Do you think that digitalisation is only for the young? You’re never too old to embark on your digitalisation journey, read on to find out how Synergetic Beauty System’s employees who are over 50 years of age adopt new technologies!

 

It was a crisis like no other. Forced to shut down for almost three months during the Covid-19-induced Circuit Breaker, Synergetic Beauty System bore a revenue loss of 30 per cent.

But the unforeseen blow was also what led Mr Simon Lee, Director of the hair and beauty products distributor to turn things around.

The 56-year-old had to quickly figure out how to reach new retail customers outside of his physical store at Kitchener Complex. “During this period, we reflected on what needed to be improved. How we do business now in the Covid era is completely different,” he adds.

Previously on the backburner, digitalisation immediately rose to the top of the to-do list. It was a steep challenge for the team of five employees who are mostly in their 50s and 60s but everyone took it in stride.

“If we don’t do it, we’ll be left behind in the digital world. We just had to push ourselves.”

Mr Simon Lee

Director of Synergetic Beauty System

Armed with a can-do attitude, they mastered a myriad of new solutions over the latter half of 2020.

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Forced to shut down for almost three months during the Covid-19-induced Circuit Breaker, this has prompted Synergetic Beauty System to diversify their consumer sales platform by creating its own e-commerce website.

Taking the company to the future

First order of business was diversifying the company’s consumer sales platforms. In addition to hopping onto online marketplaces Lazada and Qoo10, Synergetic Beauty System also created its own e-commerce website.

Mr Lee got wind of IMDA’s SMEs Go Digital programme on social media. He promptly got in touch with one of the programme’s Start Digital Partners, who pointed the team to potential digital solutions that could improve work processes for their staff.

Very swiftly, things started to fall into place.

Leveraging IMDA’s Start Digital Pack, which allows SMEs to enjoy foundational digital solutions at no cost for the first six months, the company deployed a human resources (HR) software and accounting solution.

While the HR software helps simplify payroll matters and securely store employee data, the accounting solution lets the team make business-to-business transactions on InvoiceNow (a nationwide e-invoicing network), facilitates online transactions, allows incoming funds to flow directly into a connected bank account, keeps financial records up-to-date and more.

With the usage of these solutions, as well as registering for a PayNow Corporate account and InvoiceNow, the company has received $10,000 in Digital Resilience Bonus payouts.

Adopting the digital solutions was not just about deploying them. Staff members of Synergetic Beauty System attended virtual and in-person training sessions conducted by the solutions providers, so that they could learn how to use the new digital solutions effectively. Armed with a positive attitude, everyone soon embraced the improved workflow.

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The retail point-of-sales (POS) system can generate useful insights from sales data and allows the company to track daily sales performance and inventory levels, so that employees can make informed decisions on replenishments.

Business insights and faster processes

What excited Mr Lee most is the company’s revamped point-of-sales (POS) system and its ability to generate useful insights from sales data. Synergetic Beauty System took up the retail POS system at a subsidised rate thanks to the Productivity Solutions Grant. The solution allows the company to track daily sales performance and inventory levels, so that employees can make informed decisions on replenishments. Infographic reports can be generated anytime and anywhere with this cloud-based solution.

“Through the infographics, we can look at customer behaviour, items they are buying, revenue trends and more. In the past, we had to check these things manually,” he says.

The new POS solution was also a far cry from the company’s earlier, albeit digital POS system purchased a decade ago. “It wasn’t cloud-based. Whenever something went wrong, we had to wait for a technician to come troubleshoot. Now problems can be rectified straightaway with the user-friendly interface,” says Mr Lee.

Another big payoff was establishing the company’s e-commerce capabilities. Online sales has contributed to a 10 per cent increase in revenue. Now they can also reach younger, tech-savvy customers on the lookout for professional hair grooming tools – their bestsellers are hairdryers and combs.

On the backend, the user-friendly HR and accounting solutions have given the team time savings of 20 per cent and a corresponding 10 per cent drop in operating expenses.

Mr Simon Lee

Director of Synergetic Beauty System

Employees now spend fewer hours in the office processing and dispatching invoices and delivery order documents, issuing payslips and tracking salary remittance slips.

The time saved is now spent on creating marketing materials for social media, studying sales trends, monitoring inventory levels and making smarter restocking decisions.

With the rapid accumulation of consumer data, Mr Lee is considering online marketing with avatars. This involves creating different sets of messaging targeted at unique customer profiles.

Mr Lee’s goals for the next few years are not unlike most entrepreneurs’ – grow the business and increase brand awareness. That aside, he is also cognisant of the need to welcome new talent to the fold.

“At some point, we will need to pass the reins to the next generation who has a different way of doing things. Digitalisation keeps our business up to date, and will help us prepare for leadership transition.”

Mr Simon Lee

Director of Synergetic Beauty System


About SMEs Go Digital Programme

The SMEs Go Digital programme aims to make going digital simple for SMEs.

Under the programme, SMEs can receive up to 80% funding support from the Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG) if they adopt pre-approved digital solutions to take their businesses to the next level. There are pre-approved solutions for a range of sectors, including environmental services, food services, retail, security, wholesale trade and logistics.

Refreshed in Jan 2021, the Start Digital initiative helps newly incorporated SMEs and those that have yet to digitalise, to get started with foundational digital solutions through their natural touchpoints – banks and telcos. These solutions, or Start Digital Packs, include Accounting, Human Resource Management System (HRMS) & Payroll, Digital Marketing, Digital Transactions, Cybersecurity and Digital Collaboration.

Visit the SMEs Go Digital programme webpage for more information today. Subscribe to the SMEs Go Digital Telegram channel at https://t.me/SMEsGoDigital for updates on new resources and support available.

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