Scholarly article on topic 'Small Medium Enterprises: On Utilizing Business-to-Business e-Commerce to Go Global'

Small Medium Enterprises: On Utilizing Business-to-Business e-Commerce to Go Global Academic research paper on "Economics and business"

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Abstract of research paper on Economics and business, author of scientific article — Veronica S. Moertini

Abstract In line with the growth of the Internet, the Business-to-Business (B2B) e-commerce has also been growing rapidly. Enterprises all over the world have been going global by taking the advantages B2B e-commerce, which can be materialized by joining global B2B marketplace websites. Thousands of Indonesian SMEs have joined these marketplace websites. However, based on analyzing the survey results, it is doubtful that the SMEs have been successful in marketing products via these marketplace websites despite the potential advantages of the websites. This paper presents the survey results, problems identified and recommendations for Indonesian SMEs, the government and organizations aiming to develop Indonesian SMEs to go global. The recommendations include how to develop company websites properly, how to join B2B e-commerce marketplace websites and how to communicate effectively in dealing with potential international buyers.

Academic research paper on topic "Small Medium Enterprises: On Utilizing Business-to-Business e-Commerce to Go Global"

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Procedía Economics and Finance 4 (2012) 13 - 22

International Conference on Small and Medium Enterprises Development with a Theme "Innovation and Sustainability in SME Development" (ICSMED 2012)

Small Medium Enterprises: On Utilizing Business-to-Business eCommerce to Go Global

Veronica S. Moertinia*

_aInformatics Department, Parahyangan Catholic University, Jl Ciumbuleuit 94, Bandung, Indonesia_

Abstract

In line with the growth of the Internet, the Business-to-Business (B2B) e-commerce has also been growing rapidly. Enterprises all over the world have been going global by taking the advantages B2B e-commerce, which can be materialized by joining global B2B marketplace websites. Thousands of Indonesian SMEs have joined these marketplace websites. However, based on analyzing the survey results, it is doubtful that the SMEs have been successful in marketing products via these marketplace websites despite the potential advantages of the websites. This paper presents the survey results, problems identified and recommendations for Indonesian SMEs, the government and organizations aiming to develop Indonesian SMEs to go global. The recommendations include how to develop company websites properly, how to join B2B e-commerce marketplace websites and how to communicate effectively in dealing with potential international buyers.

© 2012 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

Selection and peer-review under res ponsibility of Parahyangan Catholic University.

Keywords: SMEs in Indonesia; B2B marketplace e-commerce; use of B2B marketplace by Indonesian SMEs

1. Introduction

E-commerce was first implemented in 1995 in its basic form, which was the sale of banner advertisements. Since then, e-commerce has been developing speedily. Currently, based on the market relationship, ecommerce is classified into Business-to-Consumer (B2C), Business-to-Business (B2B) and Consumer-to-Consumer (C2C). In line with the growth of the Internet, these three have been growing exponentially.

* Corresponding author. Tel.: +62-22-203 2655; fax: + 62-22-203 1110. E-mail address: moertini@unpar.ac.id.

2212-5671 © 2012 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

Selection and peer-review under responsibility of Parahyangan Catholic University.

doi: 10.1016/S2212-5671 (12)00316-4

However, among the three types, the B2B e-commerce is the fasted growing. It is reported in Laudon and Traver, 2011 that the revenue of B2B e-commerce reached approximately USD four trillions in 2011 (while the B2C's was approximately USD 240 million only). In attempt to take its advantages, SMEs in developing countries, including in Indonesia, have been adopting e-commerce but many problems still exist. This may hamper the successfulness in taking the advantages (see Sub-section 2.2, 2.3 and Section 3).

As discussed in Subramaniam and Shaw, 2002, there are a few models of web-based B2B procurement practiced in e-commerce, one of them is the third-party marketplace. The B2B marketplace is suitable in fragmented markets (buy side or sell side), where locating the buyer or seller is very expensive, and price and availability are the major purchase criteria. Marketplace websites are owned by third party companies who have both technological and domain expertise. One way that can be done by SMEs in going global via B2B ecommerce is by joining these marketplaces. Moreover, the websites usually offer free memberships that can be "tried" by SMEs.

Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Indonesia seem to have been aware of the presence of B2B marketplaces and their advantages. By surveying members of global B2B marketplace websites, it is found that thousands of Indonesian SMEs have been joining and participating in B2B marketplace websites. In a marketplace website, the Indonesian SMEs even outnumber Chinese SMEs. However, by evaluating the SMEs company profiles, products posted, websites and the export statistics of 2009 provided by World Trade Organization, it is doubtful that Indonesian SMEs have been successful in using global B2B marketplace ecommerce to market their products abroad although e-commerce is reported as useful for enterprises in Indonesia (see Kurni, 2007). This fact leads to the research questions: What are the problems faced by Indonesia SMEs in going to global B2B e-commerce via marketplace? What recommendations can be formulated for SMEs development?

Despite the problems existed, the author has not found any research result associated with the use of B2B marketplace by Indonesian SMEs. Therefore, this paper is intended to contribute in this area. The methods implemented in conducting the research are: (1) Identifying the research problems and questions; (2) Performing literature study concerning the use of e-commerce in developing countries including Indonesia; (3) Surveying global B2B marketplace websites; (4) Based on the survey results and author experiences in using marketplace websites, the author proposes recommendations for Indonesian SMEs as well as organizations or government for SMEs development related to the use of B2B marketplace websites.

2. Related Literature and Research Results

2.1. B2B Marketplace E-commerce and E-Commerce Marketing Communication

There are a few models of web-based B2B procurement practiced in e-commerce, namely (Subramaniam and Shaw, 2002), which are buy-side procurement system, private marketplace, industry B2B exchange and third-party marketplace. These marketplaces are created by companies called market-makers or infomediaries who have both technological and domain expertise. Third-party marketplaces can be horizontal or vertical. Horizontal marketplaces aggregate buyers and sellers across a particular function across multiple industries. Vertical marketplaces aggregate buyers and sellers across a particular industry across multiple functions.

Third-party marketplace is suitable in fragmented markets (buy side or sell side), where locating the buyer or seller is very expensive and in standard and commodity products, and price and availability are the major purchase criteria. Third-party markets provide value by lowering the product price for the buyers, and lowering the search costs for both buyers and sellers. Therefore, factors that create the value are lower product price for buyers, lower search costs for both buyers and sellers and service quality.

According to Laudon and Traver, 2011, basic marketing concepts include: (1) Strategies and actions to establish relationship with consumer and encourage purchases of products and services; (2) Addresses

competitive situation of industries and firms; (3) Seeks to create unique, highly differentiated products or services that are produced or supplied by one trusted firm by developing unmatchable feature set and avoidance of becoming commodity. Purchasing process generally consists of a few stages where each stage can be supported by certain online marketing and communication techniques (see Table 1).

Table 1. Marketing and online communication techniques in the stages of purchasing process (Laudon and Traver, 2011).

Awareness Searching Evaluating Alternatives Purchasing Post-Purchasing

Online communication techniques targeted banner ads, interstitials, targeted event promotions search engines, online catalogs, website visits, targeted email search engines, online catalogs, website visits, product reviews, user evaluations online promotions, lotteries, discounts, targeted email newsletter, customer email, online updated

2.2. Evidences from Developing Countries

Developing countries have been aware of the advantages of e-commerce. Some researches attempting to study the problems and the use of e-commerce in developing countries have been conducted. Some excerpts of the results are presented as follows.

The research result with the case study in Western-Cape Province of South-Africa reported in Cloete, 2002 indicates that: SMEs perceive the potential benefit of e-commerce. In Yiwu - China, the Internet is indeed regarded as a central actor for networked entrepreneurial activities (Avgerou, Li and Poulymenakou, 2011). From Thailand it is reported that the internet allows silk producers having websites to expand their geographic reach. However, they are still much more reliant on sales to distant intermediaries (Graham, 2011). Another study in Thailand (Laosethakul and Boulton, 2007) presents results that social behaviour and national culture have been the major influences for the success of e-commerce.

