SMEs empowered to go global

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News/worldwide - Kiyapili Sibanda

LO­GIS­TICS con­cern, DHL Ex­press Zim­babwe, has chal­lenged lo­cal small-to-medium en­ter­prises (SMEs) to gain con­fi­dence in cross bor­der elec­tronic-com­merce for them to cre­ate op­por­tu­ni­ties in in­ter­na­tional mar­kets.

Speak­ing at a train­ing work­shop that DHL or­gan­ised for SMEs in Bu­l­awayo yes­ter­day, the com­pany’s chief fi­nance of­fi­cer, Mrs Su­san Kat­sukunya, said the event aimed at im­part­ing knowl­edge for SMEs to un­der­stand the eco­nomics of in­ter­na­tional trade.

She said the train­ing was also meant to give SMEs con­fi­dence in their cross bor­der ac­tiv­i­ties.

DHL is the global mar­ket leader in the lo­gis­tics in­dus­try and com­mits its ex­per­tise in in­ter­na­tional par­cel, ex­press, air and ocean freight, road and rail­way.

Mrs Kat­sukunya said e-com­merce cre­ates an in­no­va­tive way for SMEs to con­nect glob­ally.

“Cross-bor­der e-com­merce has de­vel­oped into a large, quickly grow­ing ecosys­tem and has be­come a great suc­cess story for many e-re­tail­ers, mean­ing re­tail­ers and man­u­fac­tur­ers are sell­ing their prod­ucts over the in­ter­net di­rectly to end con­sumers.

“The in­no­va­tive pro­gramme was specif­i­cally de­signed for SMEs to un­der­stand the econ­omy and po­ten­tial of in­ter­na­tional trade. We want them to be con­nected glob­ally through e-com­merce in­no­va­tive plat­forms with min­i­mum reg­u­la­tory risks. It also helps them to gain the nec­es­sary con­fi­dence to de­velop their cross bor­der op­por­tu­ni­ties to grow around the world,” she said.

A guide to the cross-bor­der e-com­merce op­por­tu­ni­ties by DHL, shows that cross-bor­der e-re­tail­ers are man­ag­ing to boost their sales by an av­er­age 10 to 15 per­cent by sell­ing in­ter­na­tion­ally.

E-re­tail­ers mar­ket share in for­eign mar­kets was ex­pected to in­crease fur­ther and thus those not yet linked on the e-com­merce were miss­ing out on a num­ber of op­por­tu­ni­ties.

The lo­gis­tics com­pany’s man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Mr Jeff Phiri said busi­nesses that re­sist the dig­i­tal revo­lu­tion risk be­com­ing ex­tinct be­cause cus­tomers have shifted from the way they con­duct busi­ness.

He urged busi­nesses to em­brace dig­i­tal plat­forms to in­crease their vis­i­bil­ity and mar­ket share in line with global trends.

Mean­while, ZimTrade en­cour­aged ex­porters to pur­sue on­line and so­cial me­dia mar­ket­ing as a key com­po­nent of their re­tail strat­egy.

Ac­cord­ing to the United Na­tions Con­fer­ence on Trade and De­vel­op­ment, SMEs run the risk of miss­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties in both pro­duc­tiv­ity and prof­itabil­ity by not en­gag­ing in e-com­merce.

A sur­vey by the Cen­tre for Re­tail Re­search re­vealed that e-com­merce was the fastest grow­ing re­tail mar­ket in Europe and North Amer­ica. On­line sales in the United King­dom, Ger­many, France, The Nether­lands, Swe­den, Italy, Poland as well as Spain grew by 18.6 per­cent in 2015 and sim­i­lar growth fig­ures are ex­pected for 2017. — @Kiyaz_Cool.

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