go digital

(From left) Singapore Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SICCI) vice-chairmen Prasoon Mukherjee and Mahesh Sivaswamy; SICCI director Muralikrishnan Rangan; Minister for Communications & Information S. Iswaran; SICCI chairman T. Chandroo; SICCI ch
(From left) Singapore Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SICCI) vice-chairmen Prasoon Mukherjee and Mahesh Sivaswamy; SICCI director Muralikrishnan Rangan; Minister for Communications & Information S. Iswaran; SICCI chairman T. Chandroo; SICCI chief executive Kumaran Barathan; and Little India Shopkeepers and Heritage Association chairman Rajakumar Chandra at a Business Transformation Through Digitalisation event yesterday.ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID

Going digital is an endeavour that all businesses must undertake, no matter how big or small they are, Communications and Information Minister S. Iswaran said yesterday.

The question for businesses today is no longer one of whether they should go digital, but "when and how", he added.

"It's not just about the tech industries, it's not just about manufacturing. It's also about our heritage districts... and also our heartland areas because all these sectors have to (go digital).

"Digitalisation has a way of democratising the economy, making every business... go well beyond its physical scale to reach distant markets and tap diverse resources," he said.

Mr Iswaran was speaking at the signing of a memorandum of intent that aims to digitise shops in Little India. Signatories include the Singapore Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA), Enterprise Singapore and the Little India Shopkeepers and Heritage Association.

An IMDA survey of 114 merchants in Little India last year found that 60 per cent had installed digital payment options for customers. About 45 per cent said they were open to adopting technology.

DEMOCRATISING THE ECONOMY

It's not just about the tech industries, it's not just about manufacturing. It's also about our heritage districts... and also our heartland areas because all these sectors have to (go digital). Digitalisation has a way of democratising the economy, making every business... go well beyond its physical scale to reach distant markets and tap diverse resources.

MR S. ISWARAN, COMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION MINISTER, on the need to go digital notwithstanding company size.

As part of the digitisation push, mobile rewards platform Fave will start a loyalty rewards programme for shoppers in Little India from next month, among other promotions.

Shoppers will earn a digital stamp when they spend a minimum of $10 at a merchant in Little India. Rewards can be claimed at shops in the neighbourhood.

Merchants who use the Scash app can turn their phones into point-of-sales terminals allowing customers to make digital payments.

They can also start online shops on the app by taking photos of the items they want to sell and sharing them through social networking platforms instead of setting up a website.

A spokesman for Gayatri Indian restaurant on Race Course Road said the rate of returning customers has increased since it started offering cashless payment options through FavePay.

"With the cashback benefit (which rewards customers with a cash discount the next time they visit), merchants like us can expect returning customers without having to spend much on advertising," the spokesman said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 02, 2019, with the headline 'Iswaran urges businesses - big or small - to go digital'. Print Edition | Subscribe