MSMEs road to digitalization: Exploring ways to digitalize your brick-and-mortar store

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Regardless of size, digitalization offers significant benefits for businesses and firms. With the rapid growth of technology, many firms are starting to realize the importance of utilizing digital tools to reduce transaction costs, provide quicker access to information, and facilitate communication between stakeholders. Despite their obvious benefits, micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) are still slow in adopting digital technologies.

Read on to find out why digitalization is important for MSMEs, the opportunities and challenges, and how you can successfully start your e-commerce store.

Why is digitalization important for MSMEs?

According to the United Nations, MSMEs make up 90% of businesses worldwide and provide 50% of the world’s employment. Digitalization is crucial for MSMEs as it helps them adopt various digital tools such as social media platforms, mobile connectivity, data analytics, and cloud computing to ensure continual profitability. According to PwC Philippines, firms adopting digital tools will increase their productivity and industry competitiveness, traits that are critical for growth and resiliency amid uncertainty. Thus, MSMEs must embrace digital technologies and promote digitalization as the future of the global economy has everything to do with it.

As mentioned earlier, going digital helps MSMEs improve their competitiveness and helps develop an inclusive and sustainable economy. As technologies evolve, MSMEs must incorporate the continuous process of adopting digital technologies to grow, thrive, and contribute to the global economy. They must integrate digital transformation into all business areas to deliver customer value and ensure business continuity.

Role of digitalization for MSMEs during COVID-19

If there was any doubt about the importance of digitalization in the business world, COVID-19 has dispeled them all. In an era of social distancing and contactless interaction, going digital was the only way for businesses to remain operational. It was thus no surprise when firms that were reluctant to embrace digital transformation suffered a rude shock during the pandemic when they found themselves unprepared and unequipped to cope with the aftermath of the pandemic. An OECD survey indicated that MSMEs which adopted digital transformation showed improvements in customer relationships, process agility, and acquisition.

Opportunities & Challenges for MSMES using digitalization

MSMEs encounter a variety of possibilities and problems related to digital transformation in the Philippines and around the world. Below is a summary of these digital business opportunities and challenges.


SME digitalization offers the following:

  • Adopting digital technology allows businesses to streamline their work, improve efficiency, and ultimately increase revenue. SAP revealed that 85% of companies that adopted digitalization have seen an increase in market share. 
  • Digitalization helps improve customer experience through personalization and easier communication with the business. 
  • Insights can be obtained through data tracking. Businesses can use these metrics to understand their customers’ needs and wants, improve their strategies, and make faster decisions. This in turn will help to boost customer satisfaction as their requirements and expectations are being met. 


With opportunities come challenges. MSMEs might face the following difficulties when incorporating digitalization in their businesses.

  • MSMEs might lack relevant IT skills to achieve their digitalization goals. A report done by Udacity stated that 60% of companies are unable to accomplish their digital transformation goals due to the lack of IT-savvy employees. 
  • The cost of acquiring digital technologies can be an obstacle for MSMEs due to budget.
  • With digitalization comes digital fraud and cyber crime. Larger firms are able to obtain the necessary cyber security tools to protect themselves. MSMEs on the other hand might find themselves in a difficult position to combat cyber attacks, this is due to the associated costs and lack of awareness.

Step-by-step guide to starting an e-commerce store

Having established the importance of MSME business digitalization, the next step would be to implement it. The first order of business would be starting an e-commerce arm for the business. Here are some steps in creating an e-commerce store.

  1. Create a customized website for your business tailored to your business needs.

  2. Choose an e-commerce platform and use it to create an online experience and fulfill customer orders. Use one that is easy to navigate, offers excellent customer support, and provides multiple payment options.

  3. Create your online store and customize it as per your company’s branding. 

  4. Do your market research and identify your target market based on the products you are planning to sell. It’s important to consider the demographics, location, and interests of your target audience.

  5. List your products on the online store with the proper names, descriptions, images, and pricing information.

  6. Plan your payment methods and connect a payment gateway.

  7. Launch your online store.

  8. To help you deliver the products to customers on time and reliably, work with a reliable logistics service provider. 

DHL Express’s customization services for businesses

DHL Express acknowledges the impact of digitalization on business and offers various business and logistics solutions tailored to MSMEs. Whether you are an aspiring entrepreneur who has just started out or a seasoned business owner with a middle-sized enterprise, you are most likely looking for better ways to grow your business. Sign up for a business account today at DHL Express, and discover new possibilities for your business to grow, as we guide you through this dynamic digital landscape.