Despite the fact that Saudi Arabia has the largest and fastest growth of ICT marketplaces in the Arab region, only a tiny number of Saudi commercial organizations are involved in e-commerce implementation. Factors found that causes the situation are the people culture, lack of e-commerce experience and resistance to change (AlGhamdi, Drew and Al-Ghaith, 2011). In a broader study, it is reported that information and communication technology users in rural communities of developing countries are still learners and also lack of knowledge of technologies (Emmanuel and Hippolyte, 2010).

2.3. B2B Marketplace E-commerce and E-Commerce Marketing Communication

Although the Internet has been used by more than 40 million of Indonesians, there are only a handful of research results regarding the use of e-commerce by SMEs that can be found. The excerpt is as follows.

In terms of e-business readiness, Indonesia is still at the low end, because of a lack of IT infrastructure. Despite this fact and other issues related to the economical and socio-cultural conditions, e-commerce is indeed relevant to Indonesia and may offer excellent opportunities for growth (Kurni, 2007), while the survey results with sample of 41 SMEs operating in Malang East of Java show that e-commerce is becoming increasingly important in many SMEs (Prabandari and Azzuhri, 2011). In another study, Yulimar, 2006 concludes that: (1) The maturity of SMEs influences the use of e-commerce; (2) External factors contribute to the adoption of ecommerce by SMEs; (3) The use of e-commerce increase SMEs' performances. A more recent study presented in Pujani, 2011 also indicates that: (1) The usefulness of e-commerce websites are mainly determined by system quality, information quality and features; (2) The level of users satisfactions towards the website are mainly influenced by the usefulness and system quality.

In using B2C e-commerce, Kartiwi, 2006 proposes a framework suitable for Indonesian SMEs with the following stages of development: company profile, product catalog and contact us; order form and order tracking; online payment and online customer service.

From the over all of literature study results, it can be concluded that: (1) e-commerce is important for SMEs in developing countries; (2) several problems related to technology, culture, skill and knowledge of people have hampered the e-commerce adoption; (3) websites that meet the e-commerce standards must be developed gradually.

3. Survey Results and Problems Identification

3.1. Surveys of Indonesian SMEs in Marketplace Website and Their Company Websites

The preliminary surveys with the aims of gathering facts of Indonesian SMEs that have been participating in B2B e-marketplace websites and how they utilize them are conducted on three global B2B marketplace websites, where two of them are well known global e-marketplace websites. For anonymousness, they are denoted as A.com, C.com and G.com. Then, the study of Indonesian SMEs websites is also conducted. The excerpt of the survey results is depicted in Table 2 and some discussions that follow.

Table 2. The statistics of Indonesian enterprises participating in e-marketplace websites.

Marketplace

Statistics of Indonesian Enterprises Participating in the Website

Website

Total of Indonesian enterprises: 5,697 (China: 59,731)

Statistics based on enterprise business type:

A com Manufacturer: 2449, OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) Service Offered: 1093, Buyer

Label Offered: 681, Design Service Offered: 629, Trading Company: 2131, Distributor/Wholesaler: 1879, Agent: 896, Other: 746, Association: 70

SMEs producing fashion and the related stuffs: 34.

Total of Indonesian enterprises: 3155 (China: 2510)

Statistics based on enterprise business type:

C com Agriculture: 577, Apparel: 183, Business services: 144, Chemicals: 214, Computer HW & SW:

114, Energy: 381, Fashion accessories: 37, Food and beverages: 483, Furniture & furnishing: 493, Gifts & crafts: 383, Luggage, bags & cases: 79, Textile & leather: 154, Shoes & accessories: 54.

