COVID-19 pandemic (formerly known as “Wuhan pneumonia”) spread globally and changes the habit of mankind. The incident moves e-Commerce forward for 5 to 10 years that some people never tried online shopping have started to buy daily stuff on the Internet. We can see the tremendous booming of Amazon and HKTVmall. An early investigation also found out that many SMEs plan to upgrade and transform with technology. Maybe you are a retail boss or an entrepreneur just lost the job, all of us are so interested in opening our own online shops. Let us remind you that you can apply for Technology Voucher Programme (TVP) to get 75% of project cost as subsidy. For example, a TVP project costing $160,000 will only need $40,000 after 75% subsidy. On the other hand, retailers can also apply for the ReTAAS to have 50% grant up to $50,000. Certainly, depends on the situation, you may apply for the D-biz launched in May 2020. According to our experience, however, the D-biz only grants about $30,000 to $40,000 for online shop. BizMagnet is about to share some notice about TVP online shop application including proposal, procurement and operation.
TVP proposal: relevancy
Many applicants get challenges in the relevancy between the IT project and the business, especially for those non-retail companies. In general, it is hard for a company without retail business to apply for the TVP to establish an online shop. It is because the Innovation Technology Commission (ITC) will consider the project no relevancy to the business. Therefore our consultant will advise applicants to prepare some substantive proof first. For example, the business registration. MPF record and online operation on social media platform for not less than 3 months. By doing all this, the company can gain some experience. By the same principle, transforming business such as a wholesaler should also try to do some retail to persuade the ITC that the business is substantive.
Online shop is only part of e-Commerce, we should also consider the technology at the backoffice. For instance, if there are certain orders and a need of inventory management, management should consider an integration with a POS system and an ERP system. It is not only about technology but also the holistic business operation. The applicant should seek technology consultation to conclude an appropriate and reasonable IT plan. The IT consultation fee is also supported by TVP.
Follow the procurement procedure strictly
Another common mistake of TVP applicant of online shop is the failure to follow the standard procurement procedure. BizMagnet TVP consultant mentioned a SME fell into a TVP fraud. They mixed up the TVP and the D-biz that both provide 100% subsidy and gave some deposit to the agency under the table. The agency demanded much more after the application. If this SME followed strictly to the standard procurement to select suppliers, they would not lose a lot in the scam. Never allow a TVP supplier to be an agency at the same time. It causes a conflict of interest and risks your business. An online shop is one of the lowest budget project among the TVP, and many misconducted agencies will take advantages of SMEs unfamiliar with technology. Remember to check the integrity of the supplier and request for a TVP quotation properly.
Operation after the online shop launch
Similar to the case of physical store, online shop beginners often focus too much on decoration and ignore the daily operation, for example, promotion, sales, customer service and loyalty. Shop keepers find out that the online shop does not support some important marketing tool, or they need to pay extra for these functions. BizMagnet consultant advises newbie to start it from the basic. Gain experience and customers first, and tweak the online shop with actual market feedback. Therefore it is important to know how to maintain and update the website afterwards when we choose a supplier. Otherwise, we may lose the budget control of the online shop. Moreover, the TVP does not support promotion fee such as keyword advertisement, SEO, social media advertisement etc. If the TVP supplier claim that the grant covers promotional fee, you have to ask very clearly.
BizMagnet witnesses numerous rises of e-Commerce. A successful boss must get to the point of online shop operation. If you like to open an online shop with TVP, welcome to contact BizMagnet TVP consultant.
Further reading: TVP successful cases