The impact of COVID-19 is most evident, from an economic standpoint, in the SME community. The stay-at-home orders and the work from home efforts has reduced productivity and decimated the retail industry.

To help SMEs, a Malaysian startup and corporate put together a countrywide initiative to help SMEs sustain during the pandemic by encouraging people to buy local. Titled #AdEasyJagaSME, it seeks to provide visibility and help drive immediate revenue for these SMEs via a one-stop webpage which went live earlier this month. 

The startup, AdEasy, is also running various ads and awareness campaigns to spread the word on their online channels as well as with the help of their partners sponsoring free airtime, digital screen ads, and features on social media platforms. The current media partners supporting AdEasy’s initiative include Astro Radio, Look Here, Visual Retale, Focus Malaysia, Rodeo, JagaApp as well as Sky Blue Media.

Also part of the initiative is Otomate Me, which provides their OtoOrder form – an online order page helps businesses receive orders directly from customers via Whatsapp. This is ideal for SMEs that do not have a digital presence and require assistance.

We spoke to Co-Founder and COO of Adeasy, Therine Goh about this initiative and what it means for the local SME community.

The AdEasy platform. Image courtesy of AdEasy

How has been the take-up rate of this service so far?

It’s been encouraging we have over 85 SME signups to-date.

In terms of impact, do you believe it can help SMEs facing financial issues during MCO and to what extent?

Yes, we believe this will help serve as an additional channel for the SMEs to gain visibility and sales during the MCO.  

As some experts believe that the economy will not recover for years, how long do you foresee this campaign going on for?

When we created this initiative, we had the long term in mind. We are aware of the long recovery period, and this campaign will run for as long as it adds value to the SMEs.

As an aggregator, how do you propose to sustain and build visibility for the businesses on your platform? What tactics or measures are you currently running?

We’ve enlisted our media partners to help promote this initiative. Astro Radio, Look Here, Visual Retale, Focus Malaysia, Rodeo GO, JagaApp, and Sky Blue Media have responded positively. Some are giving FOC air time/ad spaces, and most are shouting out about this on their social platforms and websites. We are also posting about this campaign on our own platforms. The main objective is to raise awareness about the web page, so that more people people will visit it, and discover the SMEs listed there.

Is the MCO highlighting a stark gap in the market, especially around the digitisation of businesses?

The AdEasy team transitioned to work from home (WFH) smoothly as we’ve digitised most of our operations. We are not able to comment on other businesses, but I’ve personally heard of a few companies that are unable to implement WFH as their day-to-day functions are still very much manual and on paper.

The AdEasyJagasme banners around town

What advice would you give businesses to fully maximise your platform during this period?

For SMEs, do list on our #AdEasyJagaSME web page to have an additional platform to generate awareness and sales. For the general public, please visit our we bpage, and buy local to support the SMEs. As for businesses, those who need help in planning for their marketing, advertising and brand recovery, do reach out to us. We offer free one-on-one consultations to help businesses re-evaluate and pivot their strategies. Businesses can also browse through our platform to explore their advertising options, and the promotions we are running now.

What else can we expect to see from the #AdEasyJagaSME campaign?

Hopefully, more SMEs will hear about us and list, and they will be able to generate sales from this initiative. From our end, we will continue promoting this campaign on social media, and will start highlighting the SMEs listed.