B2B ecommerce in Singapore – The Gateway to Asia

Around the world the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digitization. Business to business (B2B) ecommerce in Singapore is an important part of the picture.

Singapore – a great place for business

In the heart of South Asia, Singapore is in a strategic location for world trade and is accessible for major shipping routes.

Since Singapore is ranked second by the World Bank for ease of doing business, it’s also home to the headquarters or regional centers for many of the world’s leading logistics companies.

With a young population that embraces technology and ultrafast broadband, there’s great potential for digital transformation and ecommerce. Overall, Singapore’s ecommerce revenue is predicted to reach over US$8billion by 2025.

B2B ecommerce in Asia

Across the Asia Pacific region, ecommerce is transforming small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) for both buyers and sellers. Forrester forecasts that B2B ecommerce in the region will grow at 12.1% per annum, with B2B online marketplaces at the core of changing buyer behavior.

While China represents a vast market, member countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which includes Singapore, are more accessible. The ASEAN countries have a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of US$2.55 trillion. Some estimates predict that it is likely to move from the sixth to the fourth largest economy in the world by 2050, overtaking the European Union.

Innovation is key to ecommerce success

With personal online shopping experiences becoming a much larger part of all our lives in recent months, it’s not surprising that B2B buyers’ expectations are increasingly driven by business to consumer online shopping trends including personalization, easy payment options and order tracking.

Changing market dynamics during the pandemic have driven B2B businesses to move sales operations online and to rapidly redefine their supply chains and fulfilllment operations.

There is now a greater need than ever before to automate and integrate asset management and financing solutions with their ecommerce platform. Creating streamlined processes that minimize friction from enquiry to delivery has become a priority.

Modernizing technologies and tools will help these businesses to connect with their buyers in new and productive ways. Embracing virtual and augmented reality, for example, can create new online experiences for both customers and employees.

The first step is to provide access to a new range of digital tools and content; the next is to collect data which can be converted into useful insights to support a steep learning curve as we move forward from the coronavirus pandemic.

International opportunities

As the region looks forward to a post-coronavirus world, changing buyer behavior, digital channels, and new payment technologies are expected to converge, helping to make Singapore a global hub for all types of digitized commerce.

Before the pandemic B2B buyers were already looking to diversify their supplier base to support business continuity and minimize the impact of disruptions in their supply chains. B2B ecommerce will allow buyers to access a larger pool of suppliers, increasing choice and spreading risk.

At the same time SMEs are embracing the opportunity to improve their international visibility and to develop long-term strategies for expansion without the need for a physical presence in new markets.

The benefits of ecommerce

While not all of Singapore’s SMEs are interested in rapid expansion, innovation can still help them to improve service to their existing customers and provide a better overall experience.

Providing easy access to product catalogues and enhancing ordering and fulfilllment processes will improve productivity and help businesses increase revenue from their existing clients.

B2B ecommerce initiatives

In June the B2B marketplace, Alibaba, launched an initiative to support Singapore’s SMEs; the first of its type outside China in the Asia Pacific region.

Businesses that sign up with Alibaba’s local partner Innovative Hub are eligible to receive a 70% subsidy for their ecommerce solution package. This is part of the Grow Digital programme, an initiative run by Enterprise Singapore and the Infocomm Media Development Authority.

Alibaba provides access to professional third-party partners to help participants optimize their online stores. They can also use Alibaba’s Smart Marketing solution, a keyword advertising tool that uses artificial intelligence and insights from across the platform. This can help them understand demand, price their keyword bids, and refine their business strategies.

Bridging the B2B ecommerce skills gap

Moving into ecommerce creates opportunities to reach new customers who are now more interested in buying online than ever before.

However, a significant challenge for smaller businesses is access to digital skills and the investment needed to create their ecommerce solutions.

Skills such as digital resource management, content development, and data analysis are needed. Singapore’s national training agency, SkillsFuture, offers a skills framework that includes ecommerce trends, workforce profiles, skills and competencies, and training programmes.

Enterprise Singapore offers a range of grants and subsidies for small businesses including some that are specifically designed to help SMEs implement change, build skills, and access major overseas markets.

A solution designed for B2B ecommerce

Cloudfy is a software as a service (SaaS) solution that has been designed from the beginning to meet the needs of B2B ecommerce. For businesses that want to create a leading-edge ecommerce presence, Cloudfy can be ready to launch in a matter of weeks. Because it is cloud-based, it will always be secure and is kept at the leading edge of ecommerce with regular updates.

Find out more about the power of a purpose designed B2B ecommerce solution in the cloud. Book a free Cloudfy demonstration.

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