To better determine the digitalisation avenues that SMEs in Thailand are looking to enter, The FinLab collaborated with UOB (Thai) on a two pronged study to gauge how the SMEs are viewing digitalisation and the sort of business benefits they aim to achieve out of it. The first part of the study was an online survey of SMEs in various industries measuring the type of business growth challenges faced and the type of digital tools that they prefer. The survey found that the biggest business challenges faced by the SMEs were sales & marketing, and cashflow, financing & payments.
These were closely followed with systems & technology (such as inventory and customer relationship management). When asked about which elements they felt would help boost their top-line revenues, the SMEs highlighted penetrating new markets (including overseas markets) and digital marketing of products and services as most important – followed by being more strategic in future business plans. When asked about the specific marketing strategies they were keen on implementing, the SMEs overwhelmingly leaned towards digital marketing areas. They were most interested in search engine optimisation (SEO) & search engine marketing (SEM), and social media marketing. These were followed by branding and the use of e-commerce channels. Overall, it is evident that the SMEs know which areas of digitalisation they can leverage to improve their respective businesses. However, the main barriers to adopting new digital solutions have been the cost of implementing the right technologies and the complexity of doing so.