Going digital pays off for small businesses

Communications and Information Minister S. Iswaran looking at a terrarium with The Green Capsule owner Ricky Lim at his store in Funan mall yesterday. Having adopted e-commerce and inventory management solutions, Mr Lim now wants to use data analytic
Communications and Information Minister S. Iswaran looking at a terrarium with The Green Capsule owner Ricky Lim at his store in Funan mall yesterday. Having adopted e-commerce and inventory management solutions, Mr Lim now wants to use data analytics to better understand his customers' needs. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

As the third-generation owner of electronics retailer T K Foto, Mr James Ng is no stranger to bringing new ideas to the business.

But when the Covid-19 pandemic first reached Singapore early this year, he realised the pace of change had to be far quicker than he anticipated.

"We always knew that we would have to digitalise no matter what, but the Covid-19 situation pushed forward a lot of our plans," said Mr Ng, 43.

"If we had not digitalised... the company would have been obsolete now."

The company, which has outlets in Funan mall and Plaza Singapura, revamped its website during the circuit breaker period, and also increased the number of products put up for sale monthly on e-commerce platforms such as Lazada and Shopee from about 300 to 1,200.

This enabled T K Foto to expand its online customer base by three times from April to July.

Online sales now make up about 15 per cent of its total revenue, compared with less than 5 per cent before the circuit breaker.

The company received a $2,500 Digital Resilience Bonus (DRB) payout in August for its efforts.

Going digital has also paid off for Mr Ricky Lim, who owns design and gardening store The Green Capsule in Funan mall and is opening a second outlet at Great World City next month.

Having adopted e-commerce and inventory management solutions, Mr Lim, 37, now wants to utilise data analytics, which he believes will help him understand his customers' needs better.

"Adopting all these digital solutions has really helped us grow our business," he said.

"And with the DRB and support from the Productivity Solutions Grant, we have managed to do this at a very low cost," he added.

Join ST's Telegram channel here and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 07, 2020, with the headline Going digital pays off for small businesses. Subscribe