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88% of Chilean SMEs have digitized their sales channels

The impact of the pandemic on Chilean SMEs is indisputable, which has inevitably led to changes in the business models of entrepreneurs, some with positive results and others not so much.

According to the latest study carried out by the Ministry of the Economy, there is a generalized drop in sales in all productive sectors, with microenterprises being the hardest hit with a drop of 37% in 6 compared to 2020, which also shows how companies have dropped out of rank: 2019% of large companies became medium-sized and 18,5% of these became small and 28,1% of the latter became micro-companies.

In the small business segment, the Chilean Entrepreneurs Association (Asech) at the beginning of this year conducted a survey of entrepreneurs and SMEs in order to know the economic effects of the pandemic on SMEs evidencing that 85,1% maintain that the pandemic negatively affected their businesses, and 50,2% consider that they have suffered a serious impact on their sales. To this is added the effects related to the decrease in the hiring of human capital, leading this negative figure micro and small companies with a 26% drop in employment opportunity. 

In this discouraging scenario, there are those who have seen a business opportunity in the midst of the health crisis, reinventing value proposals, and in many cases changing the business model, among which targeting international markets turns out to be viable and a sure escape to the crisis. 

In this sense, the digital transformation of companies becomes fundamental, and the sales channel has gone from face-to-face to digital. This is how the figures affirm it: 88% of Chilean SMEs affirm that the pandemic has forced them to digitize their sales channels, which means a gigantic step towards approaching the export model. In that sense, the boom in marketplaces is a good scenario for producers, however most are focused on the national market. A highly effective option is  www.isibis.cl, whose objective is to generate visibility beyond borders, generate business with a network of buyers and importers, and implement exports under a collaborative model with other SMEs that are undergoing the same process of digital integration and opening of new markets.

Thus, export appears as a certain possibility of reactivation of the entrepreneurship and SME segment. To achieve this successfully, Jaime Hidalgo, an expert in foreign trade, advises applying a management model in three phases: Preparation, Intervention and Planning, with a focus on detecting business opportunities abroad and professional assessment of risks and vulnerabilities.

Within the preparation stage, Hidalgo highlights that it is essential to carry out a competitiveness analysis that must show whether or not the product is exportable, that is, to see what are the elements that make my product have an added value for the specific public (raw material , costs, prices, etc.). Here the market of interest must be prospected considering volume, value and demand trends, market segmentation, positioning of the product or category in the target market, distribution channels, identifying potential competition and substitutes, prices to the final consumer in the market , profile of the consumer, tastes and preferences, potential customers, suitability of the product to the market to which you want to export and importers' requirements. After having defined the above, we can proceed to the Intervention stage, having total clarity of the administrative processes that an export requires, since knowing the international market to which it will be exported must comply with certain regulations, certifications, both of the product and of labeling and packaging. And then as the last step before the act of commercialization itself, the entire process must be planned, going through the pricing, design, logistics and physical distribution of the product, marketing and promotion.  

When the aforementioned phases are well executed, the path is paved for the desired international commercialization of the product or products and although they were briefly named in this article, it is important that the entrepreneur keep in mind that it is not a short effort and dedication. term, therefore the earlier you decide to want to export, you will be able to execute the complete process in a better way and always taking into consideration that the idea is not to overwhelm yourself with tasks that can be outsourced, since you never have to lose focus that the producer must dedicate himself to What he does best is "produce" and that the quality of the product is the foundation for the construction of a large export structure, concludes Hidalgo, who through the consulting firm Neotrade Chile SpA It has supported the process of dozens of national SMEs that have sought business opportunities outside our borders.  

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