Online trade promotion Many new points to increase export efficiency


Lychee export is successful thanks to online trade promotion both in domestic and foreign markets.
Lychee export is successful thanks to online trade promotion both in domestic and foreign markets.

Participating in a remote exhibition for the first time

Since 2020, the Trade Promotion Agency (Ministry of Industry and Trade) has actively implemented or coordinated a series of online trade promotion activities such as seminars and conferences to connect supply-demand online with localities nationwide as well as with international partners.

Hoang Minh Chien, Deputy Director of the Trade Promotion Department, said implementing online trading activities has partly supported businesses and localities in connecting and consuming products. Notably, in addition to the conference to connect supply and demand with localities, and the conference to connect with major international partners, 2021 is the first year to organize a pilot program for Vietnamese enterprises to participate in remote exhibitions at large prestigious fairs and exhibitions.

For example, China-ASEAN Fair, Guangzhou International Fruit Fair (China), Chengdu-Sichuan International Fair (China) and Shanghai International Import Fair (China).

“Remote fairs and exhibitions are a new form. Accordingly, enterprises do not need to be present, but only send their products to the organizers of fairs and exhibitions to display directly. The connection and exchange of information between Vietnamese enterprises and foreign partners will be done through digital platforms, such as the digital economic trade conference provided by the organizing committee,” the leader of Trade Promotion Department said.

In addition, Hoang Minh Chien said the online exhibition form will also be promoted in 2021. Businesses can set up booths in the online environment (virtual booths). Products of enterprises are displayed through video clips, photos and specific information of products and enterprises at virtual store shelves. Customers will visit and learn product information, without direct contact.

Nguyen Viet Hong, Head of Economic and Trade Promotion Department, Vietnam Association of Small and Medium Enterprises, said that online trade promotion activities have initially brought remarkable results.

Enterprises can access the market quickly and cheaply. Previously, enterprises participating in direct promotion activities had to pay the costs for air tickets, transportation of goods, travel, accommodation, etc. With the online form, enterprises only needed to do marketing, introducing products and business images.

Besides, in the past, when enterprises participated in specialized fairs, it was usually only applied to a group of products. However, online activities can have many customers participating, so it is possible to organize promotion of many different categories at the same time. This is a very useful activity for businesses.

“The Trade Promotion Agency has also implemented other projects such as opening accounts on B2B and B2C. The association also implements projects related to B2B e-commerce platforms. So far, the results have been quite remarkable. The participating enterprises of the association have access to major systems of the US, Australia, and the EU,” Hong said.

Concerns about risks

Appreciating the method of online trade promotion, To Hoai Nam, Standing Vice President and General Secretary of the Vietnam Small and Medium Enterprises Association, said that online commerce promotion costs only one tenth of the direct promotion but brings many times more benefits. The outstanding advantage of online trade promotion channels is to shorten the distance between partners, customers and businesses.

Nguyen Viet Hong said that the transformation of market access from direct to online model had some disadvantages. Marketing activities of Vietnamese enterprises are not really strong. Notably, these are transactions on online platforms, so many risks may occur. “For example, Vietnamese import-export enterprises have not been able to learn carefully about the partners they intend to transact with, all through the virtual space.”

“To overcome this, businesses need support from the Vietnamese Trade Offices abroad as well as the Vietnamese Embassy or the support of the Departments of Industry and Trade of the provinces and cities. When implementing online trade promotion, it is necessary to have a close connection to avoid risks for businesses,” Hong said.

Another limitation pointed out by Hong is that when promoting online, it is necessary to emphasize the image. Meanwhile, Vietnamese enterprises have not really invested in the image of their products. It is important for businesses to accompany the trade promotion management agencies as well as the People’s Committees of provinces and cities. Enterprises must have certain knowledge and preparation for more effective promotion activities.

Hoang Minh Chien said that the Ministry of Industry and Trade has now submitted to the Prime Minister a project to promote the application of information technology and digital transformation in trade promotion activities.

The project is being summarized by functional units of the Government Office and reported to the Prime Minister and it is expected that the Prime Minister will sign and issue a decision approving this project.

“This project is the foundation, which sets out specific goals as well as solutions, assigns responsibilities to each ministry, department, sector, and locality, demonstrating the cooperation of the business community, associations, industry in the process of implementing information technology application and digital transformation in trade promotion activities,” Chien said.

Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Do Thang Hai said that, in addition to support from state management agencies, businesses must also regularly improve the quality of goods and products; packaging specifications meet the needs of domestic and foreign distributors and importers. In addition, businesses need to regularly update information about potential export products, distributors, and importers as well as upgrade and maintain facilities, machinery and equipment to connect online trade with high efficiency.

Through online trade promotion, businesses can do global marketing, access information and deal with customers 24/7. However, this method also has many potential risks when applications for marketing or advertising and selling products can be used to sell low-quality goods and services that are not commensurate with the selling price.

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