Visa supports SMEs with digital transformation and eCommerce initiatives as companies warn of pain points

• Visa Study shows SMEs currently face three key challenges: namely revenue generation, managing cash flow, and employee wellbeing and productivity
• Visa Digital Transformation Toolkit and eCommerce Starter Package to help SMEs in some of the measures taken to survive and thrive under the current economic climate: cost cutting, finding new sales channels online, and pivoting to new business segments


Visa, the global leader in payments, today launched two initiatives – Visa Digital Transformation Toolkit and Visa eCommerce Starter Package – to address key challenges faced by Hong


Kong’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) during this unprecedented time.


To understand the challenges faced by SMEs, Visa commissioned a study on SMEs in Hong Kong.1 The survey found that the main pain points perceived are revenue generation (38 percent), cash flow optimization (25 percent), and employee wellbeing and productivity (24 percent).


When asked what measures SMEs should take to get through the pandemic, not surprisingly 44 percent saw cost cutting as their top priority, while 37 percent have already cut cost and resources. Forty-one percent of respondents believe that finding new revenues online is business-critical and 23 percent are looking to increase their sales online, while only 21 percent have invested in digital transformation tools to help with productivity and sales. Interestingly, 37 percent said they should pivot to new business segments or areas altogether. The majority of SMEs (88 percent) believe the government’s Employment Support Scheme will be effective in lightening the cash-flow burden.


Maaike Steinebach, Visa General Manager for Hong Kong and Macau, said: “SMEs in Hong Kong are facing unprecedented challenges. Visa is launching the Digital Transformation Toolkit and eCommerce Starter Package to help businesses tackle pain points, such as finding new revenue streams and savings. We want to ensure that businesses can make those changes as easy, fast, and secure as possible. This is part of our long-term commitment to the future of commerce in Hong Kong.”


The Digital Transformation Toolkit


The toolkit gives all Visa Commercial Card cardholders access to the most relevant tools and privileges tackling the key pain points experienced by SMEs:


• Free up cash flow


With cash flow being the key concern, Visa Commercial Card cardholders can enjoy up to 55 days interest free credit payment, which can help businesses optimize working capital.[2] SMEs can also tap into services provided by partners such as CardUp, Nium and Reap to make digital payments to their suppliers via their Visa Commercial Cards.


• Find customers digitally


As people spend more online, reaching the right customers has become an immediate priority. Examples of the many resources in the toolkit include:


100 percent cashback on up to first US$100 or approx. HKD$770 Ad Spend on Google;
50 percent off on LinkedIn Business Premium package;
25 percent discount on annual subscription for Pipedrive, a web-based sales customer relationship management solutions to help plan and monitor sales and deals pipeline;
US$1,250 or approx. HK$9,600 free service promo and three-month free subscription to all Shopify Plus products and application; and
90 percent off for six months on MoEngage (Enterprise Pack), a marketing automation platform that helps businesses improve customer engagement.


• Digitize business operation


Digitizing business operation is not just the purview of big companies. SMEs can benefit from automating or outsourcing labor-intensive tasks through existing platforms, such as:


Customer engagement (20 to 50 percent off on LiveAgent, LiveChat and ZenDesk);
Productivity tools (for instance, up to 21 percent off on monthly subscription of G-Suite and 10 percent off on Business Premium package on Microsoft Office 365);
Accounting platforms such as Xero and Sage – with offers from 25 percent discount to three months of free subscription; and
Data management (US$1,000 or appro. HK$7,700 free cloud credits at Digital Ocean).


• Enhance employee engagement with learning and wellbeing tools


Retaining and developing talents are essential for growth. SMEs can upskill their employees on platforms such as LinkedIn Learning and HBR Ascend (20 percent off on annual subscription); receive coaching on platform such as BetterUp (15 percent discount on 6 or 12 months of unlimited coaching); and participate in hundreds of fitness and wellbeing activities with Switch & Co with six months of free Switch+ subscription.


Ms. Steinebach added: “Many SMEs have gone into the pandemic with limited digital footprint. Now facing a world where social distancing is the norm and global movement of goods are limited, there is a need to pivot and bridge the digital-physical divide.”


The eCommerce Starter Package in collaboration with Boutir


With 41 percent of SMEs believing that finding new sales channels online will be instrumental to their future success, Visa introduces the eCommerce Starter Package in conjunction with Boutir, Hong Kong’s leading homegrown eCommerce platform.


Eric Ng, founder and CEO of Boutir said: “We have seen the number of merchants on our platform double in just three months. At the same time we see sellers becoming more sophisticated in marketing and operating their online stores. By partnering with Visa, we hope to bring trust, scale and better security to our community of merchants.”


The eCommerce Starter Package targets small to micro sellers looking to sell online for the first time with a 50 percent discount when subscribing to Boutir’s Starter Plan and Business Plan using Visa Credit Cards issued in Hong Kong and Macau.2


Starter Plan and Business Plan subscribers, who participated in this promotion, will receive an advertising credit of HK$250 and HK$500 respectively to place ads on Facebook through Boutir.


To help attract more customers, sellers can tap into promotion fund up to HK$300 in value where their buyers can receive a HK$15 discount upon purchase of HK$150 or above when paying with Visa.


“It is not all gloom and doom. Almost half a year into this crisis, 63 percent of SMEs think they are well prepared in the event of similar pandemic in the future. This is an opportunity to redefine the future as consumption patterns have irrevocably changed. We just want to help more businesses transform and grow,” added Ms. Steinebach.



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