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Firms fail to exploit internet marketing

Update: December, 01/2012 - 09:44
A product is offered for sale on the groupon website nhommua.vn. On-line trading has started to boom in Viet Nam. — File Photo
HA NOI (VNS)— Fifteen years since it reached these shores, the internet has revolutionised Vietnamese lives. Online enterprises have boomed, but many Vietnamese businesses are lagging behind and still do not take full advantage of internet marketing to leverage economic development, said To Hoai Nam, deputy chairman of the Association for Small–Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs).

Nam was speaking at an internet marketing seminar in Ha Noi this week, which was co-hosted by the Viet Nam Internet Association (VIA) and Russian New Horizon Internet (NHI) which owns the Wada.vn Vietnamese search engine. At the seminar, industry experts said most Vietnamese businesses were still reluctant to add internet marketing to their business strategies.

According to experts, Viet Nam has a strong technology infrastructure, with one-third of the population regularly using the internet. In addition, one in nine citizens use social networking, while one in every five cell phone owners uses a smartphone. Accordingly, there is a clear opportunity for businesses to take full advantage of the internet.

Lukasz Roszczyc, managing director of Leo Burnett Viet Nam said that instead of renting expensive premises, businesses can now open online stores and take advantage of the internet to promote their products. However, Vietnamese businesses currently allocate only 0.5 per cent of their total advertising spend to online marketing.

But while businesses remain rigid, consumer behaviour is gradually changing. In the past, buyers would often buy impulsively and immediately, whereas today, they can use the internet to chat or share opinions on the product before deciding to make a purchase, said Nam. Therefore, if businesses make good use of internet marketing, it will be far more effective than traditional methods, said Nam.

A big question raised by businesses, was whether embracing online marketing would translate into success for their business, as well as saving them money.

"This is vital amid the current economic difficulties and the fact most Vietnamese enterprises are small and medium-sized ones," he said.

Ms. Aigerim Zhangozina, managing director of wada.vn said, she hoped wada.vn would become an optimal and useful Vietnamese search engine. In addition, it would also bring Vietnamese businesses a new and cost effective route into internet marketing.

According to Tuan Ha, CEO of Vinalink company, most small and medium-sized enterprises in Viet Nam do not know about internet marketing because they have not been well trained, adding that businesses who do use internet marketing can reduce advertising costs by 90 per cent.

Ha gave some examples of the successful application of internet marketing in Viet Nam by firms such as Tran Anh company, The Gioi Di Dong company, Lazada.vn and Giaytot.vn.

According to experts, Vietnamese consumer habits remain geared towards in store buying over shopping online. Therefore, businesses should work closely with stores if they want to sell products online and must show relevant legal documents to prove they are genuine agents.

Nguyen Viet The, General Secretary of the VIA, said Vietnamese businesses must be fully aware of the importance of online business, so they can apply it in a professional manner. By doing so, internet marketing in Viet Nam could become a lever to help businesses expand as the internet has become an indispensable tool in a large number of homes. — VNS

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