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A girl is sitting on a chair and typing on her laptop; image used on HSBC Malaysia Riding the digital economy boom article page.

Riding the digital economy boom

The COVID-19 pandemic has supercharged our reliance on the digital economy. Almost overnight, it has become a cornerstone of our everyday lives.

With social distancing in place, even "non-digital" companies are turning to the internet to keep their businesses going. Digital consumption is steadily picking up and will only continue to grow in the future.1 There's no better time to pivot your business online.

Adapting your business for the digital economy

With consumers spending more and more of their time and money online, it only makes sense to take your business where the action is. But joining the digital economy is so much more than just selling your products online. Here are 3 tips to help you chart your move to online business.

1. Get social

Using social media to add value to your customers' lives will help give you an upper hand in the digital economy. Getting on social media is important because your customers – both current and potential - are already using it. For example, the number of Facebook users in Malaysia is forecast to hit almost 25 million3 in 2020. This means roughly 77% of Malaysians will be browsing, sharing and liking on the platform.

Grabbing (and keeping) someone's attention is easy to do if you're a big business with a huge marketing budget. But with social media, you can communicate directly with people, offering your small business a cost-effective way to get your message out.

You can do this by creating quality, relevant and timely content for your customers and sharing professional advice that can truly help and make a difference through this challenging period.

If you want to use videos to do this, Facebook Live and IG Stories are obvious avenues to easily reach your customers. You can run live demos, answer questions or teach classes online. Zoom, which truly became a household name in 2020, is another great platform for in-person service providers to offer online classes, webinars and group sessions with an almost personal touch.

Don't forget too, that social media offers you a unique chance at true interaction with your customers.

2. Initiate your online pivot

Once you've started your social conversations, try to develop a clear strategy and goal for your online business. Decide how you're going to communicate your online offerings to your customers and how they complement your physical business. Whatever you offer your customers online, it needs to give them the same or an increased value compared to an in-person visit to your brick-and-mortar location.

Be sure to keep consistent channels of communication open with your customers. Encourage them to follow your business on social media and start collecting email addresses to build up an email marketing strategy.

3. Leverage technology for your business

The thought of entering the online marketplace can seem daunting. But you don't have to be a computer whiz to make the most of this digital boom. Whether you're developing a new website or adding an online shopping section to your existing web presence, there are plenty of easy to use, cost-effective online tools to choose from.

Companies like Shopify, Square and Wix are global cloud-based solutions that provide small businesses with low cost, high quality platforms to build websites and online webstores. They also come with great tools to integrate analytics, SEO, social media, payment processing, fulfilment and even email marketing elements.

It's also a great idea to use online logistics providers to handle your online deliveries or pick-ups. Platforms like Bungkusit, EasyParcel, GrabFood and FoodPanda are partners that will allow you to add delivery capabilities to your business2, so you can make things as convenient and accessible as possible for your customers.

How HSBC can help you explore the digital economy

We've redesigned HSBC Fusion's digital business banking platform, HSBCnet, to be more focused on small business's needs in a digital-centric market. It's simple and easy to use, accessible, and efficient. Here's how:

Simple and intuitive digital banking

We've given HSBCnet a user-friendly interface that is clear and concise. You can also customise the dashboard to suit your needs for quicker navigation.

One place for all your banking needs

Want to perform all your business banking on a single platform? All you need to do is log on to HSBCnet to get the full picture of your finances. You'll be able to see account balances, transaction summaries, old statements and charges, interest summaries and more, for all of your accounts. Our platform gives you extensive global reach and multilingual features so your business can take on the world.

Cybersecurity features

HSBCnet helps protect you from cyber fraud and keeps your business banking safe and secure by using powerful security features. These include multi-level authentication and transaction signing, encrypted banking sessions and system administrator tools to manage access rights.

Mobile authentication

Our Mobile Secure Key uses mobile authentication with Touch ID to provide a simpler and more flexible alternative to a physical security device. Find out more about how our Mobile Secure Key can make your life easier.

Banking on-demand, anywhere, anytime

An online business operates 24/7, so you need a bank that never sleeps. HSBCnet is open for your business wherever, whenever. There's no need to rush or deal with traffic jams just to get to a branch. Whether you're at home, in the office or on the road, just turn on your computer or unlock your mobile phone to access convenient banking services at your fingertips.

Easy payments

Improved functionality within HSBCnet will bring you a faster and simplified payment process with fewer screens and built-in validation. Make instant payments or set up forward-dated payments and recurring instructions quickly and securely.

Efficient payment tracking

Use our integrated self-service tool to quickly track payment statuses from the past 35 days. You'll also have greater transparency of any payment lifecycle directly within HSBCnet, and be able to improve your workflow by clearly flagging required payment actions.

Real-time foreign exchange (FX) rates

For businesses with foreign currency needs, HSBCnet's FX features are a gamechanger. Reap the advantages of live FX rates in real time when you make international payments and transfers with just a few simple clicks. Our Preview Exchange Rate feature even lets you calculate and preview real-time exchange rates. And our built-in GetRate function provides live FX rates within the payment process, allowing you to confirm FX rates and authorise payments at the same time.


1HSBC Global Research, The booming digital economy, September 2020.

2Forbes, Pivot your small business online: Tips, resources and inspiration, 15 April 2020.

3Statista, Number of Facebook users in Malaysia from 2017 to 2025, July 2020.

To learn more about how HSBC Fusion can help your small business get digital-ready with HSBCnet, speak to your Relationship Manager today.

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