More and more SMEs are now looking beyond their traditional European sales markets. They are doing so in order to be better able to compensate for future currency fluctuations and to adjust to the radical changes facing the global economy, since two-thirds of consumption will be attributable to Asia by 2030. In the long term, a growing number of exporters will seek to position themselves in distant markets. The new Market Finder platform provides support for this.
"Our goal is to introduce more SMEs to international value chains and make it easier for them to do so using digital tools," says Daniel Küng, CEO of S-GE. "Digital tools make it easier to experience and understand a market and consumer behavior. This is particularly important for SMEs that have fewer resources. In many countries, digital channels are now indispensable elements of a market entry strategy."
Tobias Wittmann, Director at Google for International Growth Strategy & Sales, adds: "Exporting with the aid of digital channels offers companies entirely new opportunities, including finding new customers in existing and new markets, better service, increased customer dialog. Companies should invest in their digital channels and digital know-how. Together with Switzerland Global Enterprise, we look forward to specifically supporting the Swiss export sector's export business with special tools and free training, thereby helping to promote Switzerland as a business location."
Today, about 2.5 billion people worldwide are online. Considering that around 5 billion more will obtain access to the Internet in the next decade, the true dimension of the potential of the Internet as an export and economic factor becomes even clearer.
An export project can be promoted in many ways via digital channels - starting with the analysis of the demand for own products in potential target markets and assessing customer potential through to online marketing and distribution via e-commerce - and increasingly via mobile devices. The use of digital channels is thus now vital for Swiss companies if they want to communicate with and win over new consumers abroad, regardless of whether in the B2B or B2C sector.
Digital tools as part of an export strategy
In many cases, however, SMEs lack the capacity and know-how, both in terms of internationalization itself as well as digital tools. In addition to digital channels, a business needs a good partner network as well as additional marketing and distribution channels in the target market. Nor should cultural and regulatory differences be underestimated. "Tapping new markets remains a challenge. But digital tools can make market entry significantly easier. They must therefore be seen as part of an overall export strategy," says Daniel Küng.
The "Market Finder" aims to provide the necessary digital know-how, practical tools and eLearning modules. The platform brings together exporters, Google, Switzerland Global Enterprise and other organizations. The goal is to provide answers to all kinds of export issues, from internationalization strategies to financing and hedging, to technical issues involving customs fees and taxes.