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Across the globe, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are evolving their business models from a traditional retail approach. SMEs are finding new channels to access local and international markets to expand their customer bases and to better meet the needs of their existing clients.
New international marketplaces are opening up for South African SMEs
At FedEx Express, we believe there is a global market for uniquely South African products and other high-quality products for which South Africa has historically been recognized as a consistent supplier. We are working to actively aid business recovery for our customers and support those who want to expand to new markets.
FedEx worked with Veldskoen Shoes, and used its vast global network to provide them with access to international markets and connected them with their global customer base. FedEx was able to offer services and advice, enabling Veldskoen Shoes to introduce its iconic leather shoes to new markets through an innovative e-commerce approach and an export focus.
The e-commerce experience Veldskoen gained also led to it establishing an online business consultancy for other SMEs looking to expand globally at a time when local markets are slow.
Another world-renowned South African product is our local wine. In this sector, FedEx Express has also formed close working relationships with local providers to help facilitate e-commerce and shipping solutions for local SMEs.
In both instances, FedEx was able to offer rapid, reliable, time-definite delivery, complete with air routes and transport infrastructure, last-mile networks, and advice.
In a 2020 SME Finance Pulse Survey by McKinsey & Company, SMEs reported reduced demand and difficulties in connecting with potential buyers. However, online marketplaces and micro sales platforms are an efficient and cost-effective way to access these markets.
The survey noted how digital platforms can help SMEs enhance their reach and efficiency at lower cost, leveraging their agility to compete effectively with larger entities. SMEs can also use technology to amplify their competitive advantages in their value chains, their products and services, and in their operations.
There are a host of opportunities for South African SMEs to move beyond local markets and introduce their products to the world. Our ultimate goal is to continue to assist and provide support to homegrown South African businesses in order to help fuel their growth.
This article was written by Taarek Hinedi, Vice President Middle East & Africa Operations at FedEx Express.
Featured image: Veldskoen, Facebook