A customer shops online (Photo: VNA)

Can Tho (VNA) - Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are encouraged to promote brand building and e-commerce development to enhance competitiveness at a workshop on e-commerce in southern Can Tho City on October 28.

The event is organised by the Vietnam E-Commerce Association (VECOM) in collaboration with the municipal Industry and Trade Department as part of efforts to make SMEs take advantage of the fast growing e-commerce opportunities in Vietnam.

"Innovation happens every day and the revolution is on. Consumers take shortcuts and the recipes used today will not work tomorrow. Therefore, it’s time for SMEs to take e-commerce seriously and make proper investment in building their brand online via the most effective tool – websites – to maintain and even enhance their competitiveness in the market," President of VECOM Nguyen Thanh Hung said.

"Building websites is the first move to enter e-commerce and the domain name you choose for your website can significantly impact the reputation and credibility of your brand," Hung added.

"Choosing the right domain name is the first step towards building a successful and credible online presence. Once a business has an official online presence by owning a standard domain name, it is ensured high visibility every time and everywhere," Nguyen Minh Thai, business director of Mat Bao Network, one of the leading domain name providers in Vietnam, said.

"Moreover, globally recognised domain names like .com also help businesses access larger markets, not only in the country, but also beyond the boundaries, reaching higher potential growth and increasing their profits", Thai said.

The workshop aims to provide local SMEs an overview of e-commerce and its immense growth potential in Vietnam and introduce effective tools to create an online business. It has attracted the participation of hundreds of local SMEs and leading consultants and experts in e-commerce, especially in the field of website building, online payment, brand development based on domain name and online advertising.

According to the Vietnam E-Commerce Report 2015, there were more than 10,000 e-commerce platforms and websites registered in 2015, doubling the number in 2014. This certainly will strengthen the growing trend of making online purchases in Vietnam. It is projected that Vietnam’s revenue from online shopping will increase by 40 percent by 2020.

The report also said online retailers posted over 4 billion USD in sales in 2015 and it is expected to increase to 10 billion USD by 2020, making up five percent of Vietnam’s total retail sales. Despite the rapid growth in online sales, several Vietnamese enterprises have not fully recognised the opportunity. In fact, only 20 percent of SMEs have websites to promote their sales, of which it is difficult to access 70 percent via mobile phones.

According to a master plan to develop e-commerce from 2016-20, around 50 percent of businesses will have an internet presence to update their business information and popularise their products. Meanwhile, 80 per cent of enterprises will order or receive orders through e-commerce applications on the Internet or on mobile platforms.

All supermarkets, shopping malls and distribution facilities will install point-of-sale (POS) systems which enable non-cash payment for purchases. In addition, non-cash payment will also be encouraged in roughly 50 percent of households in big cities and 70 percent of providers of power, water, communication and media services.

Regarding e-commerce market scale, about 30 percent of the population is expected to partake in online shopping by 2020, with the average value of purchased commodities reaching 350 USD per buyer.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade said after five years of ecommerce master plan development in 2011-15 period, the sector has affirmed its position contributing to socio-economic development in Vietnam.

Experts believe that e-commerce is new and complicated model that needs integrated management tools and co-operation among relevant agencies to create a fair business environment that ensure companies and customers’ rights.-VNA