Online trade promotion helps businesses adapt to COVID-19 hinh anh 1Workers at a garment and textile firm (Photo: VNA)

HCM City (VNA) - The spread of COVID-19 around the world created difficulties for businesses in promoting their products and seeking new customers but many were prompted to change trade promotion strategies and adapt.

Bui Thi Thanh An, Vice Director of the Trade Promotion Agency at the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said nearly 50 national-level trade promotion programmes were cancelled or postponed last year due to the pandemic.

This had a major effect on export activities and the economy in general, she said.

To address the situation, the agency has sped up the introduction of information technology (IT) and changed how trade promotion activities are held.

Since March when COVID-19 spread globally, the agency has changed all trade promotion activities to online. More than 500 international online trade conferences have now been organised, along with more than 1 million online trade exchanges.

These events helped connect more than 2,000 businesses with foreign partners in different markets, An said.

Online trade promotion helps businesses adapt to COVID-19 hinh anh 2Wood processing for exports (Photo: VNA)

The agency has also coordinated with foreign customers based in Vietnam, such as AEON and Central Group, to organise special “weeks” featuring Vietnamese products, through which many goods have been selected for sale in foreign-owned supermarket chains around Vietnam and then headed to foreign markets.

It has also made use of social networks and Vietnamese trade offices abroad to support businesses seeking markets, An added. Such efforts contributed to maintaining export growth and speeding up economic recovery, while helping enterprises remain updated on market developments, trends, and demand, she added.

Though online trade promotions have become more common since the pandemic broke out and were initially considered just a temporary solution, experts and enterprises agree that they will now become a key part of the trade promotion ecosystem.

Vietnam’s economy is heavily reliant upon exports, so the country must adapt to sudden disruptions to international trade. Taking advantage of IT platforms to seek trade opportunities is considered the most feasible option at this time.

Zacharie Blondeau, Sourcing Director at Source of Asia, said business-to-business (B2B) is the most effective method of connection, but in certain contexts, such as pandemics and travel restrictions, businesses should actively connect online.

Online trade promotion helps businesses adapt to COVID-19 hinh anh 3Visitors at a trade promotion fair (Photo: VNA)

An underlined that even after COVID-19 is fully brought under control, online trade promotions will continue to be organised.

The Trade Promotion Agency is developing digital technology-based platforms to create a new promotion ecosystem comprising of online trade fairs and exhibitions and online databases and origin tracing, creating the conditions necessary for enterprises to access trade promotion programmes at the lowest cost and with the greatest efficiency.

She advised businesses to regularly participate in online and direct trade exchanges, conferences, and workshops, while actively digitalising their operations by improving websites and joining large and reputable e-commerce platforms./.