Grasping more export opportunities via digital platforms

VCN - E-commerce in Vietnam has gained impressive growth in recent years. Therefore, besides promoting the export of goods in the traditional way, the trend of in-depth investment in e-commerce is widely being applied by Vietnamese exporters.
E-commerce is a good export channel for Vietnamese businesses in the current period. Photo: ST
E-commerce is a good export channel for Vietnamese businesses in the current period. Photo: ST

According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, with a growth rate of 20%/year, Vietnam is ranked by eMarketer in the top 5 countries in terms of e-commerce growth.

Especially, in the post-Covid-19 recovery period, e-commerce is one of the pioneering fields of the digital economy, creating a driving force for economic development and leading digital transformation in businesses.

According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, last year the ministry coordinated with localities to organize many e-commerce connection programs such as an e-commerce connection conference; OCOP e-commerce conference; conference connecting supply and demand and e-commerce; a conference connecting e-commerce and consumer orientation.

These programs have enabled thousands of businesses to approach the method of distribution of goods on e-commerce and created a habit of shopping through e-commerce for consumers.

Dr. Nguyen Dinh Cung, former Director of the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM):

Vietnam's exports are expected to grow by 6% in 2023, opening new business expectations for businesses. However, the Vietnamese economy is also facing many challenges and difficulties, requiring businesses to take corresponding preparation steps, in which new business models, especially e-commerce need to be widely developed. This is also an effective solution to help reduce costs to overcome current difficulties.

Mr. Roger Luo, Director of Alibaba.com Asia - Pacific:

Through Vietnam's export data in recent years, it can be seen that Vietnamese goods are at the top of the world's purchasing demand and also attracts more and more foreign buyers are in demand. Vietnam is considered the first choice for purchasing. Products from small and medium enterprises in Vietnam are always appreciated for the quality of finished products, export skills as well as customer care services. Besides, 50% of exporters from Vietnam are at KA level (high-star exporter), which shows the trend of more and more in-depth investment of Vietnamese exporters in e-commerce.

In addition, cooperation programs on cross-border e-commerce with major international e-commerce platforms such as Amazon and Alibaba have been strongly implemented, supporting small and medium-sized enterprises to boost exports.

Through these programs, Vietnam's strong products (agricultural products, processed foods, handicrafts, consumer industrial goods) can be exported directly from manufacturers to many countries around the world according to B2B, B2B2C e-commerce channels.

Despite facing many challenges, in general, Vietnam's export prospects to major markets in 2023 are considered positive. As estimated by Alibaba.com in "Digital B2B Prospects 2023" market report, more than 50% of businesses choose to try their hand at e-commerce or digitization and expand sales channels to "survive" in the post-pandemic period.

Vietnamese enterprises have increased investment in digital technology, improved export capacity, cross-border sales skills, product research and development, and brand building to achieve their goals and accelerate in difficult times.

Mr. Duong Khanh Toan, Director of International Business Development and Import-Export, Me Trang Coffee Joint Stock Company (METRANG COFFEE), said that from 2022, the company has rebuilt its strategic plan for exploitation on the basis of the e-commerce platform, taking advantage of Alibaba's open market opportunity. Selling via Alibaba has helped Metrang Coffee compensate for canceled orders due to market difficulties along with saving a lot of time and costs. On average, businesses spend about 60,000 USD per year on participating in direct international fairs. However, in the face of market difficulties, the company has shifted its marketing plan to the e-commerce platform, helping businesses access markets that cannot be reached in international fairs.

Pham Danh Manh, Production Director, Thang Loi Co., Ltd (VICO) said that in the digitalization trend, the company has focused on selling on e-commerce platforms such as Alibaba, Compass, Global Spec.

With a typical product of cast steel, selling on e-commerce platforms also enables businesses to reach many different customer segments. To sell on e-commerce platforms, businesses are also supported with advice and training from ministries, sectors and e-commerce platforms. As a matter of fact, in order to build customer trust, businesses must ensure product quality, delivery time as well as technical standards of the host country.

Vu Ba Phu, Director of the Trade Promotion Department (Ministry of Industry and Trade), said that 2023 is a pivotal year in the successful implementation of the economic development plan for the period of 2021 - 2025, in which the goal of digitization trade promotion activities, promoting the application of information technology and digital transformation in promotion work is an important content in the policy of building a digital government, digital economy and digital society.

E-commerce is a good export channel for Vietnamese businesses in the current period, so far many businesses have paid more attention and invested in this field. Accordingly, from 1,000 businesses being trained in 2020, until now, there have been tens of thousands of Vietnamese enterprises receiving training support and having registered accounts on e-commerce platforms. Especially, there is a fairly high percentage that has successful transactions and has direct revenue from this direct export on Alibaba’s platform.

Mr. Vu The Tung, Market Development Director of Alibaba.com Vietnam said that 2023 is forecast to see many challenges for Vietnamese businesses. Therefore, the e-commerce platform Alibaba.com focuses on improving the quality of services connecting exporters-importers, providing information on market tastes to increase efficiency for businesses on the platform. From the business side, when participating in e-commerce, businesses need to clearly identify resources such as human and financial resources to make the right investment.

Exporting through e-commerce brings not only positive results and great potential but also bears lots of risks and challenges in building customer trust, market competition, payment risks, time zone differences, customer tastes, and quality standards differ in each continent.

From the perspective of a trade promotion agency, Mr. Ngo Ba Phu said that, along with the efforts of the authorities, businesses also need to be proactive and active in learning about policy regulation, market research, partner appraisal, focus on improving and controlling product quality, competitiveness, meeting import market regulations, coordinating with other trade promotion organizations to map out plans and participate in implementing trade promotion activities to timely catch up market opportunities, especially markets with FTAs.

By Châu Anh/ Thu Phương

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