New tool to help more than 2,000 SMEs set up online stores (Straits Times)

A new mobile commerce solution will help more than 2,000 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) set up their own virtual store and have access to a wide network of customers.

The initiative, which aims to help SMEs such as heartland merchants deal with challenges in the retail landscape amid the coronavirus pandemic, was announced by Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Chee Hong Tat during a webinar yesterday.

The initiative, jointly developed by Nanyang Polytechnic’s Singapore Institute of Retail Studies (NYP-SIRS), payment services group Nets and tech firm SCash, is supported by Alibaba Cloud, a subsidiary of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.

The mobile phone-based solution is expected to benefit traditional merchants who do not have the know-how to move their businesses online while their physical operations are affected by the Covid-19 outbreak.

Once the virtual store has been set up, customers can make orders through a URL or by scanning a QR code at the physical store.

After customers make their first purchase, retailers can engage with them through the likes of loyalty rewards or discount vouchers.

Nets is waiving service fees upon sign-up, while SCash is not charging merchants the monthly service fee until the end of the year.

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Straits Times

12 May 2020

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