With the accelerated growth of the digital economy and changing consumer habits over the past year, there is no better time than now to pivot your business towards the shift to digital.
2020 has fundamentally changed our lives. The COVID-19 global pandemic completely changed how we manage public health, approach daily life, how we work and how we consume. Through all of it, the pandemic supercharged shifting consumer behaviour towards the adoption of the digital economy and made it an essential part of everyday living almost overnight.
It would probably be fair to say that the pandemic has permanently changed the way we think about digital technology and the economy. It has altered human habits and accelerated many trends like businesses going online, social distancing and the thriving of organisations that are more digital in nature.1 These changes may prove to be the way forward and will drive the sustained rise of digital consumption.1
What drives the digital economy?
Here are 4 key elements driving the digital economy.
Younger populations are accounting for the increase in aggregate use of digital technology. Based on our research, by 2030, 40.2% of global consumers will be those who have grown up as digital natives.1
The number of people in a particular country who prefer going the digital route will determine the overall speed of adoption. Our findings show that Northern Europe and East Asia are leading the way.1
- Consumer patterns
COVID-19 has made everyone re-think our consumption habits. We've all become more comfortable consuming digital products and virtual services, right down to our basic needs. For instance, food delivery has become a common way of life to meet our social distancing needs, and the F&B industry worldwide has quickly adapted by migrating their order platforms online. By 2030, 50% of all goods consumed in developed markets will be purchased online.1
Countries and regions that invest more in platforms to support the digital economy will enjoy first mover's advantage and be able to adapt and pivot to the shift online more quickly.1
Pivoting your business for the digital economy
If consumers are spending more and more of their money and time online, it only makes sense that you should take your business online as well. However, joining the digital economy is more than just selling online. Here are 3 tips to help you pivot your business online.
- Get your social media platform ready
According to Statista, the number of Facebook users in Malaysia reached almost 25 million in 2020,3 accounting for roughly 77% of the population.
Social media platforms are important because your existing and potential customers will already be using them. For small businesses, it's especially important to be as cost-efficient as possible by reaching your customers online, rather than counting on marketing dollars to draw them in.2
It's also important to create high-quality, relevant, and timely content on your social media channels. Use them to add value to your customers' lives, like helping them with professional advice and tips to tide them through challenging periods like COVID-19. 2
- Initiate your online pivot
Once you've gotten your social conversations started, move on to getting your business online with a clear strategy and goal. Try to offer digital solutions with the same or increased value propositions compared to an in-person visit to your physical business.2 This will help your customers see the value in choosing the digital option of your product or service, and it will then set the tone in differentiating your business for the future.
The next step is to decide how you're going to communicate your online offerings to your customers and how it complements your physical business. Consider using a consistent channel, encouraging your customers to follow your business on social media, and keep talking to them. Last but not least, don't forget to collect their email addresses or other contact information, and to build relevant marketing strategies.2
- Leverage on technology
Whether it’s developing a new website or adding online shopping to your existing web pages, there are simple-to-implement and cost-efficient online tools to help you set your business up for the digital economy.
Many different global cloud-based solutions can provide small businesses with low cost, top-notch platforms to build websites and online e-commerce stores. They also have robust tools to integrate analytics, SEO, social media, payment processing, fulfilment and even email marketing.2 You can also take advantage of online logistics providers to handle your online store delivery or pick-ups.2
Using live videos is another way to connect with your customers.2 You can run live demos, answer questions or teach classes online.
Digital banking for the digital economy
We understand that small businesses need all the help they can get to stay competitive in the digital economy. And we'll help you with our newly upgraded digital business banking platform: HSBCnet.
With a concise interface and intuitive dashboard, you can customise your workspace easily, and manage your business banking faster and more securely on one platform, whenever and wherever you need it.
To find out more about HSBCnet and how we can help you get digital-ready with it, speak to your Relationship Manager or check out more details below.
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The content above is intended for informational purposes only and should not be treated as business advice.
HSBC does not endorse any recommendations from 3rd parties mentioned in this article.
1 HSBC Global Research, The booming digital economy, September 2020. 2 Forbes, Pivot your small business online: Tips, resources and inspiration, 15 April 2020. https://www.forbes.com/sites/advisor/2020/04/15/pivot-your-small-business-online-tips-resources-and-inspiration/#527e01e77a47 3 Statista, Number of Facebook users in Malaysia from 2017 to 2025, July 2020. https://www.statista.com/statistics/490484/number-of-malaysia-facebook-users/