More services in new 99%SME portal

Consumers can now search for nearby stores selling the products they want and choose from more delivery options on the revamped e-commerce platform 99%SME.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) listed on the portal can also target their online marketing efforts at consumers in the vicinity and drive footfall to their brick-and-mortar retail stores.

The revamped 99%SME portal, launched yesterday, is part of an eponymous campaign - co-founded by Singtel and DBS in 2015 - that helps SMEs adopt digital technology to grow their businesses.

It also supports efforts by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) to boost the digital capabilities of the retail sector.

"The new 99%SME platform presents SMEs with all the features of a digital marketplace to optimise their market exposure and help shoppers find and buy their products either online or in-store," said Mr Andrew Lim, Singtel's business group managing director.

It also gives SMEs a chance to "develop an online revenue stream, and... encourage more buyers to visit their physical stores", he added.

Besides the location-based product search, consumers will have more last-mile delivery options, including delivery to their homes or pickup points in the community, and self pickup from the stores.

SMEs can access business insights to better understand their sales performance and plan their product mix to optimise sales, said a joint media release by Singtel, DBS and IMDA.

Ms Sim Ann (first row, fourth from left), Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information, and Culture, Community and Youth, giving the thumbs up to the launch of the revamped e-commerce portal 99%SME, at Thye Hin Hoe Medical Store in Bedok yesterday. PHOTO: SINGTEL

They can "freely use the platform's library of common copyright-free product images and details to list their products and services more easily," said the statement.

In addition, they have access to DBS' business-to-business online marketplace where they can sell their products and services to large companies.

They can tap supply chain connections as well as financing and payment solutions that are usually only open to large enterprises.

SMEs do not have to pay to list their products or services on 99%SME.

More than 8,000 retailers have joined the site to date.

Ms Jane Lim, assistant chief executive of IMDA's sector transformation group, said neighbourhood retailers with physical stores should capitalise on the strong growth of e-commerce here.

"Dedicated platforms... can help them digitalise and compete more effectively in an increasingly connected and globalised market," she said.

Mr Bobby Ng, general manager of Thye Hin Hoe Medical Store in Bedok Central, said that 99%SME linked him up with Nanyang Polytechnic, which set up his store's website for free.

Launched in June last year, the site has driven up his store's sales by about 10 per cent.

Mr Ng said: "Without 99%SME, I would not have been able to (achieve that)."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 12, 2019, with the headline 'More services in new 99%SME portal'. Print Edition | Subscribe