Small and medium-sized enterprises must start looking at the possibility of expanding their business internationally and applying technology to help them reach that goal, says Pawoot Pongvitayapanu, the founder and managing director of Tarad.com.
One of Thailand's leading e-commerce portals has begun to expand its business to Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan, the United States and Europe.
"Technology and an online presence can really help if you are small. It all depends on your attitude," said Mr Pawoot.
"Merchandise from abroad is pouring into the country without us noticing it. Many people no longer go to bookshops but buy online from Amazon or eBay."
Mr Pawoot said online marketing on English-language websites can help small businesses to draw in foreign customers to look at their products at minimal costs.
"The challenge is how you can push yourself onto the internet and enable transactions to happen there," he said.
The most promising sector in the growing Southeast Asian market involves catering to the demands of Muslims including Halal products, said Mr Pawoot.
Online information enables Thai manufacturers to undertake consumer research to understand demand and competition levels as well as conduct market analysis.
"If you have language barriers, then Google Translate can help you with the English language. You can even buy keywords in another language so people see you first when they type in the word," said Mr Pawoot.
He said the future of marketing lies in using social networks.
"Research shows 75% of people no longer believe what a firm says about itself. They believe what their friends say about the products," said Mr Pawoot, adding that business partners can be found easily online.
"If you don't know the potential partner, try talking to them or sending them samples. Technology makes it easy for you to use your competitors' products and services and analyse their business," noted Mr Pawoot.
About the author
- Writer: Soonya Vanichkorn