Little India may be a heritage landmark in Singapore with quaint shophouses and traditional businesses, but in a true example of old meeting new, the business merchants in this district have adopted digital solutions to improve their competitiveness and revenues.
Well-known outlets such as Gokulam Jewels & Crafts, Jothi’s Traditional Charm and Sakthi Sangeetha have adopted digital solutions to improve their business processes, revenues as well as client experience. For instance, Jothi’s Traditional Charm, a beauty salon, invested in online marketing to attract more customers and adopted FavePay to make it easier for customers to make payments. This led to a 20-per cent increase in revenue.
And all this has been possible after the launch of a comprehensive digitisation project led by SMECentre@Little India, Singapore Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI), the Little India Shopkeepers and Heritage Association (LISHA) and supported by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and Enterprise Singapore (ESG). Currently, about 100 merchants have participated in this project which initially focused on two key areas – e-commerce and e-payment. Revenues
At an event to commemorate one year since the SME Centre@SICCI set up a satellite centre in Little India, Minister for Communications and Information, S Iswaran, said, “Digitisation is a very important part in the way our economy is transforming. It is not just for the big companies, but also for the SMEs. In Little India there is a wide range of shops and the purpose of this is for them to adopt digital technology. Today I visited three shops – a handicraft store, a beauty salon and a retail shop selling Hindu religious items – and they have all adopted if not one but two to three technologies.”
Said T Chandroo, Chairman, SICCI, “SME Centre@Little India has been working very closely with our partners IMDA, LISHA and ESG to survey the needs of Little India merchants.” “We encourage more SMEs to start their digital journey and empower themselves with tools that can help them track their inventory better, manage their cash flow and increase their revenue.”
“Digitalisation in the era of technology-driven market is most crucial for the merchants of our Little India precinct to exploit. Our unique Little India precinct with phenomenal footfall will gain favourable propensity in business and tourism in this new dimension of technology,” ” added Rajakumar Chandra, Chairman of LISHA.
After the media event and walkabout, Minister S Iswaran responded to a question posed by a 12-year-old student reporter of India Se Media, Sriya Srinivasan, who asked him if robots could ever replace humans. The Minister responded with an emphatic “No”. “As they lacked the empathy that human beings possess.”