3 Ways SMEs Can Make The Most Of
E-commerce Opportunities In Asia

By Anthony Leung | February 9, 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic is powering the growth of e-commerce in Asia and around the globe. In Asia, the region currently represents nearly two-thirds of total global e-commerce spend and has seen the largest growth across markets worldwide in 2020. Even before the pandemic, intra-Asia trade already accounted for 60% of the region’s total exports.
With everyone and everything moving online, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Hong Kong and the Asia Pacific region are well-positioned to seize this moment. SMEs can leverage their flexibility to expand into the e-commerce space, embracing the necessary digital infrastructure and catering to evolving customer needs in the new normal.
As an SME, there are 3 things you can do to embrace the e-commerce wave.

1. Identify the right market for your product

commerce-wave-fedex

While there are plenty of opportunities in the Asia Pacific region, SMEs must adopt a targeted market strategy to ensure more resilient business operations and expansion, at a time of global uncertainty.
For instance, in China, most consumers have switched to e-commerce as their preferred shopping channel. This goes hand-in-hand with China’s massive retail market, set to overtake the U.S. as the world’s largest with US$5.072 trillion in sales. India, on the other hand, offers early-mover advantage for SMEs. For Indian SMEs, the move to e-commerce is new, but fast-growing, with retailers moving away from traditional categories like electronics and apparel to more profitable niches, from beauty to personal care to furniture, which offer stronger growth potential.
As for Hong Kong, China’s massive retail market, set to overtake the U.S. as the world’s largest with US$5.072 trillion in sales. India, on the other hand, offers early-mover advantage for SMEs. e-commerce is expected to grow by 40% by 2023. As the pandemic continues, the trend of Hong Kong people turning to online platforms for shopping and other daily activities is showing no signs of stopping.

2. Create a seamless digital experience for your customers

for-your-customers fedex

Digital transformation, a buzzword from a few years back, has been further accelerated by the pandemic. Well-honed digital infrastructure, especially over the past year, has created space for SMEs to incorporate new customer-centric experiences and operational efficiencies.
Your customers’ experience at different touch points will influence their decisions to return after making their initial purchase. Things like design of the website, shopping cart checkout process, ease and speed of payment methods are very important for online shoppers. Expectations for convenience and efficiency are especially high – SMEs should customize their online presence to offer a seamless and intuitive navigation to allow easy search, compare and purchase features.
Given SMEs’ ability to scale and adapt quickly, they can make use of digitalised sales tools help reduce administrative costs and errors by minimizing manual processes.

3. Leverage innovative cross-border logistics solutions

cross-boarder logistics

The customer journey does not stop at purchase confirmation. SMEs looking to tap into Asia’s growing cross-border e-commerce market are expected to be able to offer fast and reliable delivery options. Logistics lies at the juxtaposition of the online and the physical experience and plays a crucial role in maintaining a desirable customer experience.
Partnering with the right logistics service provider will help businesses navigate the changing border regulations and customs procedures across different markets to avoid unexpected delays. Moreover, customers today are more and more eager to know the exact details of delivery, the full journey and arrival timing, requiring logistics providers to introduce innovative solutions that meet these expectations. The FedEx Delivery Manager allows e-tailers to offer their end-customers better control on how they want their shipments delivered by customizing their delivery preferences, including delivery time and location, at no additional cost.
fedex-express-ship-manager-optimized

Automated shipping tools like FedEx Ship Manager enable e-tailers to prepare multiple shipments online conveniently and efficiently. For instance, you can calculate the cost of your shipments and transit times quickly and save frequently used information such as addresses for future shipping needs. Our FedEx Electronic Trade Documents allows you to submit trade documents electronically to get a head start on customs clearance process to avoid potential delays.
Follow our LinkedIn page for more inspiration on the approach to grow your business globally.
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About the Author
authors photo

Anthony Leung

Managing Director,
Hong Kong and Macau, FedEx Express

Since joining FedEx in 1996, Anthony has worked in engineering and operations management roles, overseeing infrastructure development for Hong Kong and the Greater China region. He’s also managed operations in several major cities in North China, where he led the planning and execution of strategies surrounding the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Anthony is now based in Hong Kong.

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