SMEs producing and/or selling clothes and other related fashion stuffs: 40

Total of Indonesian enterprises: more than 1500 (this website does not provide statistics, the number is computed manually)

„ Some example of statistics for a few kinds of business type: G.com -K-

Handicrafts, gifts: 650, Textiles, Garment, Fashion Accessories & Footwear: 941, Gems & Jewelry: 153, Arts & Antiques: 153, Leather & Leather Products: 52, Furniture, Interior Decoration & Furnishings: 1342

It is shown in Table 2 that Indonesian enterprises including SMEs have been participating in global B2B e-marketplace websites. In C.com, the number of Indonesia enterprises even outnumbers China. It is also presented in the table that enterprises with various kinds of business type have been willing to go global ecommerce.

The survey with the intention to evaluate the SMEs companies' profile and websites were conducted using samples of SMEs having business type of fashion and its related. This is chosen because: (1) lots of enterprises

having this business are SMEs; (2) based on examining and comparing their products with the ones produced by competitors from other countries, Indonesian fashion SMEs are indeed able to produce unique products, such as fine Moslem apparels, tropical fashions, batiks and jewelry with local materials (woods, stones, sea-animal-sells, etc.).

Based on the evaluation conducted by the author, the problems related to Indonesian SMEs company profiles can be summarized as the following: (a) They profile is not seriously constructed; (b) Many are incomplete, brief, and contain few sentences only; (c) Many are un-professionally written and written with poor English, and the contents are not well-thought; (d) The systematic and format of the profile presentation are poor; (e) In general, most profiles are unattractive; (f) The contents do not highlight their business uniqueness; (g) Many of the profiles do not supply company websites URL, which can be regarded that the companies do not own company websites.

By evaluating the information of each product posted in the e-marketplace websites, the problems associated with products information are: (a) It is found that many SMEs do not prepare the product information well; the products information is incomplete, lacks of attractive pictures, presented with poor English such that the information is unclear; several SMEs also post same pictures for many different products; (b) Several product prices are un-attractive; (c) Some SMEs only post 1-3 products, which may lead to conclusion that the particular SMEs are "not real".

Many SMEs being surveyed in the e-marketplace websites already provide their company website URLs. However, after evaluating their websites, the problems found are: (a) Most of the company websites are written in Indonesian only and/or the content is written with poor English; (b) The menu/organizations and navigations are poor; the websites have lost pages or inactive pages and invalid/dead links; (c) Many websites are unattractive; (d) Although many products are available on the websites, no adequate search engine is provided; (e) Product descriptions are incomplete and no multimedia (such as video) content is available; (f) There are unclear pictures, pictures with too small sizes such that the detailed is unclear; (g) The websites do not provide detailed information products needed by buyers from other countries, for example, FOB price, minimum of order quantity are not provided.

3.2. Problems Identification

Based on the preliminary survey results, it can be concluded that Indonesian SMEs have been aware of the advantages of global B2B marketplace e-commerce websites and have been utilizing these in attempt to market their products abroad. In C.com, the members of Indonesian enterprises are even more than China enterprises. However, by looking at the clothing export statistics in 2009 provided by World Trade Organization (www.wto.org), where China is 34% and Indonesia is merely 1.9% of total worldwide exports, it is doubtful that the Indonesian SMEs have been successfully marketing their products abroad by using B2B e-commerce.

Some problems identified related to the use of B2B market place e-commerce website by Indonesian SMEs can be summarized as follows: (a) Lacks of seriousness, knowledge and expertise to build company websites that will attract buyers to inquiry products. (b) Lacks of seriousness and preparation in participating in B2B market place e-commerce websites: adequate efforts must be performed prior to posting company profiles and products in the B2B marketplace websites, such that the forms provided by the websites can be filled completely with valuable information to attract potential buyers; (c) Inadequate mastery of English: most SMEs still use poor English in presenting these; (d) Lacks of written communication skill: the survey results show that email and messaging are preferable in products inquiry communication. This means that once buyers are interested with products posted in the B2B marketplace and company websites, potential buyers will communicate with the SMEs intensively for digging more information related to products specification, possibly also products quality assurance, packing, shipping, and so on. Therefore, mastering written communication skill is very important in responding and convincing potential buyers. By considering the fact

that the Indonesian SMEs English mastery is inadequate and by further analysing the content of the SMEs websites as well as company profiles and products information, it can be concluded that many SMEs have inadequate written communication skill. This will hamper potential buyers in materializing product purchasing despite the facts that they are interested.

