Help for SME retailers to start selling online

Deputy chief executive of Enterprise Singapore Ted Tan said: "It is more crucial now for retailers to diversify revenue streams by using e-commerce channels." ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

SINGAPORE - Retailers that are new to e-commerce can have 90 per cent of their costs of being on online shopping platforms covered.

The E-Commerce Booster Package was launched to help small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) retailers which are new to, or have little experience in, e-commerce to diversify their revenue streams beyond the traditional brick-and-mortar model, Enterprise Singapore (ESG) said on Thursday (April 2).

This is especially relevant amid the current Covid-19 situation, ESG said.

In the domestic market, ESG collaborated with Amazon, Lazada Singapore, Qoo10 and Shopee for retailers to get one-time 90 per cent support on qualifying costs for the fees charged.

The support is capped at $9,000 and the e-commerce platforms will offset their fees directly. The qualifying costs refer to the services provided by the platforms, including content development services, product listing and advertising.

The platform-providers will work with the retailers to curate and list products for up to six months, participate in promotion campaigns, fulfil orders and analyse sales data.

Each retailer can apply with one e-commerce platform partner that it does not have an existing account with.

Retailers can reach overseas customers through the ESG's on-going Multichannel E-Commerce Platform Programme, which has increased its one-time 70 per cent support of qualifying costs to 90 per cent till Sept 30.

Through this programme, retailers can work with curated solution-providers CombineSell, SELLinALL, Synagie and Vinculum, which will help them list and sell their products on multiple overseas e-marketplaces.

Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing wrote on his Facebook page on Thursday: "We have never stopped looking for opportunities to support our businesses through these tough times and I am happy to see that Enterprise Singapore has rolled out an E-Commerce Booster Package to help companies sell online and reach a wider audience in Singapore and overseas.

"As more people turn to online shopping as a result of the Covid-19 situation, companies that have a strong online presence will have an added competitive advantage. We will help all companies that want to build or enhance their online presence to do so."

The ESG booster package will also help the SME retailers with their manpower costs.

It will support 90 per cent of the salary costs of three of their employees for three months. New hires and existing employees who are Singaporeans and permanent residents can qualify for their salary costs to be covered. ESG did not share the cap for this support.

Retailers can sign up for the E-Commerce Booster Package directly with the e-commerce platforms and solution-providers from now until Sept 30.

Companies can visit the ESG E-Commerce Booster Package webpage for more information.

Deputy chief executive of Enterprise Singapore Ted Tan said: "It is more crucial now for retailers to diversify revenue streams by using e-commerce channels.

"We want to empower all retailers to develop long-term and sustainable e-commerce strategies that will ensure business resilience beyond Covid-19."

Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Chee Hong Tat told the media during a visit to Gardens by the Bay on Thursday that the package offers additional support to retailers, who have been hurt by travel restrictions and safe distancing measures.

"We want to help them implement some of these new solutions during this period for survival, because they can't continue business as usual," he said.

Businesses must rethink how they serve their customers, and those that are better able to adapt to the changing circumstances stand a higher chance of making it through the current situation and emerging stronger, he added.

Asked whether more aid is forthcoming for entertainment venues that have been ordered to suspend operations until at least the end of the month, Mr Chee said that while the Government is prepared to do more if needed, businesses are encouraged to tap the support schemes unveiled last week as part of the $48-billion Resilience Budget.

He urged firms that are unclear about how to benefit from the schemes to approach government agencies and trade associations.

The Straits Times reported on Tuesday (March 31) that entertainment businesses forced to shut as part of measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus are struggling to retain staff and stay afloat in the absence of revenue.

Some said they felt left out of the supplementary Budget, as they do not qualify for the higher wage subsidies offered to the tourism and food services sectors.

Mr Chee said strict measures to limit activity are painful but necessary to keep Singaporeans safe.
"If the situation gets out of control, it's going to be difficult to resume some of these activities any time soon," he said.

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