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SME Featured APAC

B2B marketplace Proxtera expands global network by joining SAP’s Ariba Network

Singapore – In its bid to make its client Asian SMEs reach a global network, business-to-business (B2B) marketplace Proxtera has announced that it will be joining Ariba Network, a global digital business network owned by technology company SAP.

Through the network endeavor, Proxtera will now be part of one collaborative, intelligent, global business network with access to new demand channels to grow its business in an increasingly digital and networked economy.

This recent endeavor by Proxtera aligns with the company’s goals to connect over 350,000 SMEs to new trading partners across a growing list of countries in Asia including Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, and India. With each trade, Proxtera envisions to offer a host of integrated digital tools and services that helps marketplaces, platforms and SMEs more quickly, access, evaluate and act on business opportunities.

“Proxtera’s mission is to enable SMEs around the world to thrive in the new normal of the digital economy and access new trade opportunities previously thought out of reach. Proxtera aims to help SMEs as they recover from the impact of the pandemic and to bring us one step closer to an open, more collaborative future where businesses of all sizes, including SMEs, have great trade opportunities afforded to them as a traditional corporate ecosystem,” said Lim Kang Song, chairman at Proxtera.

Meanwhile, Paul Marriott, president at SAP Asia Pacific Japan, commented, “It’s clear that no business does business alone. This is part of our broader vision to reimagine how businesses, including SMEs, can collaborate with a network of global trading partners across supply chains, economies, and industries, and empower companies to move faster and smarter than ever before.”

As part of its network endeavor, Proxtera is currently developing Proxtera Plus for its network of 350,000 businesses and SMEs. Proxtera Plus aims to provide a smooth search, product match, and transaction experience for large buying organizations with a deep and diverse range of buyers and sellers from wholesale e-commerce platforms across Asia via Proxtera’s trade network of marketplaces, for example, Eezee, GlobalLinker, SGeBiz, and Sourcesage 99SME B2B. 

In addition, it also aims to help with compliance of purchases against internal corporate policies and enable quick digital approvals. Proxtera Plus is intended to make closing purchases accessible, supported with secure payment rails and integrated fulfillment options.

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

SG businesses’ CX endeavors fall short of customer expectations, new study shows

Singapore – Despite last year’s nature of culminating businesses to turn their pivots digitally, Singaporean businesses have instead created a gap between them and their customer base in terms of customer experience (CX) strategies, new study from software company SAP shows.

In its APAC-centric study, SAP notes that Singaporean businesses fall short of expectations by as much as 28% when it comes to being customer-centric, behind the APAC average of 21%. Furthermore, only half (55%) of consumers in Singapore stated that brands here are able to resolve their issues after three interactions.

SAP focused in its study the existence of key gaps as identified from the study included customer centricity, personalized experiences, openness in privacy and data control, as well as sustainability and ethical behaviour.

About three in five consumers in Singapore are now expecting brands to be purpose-driven, going beyond profits and transactional relationships, to demonstrate trustworthiness, empathy, shared values, and care for society.

Singapore consumers surveyed indicated a gap between their expectations and actual experiences on this front, in areas such as brands respecting the rights and welfare of their workers (80% vs 67% in APAC), treating suppliers ethically (76% vs 56% in APAC), actively work to reduce gender and racial inequality (73% vs 55% in APAC), and not engage in anti-competitive behaviour (70% vs 54% in APAC).

“While it’s positive that brands in Singapore have adapted quickly to the pandemic by tapping on digital tools and turning to e-commerce, customers still expect brands to deliver on the basics – this means providing them with positive experiences and swift resolution of issues,” said Peggy Renders, general manager and senior vice president at SAP Customer Experience in Asia Pacific & Japan.

The study also noted that local businesses were found to be lacking include responsiveness within 24 hours to customer queries (78% vs 51% in APAC), acting on customers’ feedback to improve products and services (84% vs 58% in APAC), resolving issues in less than three interactions (83% vs 55% in APAC), having a reward programme customised to their interests (81% vs 54% in APAC), and offering innovative or better ways to serve customers during COVID-19 (86% vs 65% in APAC).

In addition, delivery endeavors were among the most dissatisfied areas for those surveyed, with 82% of Singapore consumers expecting brands to provide timely and accurate delivery options they could trust, but with just over half (59%) saying this was met in reality. The dissatisfaction over quality and reliability of delivery services especially significant for local supermarkets, where just 55% of Singaporeans mentioned they received trustworthy delivery services (vs 80% expectation).

Proactiveness in engaging customers was another area cited as an area of improvement, with just around half of Singapore customers shared that brands are actively updating them on relevant specials and new products (56%), is proactive in anticipating their needs and wants (55%), and provides tailored suggestions based on their purchase history and preferences (50%).

Being intuitive mobile natives, Singapore customers also want brands to provide omnichannel experiences that enable their lifestyles, expecting brands to provide them with a network of physical and online stores (76%), have easy to transact options across multiple channels such as online to in-store (81%), yet still provide a consistent experience irrespective of channel (82%).

“It is sobering to know that despite all the efforts businesses have put into digitalisation over the past year, fundamentals around customer centricity are still not being met in Singapore. There is clearly an urgent need for brands to humanise the gap between digital actions and the heartstrings of consumers,” Renders added.

Having transparency and control over their data and orders is also a key area brands are falling short on, with Singapore consumers highlighting shortfalls in having full transparency over how their personal data is being used (35% gap), security of their private data and not sharing it with third parties (33% gap), only obtaining private data from customers to serve them better (25% gap), and making it easy to track their orders and queries (23% gap).

Despite the negative light, Singapore brands fair slightly better than the APAC average on the expectation-experience gap, in the areas of whether brands look for new ways to recycle and reuse products, packaging materials and materials (12% vs 18% APAC gap), having specific policies to reduce and report carbon emissions (10% vs 14% APAC gap), and having a strong focus on sustainability and ethics in sourcing and selling their products (4% vs 10% APAC gap).

“The pandemic has laid bare the criticality of the customer experience in our hyperconnected world today. The key to sustainable growth in a post-COVID world lies in the right solutions and leadership that transform the customer experience. As a future-forward nation that is home to the region’s leading businesses, brands in Singapore have a golden opportunity to transform to give customers exactly what they want, and when they want it, in a future that is entirely digital,” Renders concluded.