4. Recommendations

Based on the results of the literature study, preliminary surveys and problems identifications, the author propose two groups of recommendations, which are addressed to Indonesian SMEs and the government or associations or organizations intended to develop the SMEs.

4.1. Recommendations for Indonesian SMEs

In order to utilize global B2B marketplace websites effectively such that SMEs can market their products globally, the proposed stages are depicted in Figure 1 and the discussion of each stage is presented below.

Fig. 1. The stages of utilizing B2B marketplace websites.

(1) Prepare the SME organization to adopt e-commerce.

In aiming to market products globally, in essence, the B2B marketplace e-commerce websites can be utilized as tools to enhance the market (later on, if the marketing is successful the websites services may also be used to support purchasing transactions). Thus, if the SMEs are not indeed ready to market their products globally, the B2B marketplace e-commerce websites will not be useful.

With the assumption that SMEs already have products that are ready to be marketed globally, the first activity that should be performed is to strengthen the SMEs organization in attempt to support global products marketing using B2B e-commerce via the Internet. The efforts in strengthening the organization include: (1) Developing the communication skills of staffs using English; (2) Learning the behaviour of the international buyers in the Internet related to products offered; (3) Preparing staffs/divisions who would handle products inquiries, communicate with potential buyers and provide consultations electronically using various tools (instant messaging, email, teleconference, etc.); (4) Preparing an IT division, if necessary; (5) preparing staffs/divisions who would handle products export, and so on.

(2) Develop company website

Before becoming members and participating in B2B marketplace e-commerce websites, SMEs need to build their company websites. As a marketing communications tool, company websites (Laudon and Traver, 2011): (a) will extend online advertisements; (b) must have proper domain name that is distinctive and easily remembered/recognized by potential buyers; (c) should optimize the use of search engines such that the company websites will be easily found in the Internet. The necessary acts associated with this are: Register the websites with as many search engines as possible, ensure keywords used in site description match keywords likely to be used as search terms by user and link the website to as many other websites as possible.

In developing the websites, SMEs may use templates or patterns provided by providers. By using the

templates, SMEs only need to arrange the menus and fill the content for each menu. However, there are several criteria that should be met to effectively introduce the SMEs and market their products via company websites. The most important ones are:

(a) SMEs should start designing the websites from the point of view of potential buyers. It is important that when potential buyers are browsing the websites, they feel like "entering" the showrooms and have the impression that the particular SMEs are competent and master their business very well. The websites must be easy to use and demonstrate high degree of utilities or useful.

(b) The websites must be fully written in English or bi-lingual (Indonesian and English). The websites content must be free of grammatical mistakes and presented in eloquent English (or English and Indonesian, if the websites are in bi-lingual).

(c) The websites have to show the credibility of SMEs. The top factors that determine the credibility of websites are design look, information design/structure and information focus. (The result of surveys show that the rank factors in the credibility of B2C websites are design look (46%), information design/structure (28.5%), information focus (25.1%), company motive (15.5%) and information usefulness (14.4%) (Laudon and Traver, 2011). Therefore, SMEs must gather detailed data (including the multimedia ones) and prepare the textual content prior to filling the websites content.

(d) While browsing the websites or thereafter, the potential buyers should feel that they can easily contact the SMEs. Some contact information that should be provided are email, real-time messaging, phone and fax number and complete address and location of the SMEs with map and GPS coordinate if necessary.

(e) While the website organization is important for first-time visitors, information content becomes major factor for attracting potential buyers' further visits (Laudon and Traver, 2011). It is therefore very important to focus on the content and, if it is necessary, the website should also provide multimedia content (such as downloadable document, figures and video describing the products offered). It would also be better if the websites provide more information than the competitors' websites.

