Empower SMEs by Go Digital: Wider Market, Easier Payments

RADARBOYOLALI.COM-The existence of a marketplace or online sales is indeed beneficial for micro and medium enterprises (SMEs). In Boyolali Regency, there are hundreds of SMEs that are still surviving and existing after the Covid-19 pandemic. These local SMEs are starting to expand into the digital world. Both in marketing and transactions. The push for UKM to go digital is also supported by the village government.

The success of UKM in entering the digital market was felt by a young married couple from Susu City, Zulhilmi Luthfi Ramadhan, 27, and Jihan Magi Mahdalefi, 25. Residents of Bumi Singkil Indah (BSI), Karanggeneng, Boyolali This city has managed to survive under the onslaught of the pandemic Covid-19 thanks to entering digital sales. Initially, the pandemic had caused his offline business to plummet.

This young couple started their business in November 2019. Now, they have made their home garage an offline store, Provides a variety of typical Indian fashion crafts. Starting from striated headbands, bracelets, hats, bags, necklaces, pouchs, fabrics, even prayer equipment such as prayer mats and caps. Meanwhile, in the living room of his house, it was transformed into a place for packing orders.

The man who is called Hilmi recalls the first time he pioneered lurik fashion. At first he really liked ethnic goods. Then the hobby is poured in the form of business. Pioneering products with ethnic nuances made of woven fabrics and wood.

Together with his wife, he started hunting for lurik fabrics from various regions. Starting from Klaten, Jepara to Lombok, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) and lurik typical of Batak, Sumatra.

The process of finding woven cloth is also not easy. Initially, he chose woven fabrics typical of Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara and Kalimantan woven fabrics, which are still woven manually. Unfortunately, the family’s pocket is quite deep. Reaching millions of rupiah.

This affects the selling price which is also expensive and has an impact on sales. Hilmi then chose Troso Jepara woven fabrics at a more affordable price, namely IDR 80,000 – IDR 250,000.

At that time, offline sales only relied on relationships and word of mouth in the local market. The product he carries is a wristband. Made from both knitted and woven fabrics.

His business dimmed due to the emergence of Covid-19 in early 2020. Hilmi racked his brains because offline marketing was no longer promising. In fact, there were absolutely no orders coming in, let alone shop visitors.

At that time, the booming social media was Facebook. He started promoting through social media (medsos). But unable to boost. He started exploring online stores.

“That’s what’s just booming Facebook and orange shops. But at that time Facebook was not too playful. Stagnant sales. We then penetrated the marketplace, started uploading goods. It used to be just random. I don’t know what good photos of items look like, how do I get them to click? Just upload it,” he explained to Jawa Pos Radar Solo, Tuesday (28/3/2023).

Regarding the market, Hilmi agrees that not everyone likes ethnic concepts. However, there are no less ethnic concept enthusiasts. This assumption motivated Hilmi and his wife to market their products online.

They then set up online stores on various marketplaces. Online marketing techniques he learned self-taught. Rely on YouTube and the internet to learn digital marketing techniques.

“Whether someone buys it or not, the important thing is that we (products) enter it first (marketplace). Usually each marketplace also holds online (digital marketing, red) seminars, at that time it was a pandemic. Even if it’s only an hour or two, there’s training. So yes, it’s quite helpful,” he said.

This employee at one of the Boyolali Regency Government offices has to share his time. Because digital marketing training hours are held during working hours. Hilmi took the time to listen. Hilmi and his wife take turns managing social media and the marketplace. The production process is worked on together with the help of sewing employees.

“I was pessimistic, but we have to survive. I see that the pandemic has its advantages and disadvantages. Fortunately, you have to be more creative, turn your brain so that it can be sold, the negative is that goods are hard to sell. Since the pandemic, I have penetrated sales through the marketplace. The key is to be consistent. I use the strategy of free masks and others for every purchase,” he said.

As marketplace visitors increased during the pandemic, Hilmi made an innovation in the form of a woven mask with two earloop and hijab models, as well as two sides of the mask with two different motifs.

He is looking for some employees to help him. They are placed in the production, packing, and administration departments. The other two are back-up. While the management of the marketplace is left to his wife.

Who wants to try, there must be a way. Hilmi was facilitated by training from the bank. Especially in online transactions. Apart from getting a special savings account for his business, his shop is also registered with the Indonesian Standard Quick Response Code (QRIS).

Purchase transactions are made easy because consumers only need to scan the QRIS barcode. This cashless transaction provides convenience because the money goes directly to the store’s account.

“It really feels when you enter online sales. Due to the offline time, we rely on shops and the scope is only Boyolali. Then there is the marketplace, which buys all over Indonesia, to Papua, Kalimantan, outside Java. Sometimes from the marketplace there is an export program. There are buyers from Malaysia and Singapore. When there are many orders, sales increase by 200-300 percent,” he explained.

Now Hilmi has eight employees and can empower the surrounding community. There are three special sewing employees, one administration and other employees.

He also developed sarimbit fashion products. The demand is quite high even with the pre order system. Turnover up to IDR 40 million per month. This nominal has increased significantly compared to 2021, which was only IDR 10 million – IDR 15 million per month. Hilmi agrees that going digital can empower SMEs and the community.

The benefits of SMEs going digital are also felt by business actors from Banaran, Boyolali City, Erna Dyah Wilujeng, 40. This single parent started a unique pillow business since 2009.

