e-Commerce: How Cypriot companies can stand out in a globally competitive environment
Donna Kaparti 14:54 - 02 November 2023
The increasing preference of consumers for online shopping in connection with the development of digital technology is leading businesses to evolve their practices.
Combining their well-designed online presence with their individual approach and quality of service is the key to attracting and retaining their customers.
In this environment, Greek and Cypriot businesses are seeking to incorporate innovation and differentiation into their strategies in order to meet the needs of a growing and demanding digital market.
As the conditions for the development of e-commerce in Greece and Cyprus are constantly maturing, market players are analysing the latest developments in the sector and what else needs to be done for its further sustainable development.
At the 15th e-Commerce Conference, Yioulika Antoniades, Systems Deployment Consultant at Capacitor Partners and Maria Papagrigoriou-Pirda, E-commerce Manager at Psichogios Publications had a very interesting discussion about the course and development components of e-commerce, both in Cyprus and in Greece.
Asked how the consumer is affected by the many choices offered to him in e-commerce, Antoniades admitted that, indeed, in terms of prices, businesses in Cyprus and Greece cannot compete with the behemoths of America and China.
However, they can differentiate themselves through localisation, understanding the culture and service on a human level. "That's how we can differentiate ourselves from the big competition," she said.
Antoniades also commented on the increase in customer satisfaction in the company and the increase in sales with the use of technology.
As for what steps the rest of the local businesses should follow before switching to e-commerce, according to the E-commerce Manager at Psichogios Publications, they must first set up a department that will be autonomous or work with other departments (IT etc). "So it will develop and operate with autonomous goals," Papagrigoriou-Pirda explained.
A second point is the right choice of partners, according to Antoniades. Actions must also be based on the correct choice of the platform, as she said, adding, "This decision must be linked to the goals the company has and the growth it hopes to achieve through e-commerce.”
Papagrigoriou-Pirda said that in order to compete with business giants, businesses must focus on local products and service. As she explained, there are consumers who prefer to try the products in physical stores.
So Cypriot companies should devote themselves to these products, always keeping in mind the technologies and the advantages they offer. According to Capacitor Partners' Systems Deployment Consultant, a total of 43% of consumers are expected to move to online shopping. "Local players need to appeal to them by following this trend towards e-commerce," she advised.
She also suggested that companies define a clear goal in their transition to e-commerce and have a clear vision (for example increasing sales, expanding into new markets, etc.).
She also mentioned the strategy aspect. In particular, Papagrigoriou-Pirda urged businesses to proceed with the implementation of a new business plan. She also emphasised the importance of training staff in e-commerce. "Expand new customer service procedures," was another tip put forward by the expert.
The moderator of the panel was Maria Ioannou, Business Development Junior Director at ECOMMBX, who emphasised that service is one of the most important elements along with continuing to provide personal contact and communication with the consumer whether this has to do with the product or their shipping process.
Finally, Ioannou focused on the digitalisation, which she characterised as the future.