When shopping seasons such as Double 11 and Black Friday come to a close, consumer preferences often change rapidly. This matches the saying that unexpected changes can take place in any consumption stage or period.
For the majority of Malaysia’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that are involved in export or are looking to export their products, being able to predict the market trends and understand customer preferences has become the key to business sustainability in the B2B market.
In the past, and even today, for many Malaysian SMEs, spotting business opportunities and making important decisions are often based on intuition.
However, with rapid changes in customer preferences, this approach has gradually become inaccurate and may cause businesses to lose great opportunities to enter the market.
In today’s digital age, “data” has become an essential tool for SMEs to understand and predict market pulse and seek growth amidst changes.
With over a decade of cross-border eCommerce experience, Stephen Kuo – General Manager of Alibaba.com Taiwan summarized 3 key capabilities (instead of only focusing on production) that can help SME business owners break through and accelerate their growth in international trade.
Table of Contents
Make full use of “Data Insights” capabilities
Based on the data from the Global Sourcing Festival of Alibaba.com International the continuous growth of internet traffic shows that online purchase has become the new norm for international buyers.
In emerging markets such as Chile, Cambodia, and Laos, business and transactions volumes are growing at a rapid rate of 100% to 160%.
As such, SMEs business owners should seize the opportunity to strengthen their ability to gain insights from data and become the ultimate winner by venturing into eCommerce.
Take the well-known stainless steel factory located in the industrial zone of New Taipei City as an example. As we know in 2020, due to the impact of the pandemic, the export performance of the company had declined.
However, to their surprise, the company discovered from their eCommerce data that the website traffic of an old product of 20 years had increased significantly. The data also indicated that most orders came from Europe.
From this insight, the company made a bold decision to kickstart transformation and lay a foundation for sustainability in the post-epidemic era.
Improve “Quick Response” capabilities
With rapid changes in consumer behaviour, SME business owners should quickly learn new marketing tools and techniques in order to understand buyer needs in real-time.
Moreover, the pandemic has greatly disrupted the supply chain. If B2B sellers are able to make full use of the eCommerce B2B platform and new tools such as live shopping and short videos to showcase their products, they can seize new opportunities amid the disruption of the supply chain.
Enhance the ability to “Determine production based on demand”
In the past, many companies believed that they should have products before they decide on the selling channels and look for buyers. This strategy can cause businesses to lose money when they cannot clear their available stock timely (yes, all products have an expiry date).
Understanding market demand is often the solution to the aforementioned issue. B2B businesses should know how to utilize marketing data insights to transform the production and sales process into “ People, Product, Channel“.
It means businesses should follow the demand of buyers to decide how much to produce before selling them on digital channels.
This is especially true during sales and promotion seasons such as Double 11, Black Friday and Christmas. If B2B businesses can gain insights from the data, they can seize the business opportunity accurately.
All in all, the skill of gaining insights from Data is now a must for all SMEs to grow in today’s digital age. The cost of finding business opportunities using the power of data is much lower (not to mention it is more effective) than participating in physical exhibitions and waiting for buyers to come.
Thus it is a wise move to make good use of digital tools to understand the market trends and plan ahead based on global demand. Failing to gain insights from data in this digital era can mean losing out in the competitive business environment.