Its products have developed into various pillows for babies and various other patchwork crafts. Such as bed sheets, curtains, tote bags, patchwork wallets, patchwork key chains and others.

Her sewing skills were self-taught. During middle school, his mother bought a sewing machine. Erna just tried it and got hooked until now.

This unique pillow received a positive response from consumers. It was even a hit at its time. In addition, sofa cushions are also in great demand. Unexpectedly, a pandemic storm hit almost all sectors in 2020. Erna started racking her brains to develop her business. He makes various baby pillows.

“With the pandemic, my sales and turnover have dropped dramatically. People’s purchasing power is reduced a lot. But during the pandemic, many got pregnant and gave birth. So I swerved yes. Increase the production of pillows for pregnant women and babies,” he said.

Erna’s products include anti-spitting or vomiting pillows, pregnancy pillows, baby neck pillows, nursing pillows and others. The market response has been very good. The products are selling well. Many buy for their own use or for gifts. He felt that was the lesson from the pandemic.

Ideas for various forms of pillows are obtained from the internet. Erna often surfs Pinterest and others. Sometimes ideas just pop up. Nothing is wasted from the raw materials of the product. The rest of the patchwork is used for baby sandals. He also innovates to beautify packaging.

“The key is consistent. I am also a member of the National Entrepreneurship Movement (GKN). So from online sales to marketing techniques, I learned it myself and also from the trainings I’ve attended before. I have failed once or twice. Sometimes orders are quiet, not many buy. The challenge is there. How to make the business busy and in demand. How do I brand the product so that there are lots of devotees. So I guarantee quality and promos,” he explained.

Now, Erna is not only an SME actor. But also share knowledge with young entrepreneurs throughout Indonesia. She has been assisting MSMEs since 2016. She is often invited from the Ministry of Cooperatives and regional offices.

The trainings he has mentored are in Manokwari, Papua; Manado, Gorontalo, Samosir, Garut, Riau, Banjarmasin. For him, there is a certain satisfaction when MSMEs can advance and penetrate the digital market.

“Learn together, share together how we brand our products, package our products attractively and have high selling points. How to promote our merchandise to go digital. The prospects for SMEs are very promising, the opportunities are great. Yesterday, when the Covid-19 pandemic crushed big businesses, we can see that these SMEs are still surviving. So don’t underestimate small businesses, SMEs. Because the potential for SMEs is enormous in the wheels of the economy in Indonesia,” explained the second winner at the Central Java Province level in the 2022 outstanding female entrepreneur category.

MSME support to go digital also extends to rural areas. Among other things, the Tawangsari Village Government, Teras District, Boyolali Regency, which is developing a digital village.

In 2021, Tawangsari Village Head (Kades) Yayuk Tutiek Supriyanti sees that his residents have great potential in the business sector. Many MSMEs grow in the village.

Initially, residents’ transactions were carried out through the village’s WhatsApp (WA) group. Various kinds of MSME products such as noodles, dawet, karak without borax, disabled batik, chips and others have emerged.

“The buying and selling system through village WA groups reaches IDR 10 million-IDR 20 million every day. The seller delivers the goods to the buyer and pays cash on delivery (COD). It turned out that everything was not as smooth as that because the pandemic has been expanding since June-August 2021,” he explained.

Pemdes Tawangsari then cooperates with Bank Indonesia (BI) to develop non-cash transaction services. The implementation of non-cash transactions has been implemented for almost the last 2.5 years.

The Tawangsari village administration is assisted by BI to make QRIS for 1,400 MSMEs in the local village by the end of 2021. Almost all villagers have used digital transactions. The village also held cashless transaction training. Because buying and selling transactions are made easy by simply scanning the QRIS barcode.

Now, the maturation of digital villages is also supported by the Ministry of Villages (Kemendes) and State-Owned Enterprises (BUMN) in the Danareksa cluster. A digital bazaar will be held to familiarize non-cash transactions.

Pemdes Tawangsari will also conduct digital training for MSMEs for the next three days. Each MSME tent has a QRIS barcode attached.

The Head of Micro Enterprises, Cooperatives and Labor Office (Diskopnaker) and UMKM Boyolali Nunung Susilowati said the push to facilitate MSME players continues. In Boyolali, there are 49,024 MSMEs that have been registered in the UMKM Diskopnaker Esemu application. They get the opportunity for training and marketing assistance.

“There are 150 MSMEs that have participated in the go digital training. The district government also encourages and provides assistance. Participate in facilitating through training and improving the quality of human resources (HR),” he said.

MSMEs are not only equipped with soft skills, but also how to use digital technology. Online marketing training classes are a topic that is always presented. The goal is that MSME actors can not only make products, but are able to market products offline and online.

During the two days of training, MSME actors received material from practitioners and practices. After that, the agency will provide capital assistance to be developed by MSME actors. Not only that, the Boyolali Regency Government also assisted in the production, packaging, and online marketing processes.

“We carry out periodic mentoring and evaluation, so that we can provide input and motivation to MSME actors,” he explained.

Within a year, the Boyolali UMKM Manpower Office invited 30 MSME actors to take part in training and mentoring. Each sub-district government is involved to send MSME data that needs to be fostered. Then do data matching Esemu Diskopnaker UMKM. In order to optimize the material presented, the number of participants for each training wave is limited. (rgl/wa)

Reporter: Ragil Listiyo