Vietnamese exporters urged to take advantage of e-commerce platform

Many small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) have little experience in e-commerce and lack information about the field, experts said at the recent “Digital Transformation - Gateway to the Global Market” forum in HCM City.

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Delegates visit a booth displaying products from an enterprise participating in the forum “Digital Transformation - Gateway to the Global Market” in HCM City
Nguyen Thi Phuong Trang, business development director at Innovative Hub, the event’s organiser, said there is high demand for online sales of Vietnamese products and urged SMEs to place products on such platforms.

One of the challenges facing SMEs in using e-commerce platforms for exports is the lack of quality human resources.

Training staff in online store design, trading options, logistics, payment methods, and global online markets are all necessary, according to Trang.

In addition, SMEs face challenges in accessing online trading activities because many of the firms are still tiny scale.

Steven Zheng, CEO of Hangzhou SOR Business Consulting Co. Ltd, said that SMEs need to change their way of thinking and made quality products for e-commerce, adding that overseas consumers are interested in Vietnamese products both online and offline.

“Buyers not only want to search for offline products at shops, showrooms or fairs, but also need to search for products online,” he said.

A number of Vietnamese products have very good quality and extremely competitive prices, but consumers around the world are not aware of them because they are not available online.

Zoe Zuo, managing director of Innovative Hub, said that quality Vietnamese products could reach global buyers through online platforms in more than 190 countries.

“Digital transformations can lower the cost and increase the efficiency of businesses, resulting in faster growth,” he said. 

Experts have said online import and export activities of Vietnamese SMEs are expected to increase. The Vietnam e-business index report found that 32 percent of SMEs have established businesses with foreign partners through online channels.

Joining B2B e-commerce platforms will help export enterprises directly approach customers, thereby expanding opportunities in the global market and reducing costs of traditional trade promotions such as fairs and exhibitions.

Companies will also be able to more easily open offices in other markets. 

A representative from the E-commerce Development Centre (under the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Vietnam E-commerce and Information Technology Agency), said that Vietnamese enterprises have been using online trading floors to find foreign partners and customers.

For traditional trading platforms, many businesses encounter cumbersome procedures and huge expenditures looking for foreign partners or implementing trade promotion programmes.

On the other hand, online import and export channels can reduce costs and time for businesses, especially SMEs looking for business partners, carrying out trade promotions, marketing products, and implementing transactions and payments, according to the representative.

Vietnam is one of the fastest growing economies in Southeast Asia, and with a stable governance and ease of doing business, Vietnamese SMEs are likely to succeed in joining the global e-commerce trade. 

According to the ministry’s Vietnam E-commerce and Digital Economy Agency, e-commerce has had strong growth with the highest rate of 30 percent in 2018, and revenue rising to 7.8 billion USD from 4 billion USD in 2015.

If the growth rate of 2019 and 2020 continues at 30 percent each year, revenue by 2020 would reach 13 billion USD.
VNS/VNA