As part of the Anti-Epidemic Fund, the HKSAR Government’s Innovation and Technology Commission (ITC) recently announced the Distance Business Program (D-Biz) to support enterprises to transform and evolve themselves through technological innovation and adoption of solutions and training. The D-Biz Programme will provide 100% funding support to qualified enterprises, subject to a cap of HK$100,000 per IT solution and HK$300,000 per enterprise, details of which can be found here.
Who would benefit most from taking advantage of this opportunity?
We reckon those companies who have a strong reputation offline in physical retail, or who are nascent with their eCommerce are in the best position to make use of this support to transform their businesses with the highest return on investment.
If you identify yourself as such a company, below are our top recommendations on how to make best use of the D-Biz support.
For many years at ICICLE, we have been learning from implementing best practices in marketing and online operations from leading brands around the world. We have been fortunate to work with global institutional brands, and are accustomed to executing well thought-out, tech-based innovation strategies and seeing how they elevate sales, better address current target audiences, identify new ones, and enhance their brand reputation.
Below we have identified two areas in which Hong Kong brands should prioritise on their digital innovation strategy – under the context of the types of support D-Biz provides.
1. Upgrade the tech stack to optimise your eCommerce operations
In many ways, approaching an eCommerce business is similar to any brick-and-mortar business in that companies need to have a vision of where they want to be and, more importantly, the resources that are required to achieve that goal. These resources span far beyond just setting up a social media page, because virtually any individual has the ability to do that and sell to anyone in the world – hence neither providing any differentiation nor enhancing the business’ competitiveness in itself. The content would be the key differentiator, but that’s not what we should focus on here as we are talking about the D-Biz programme.
In order to break through the eCommerce market saturation and noise, it is important for companies to look into an efficient and optimised tech stack. A tech stack is the combination of programming software, languages, frameworks, servers, UI/UX solutions that a company needs, in order to develop a mobile app or a web-based platform.
Choosing and integrating the right combination is critical; for some businesses, going to market as quickly as possible is the priority while others could see product scalability as the prime focus.
What you invest in will ultimately determine how your online customer experience will be. New tools and software come to the market all the time, and we dare say the landscape is completely refreshed every 12-18 months in the eCommerce space. A complete review and upgrade should therefore be in place regularly. Companies who have not set up proper eCommerce channels should make the best use of this opportunity to build something world-class and scalable; those who have had the basic framework done should review and upgrade. Sometimes, a new plugin or a loyalty programme integration can mean doubling the business in a few months.
2. Implement SEO, analytics, tech-assisted influencer marketing and messaging-based marketing
Marketing as a business function has come a long way. Just ten years ago, marketing was about unilaterally defining your target audience, developing a strategy, identifying promotional and distribution channels, and then actively “pushing” and selling your products to those customers.
This “push” approach is a thing of the past. The commoditisation of products and goods online has meant that marketers have to switch their mindsets to earn the attention of consumers. This “pull” approach requires marketers to create a lot of authentic content that either entertain or educate (the best ones do both); and in addition, make use of technologies that help distribute this content to their audience and subsequently monitor and optimise the performance. This is where Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), analytics and tech-assisted influencer marketing come in. Using the right tools is a critical factor for staying ahead of the curve.
As marketing continues to rapidly evolve, the latest untapped goldmine for marketers is building an audience on messaging-based platforms like WhatsApp and WeChat. Messaging-based marketing is perhaps one of the most direct, personal, and genuine forms of marketing currently, and consumers that allow brands access to their messaging platforms are likelier to be loyal and valuable.
Get in touch with us to see how we can help you with your eCommerce operations, your tech stack, SEO, analytics, tech-assisted influencer marketing and messaging-based marketing and more.
Adrian Fu is Icicle Group's Communications and External Affairs Director. He is a multi-disciplined professional with over 20 years of experience in corporate and technology industry brand marketing. He is also an award-winning songwriter and recording artist, with Mandarin and Cantonese albums to his name. Adrian is an avid reader and a student of meditation.