(f) The websites must be thoroughly tested before being launched. No "dead link" should exist. All menus and functions must work properly, the content which can be presented in text, pictures, document, audio or video must be able to be displayed or shown accordingly.

(g) The domain (URL) of a website is important. It must be easy to remember. Therefore, before registering the desired domain, any SME must choose the domain carefully.

It is advised to get professional help if the SMEs have no staffs qualifying for developing company websites.

(3) Join or become members of B2B marketplace websites

Successful B2B marketplace websites usually provides services as follows: (a) Free membership with limited services. This service can be used by SMEs to test whether their products are indeed attractive to global buyers. If SMEs receive inquiries from potential buyers and then find that this membership is benefited, later they can upgrade to premium or even gold members to get more benefitted services from the B2B marketplace websites; (b) Filling out company profiles using the form that has been designed by the websites; (c) Posting products (for free members, it is limited to certain number of products); (d) Reviewing products information and giving feedbacks to the members of how to improve the information; (e) Receiving and replying email associated with product inquiries; (f) Providing online consultations.; (g) Under some circumstances, offering to connect members to potential buyers.

Other services may be offered as well, such as creating business card for the SMEs management.

In joining the B2B marketplace websites, SMEs must first register as the websites members. After becoming the members, two important activities that must be performed are:

First, filling out the company profile form. Since the form was designed by experts, the forms contain items that are necessary to introduce SMEs to potential buyers, such as company name, address, business type, category of products produced, production capabilities, certifications, financial profile, company logo, detailed information or description and the URL of the website. It is important that SMEs fill the form as complete as

possible and highlight some information of important aspects of SMEs with the intention to impress potential buyers.

Second, posting products onto the website. B2B marketplace websites classify products (and services) in hierarchies (e.g. two to three levels of hierarchy). At the top level is the most general classification of products (such as agriculture, apparel, energy, fashion, etc.) and at the bottom of the hierarchy is the most detailed one. In posting products, users have to select product classification from the top to the bottom, then, a form for the particular product will be displayed and users can fill out the form. The items (that must be filled by users) contained in the form of a class of product differ from one to another, which indicates that the information provided for a class of product (e.g. belt) is unique and should be different with other class of products (e.g. tractors). Several recommendation for SMEs in filling the product forms: (a) Since the B2B marketplace website have provided standard forms (which were designed by experts) with the aim to help users to provide the necessary and important information for their products, it is necessary that SMEs fill out the form accordingly and as complete as possible; (b) In filling the products description, eloquent and error free grammatical English must be used; (c) If it is allowed to provide pictures, SMEs should upload high quality and clear pictures that show the uniqueness as well as the quality of the products; (d) In essence, it is necessary to focus with the product information such that from the point of view of potential buyers, the information will be regarded as interesting and valuable.

(4) Communicate effectively via electronic media

Based on surveys conducted in China, it is reported that customer interaction techniques used to communicate in purchasing material are as follows: Verbal (phone or in person) is 27%, paper (mail or messenger) is 45%, fax is 95%, computer connected in network (any method) is 40% (Keifer , 2005). This means that the manual techniques still dominate most customer interactions. On the other hand, the methods of computer-based customer interactions used when companies receive material request through computer are: By email is 45%, by customer website is 35%. Therefore, communicating via email in products purchasing is preferable.

If the company profile, products posted in the B2B marketplace websites and the SME websites have been successfully attract potential buyer such that they inquiry products, the next important activity is communicating with the potential buyers effectively using various electronic communication tools such as instant messaging, email, electronic document, and so on. Based on the author experiences in dealing with many international potential buyers, though, at the early stages of communications, email is preferable. Potential buyers will inquiry products via email. Most of communications thereafter are also conducted using email and electronic document and data (including pictures) exchange. Therefore, some recommendations will be presented on how to communicate effectively using email and document/data exchange.

The first email coming from potential buyers may contain inquiries of product FOB (freight on board) on certain ports price for the products, delivery time, product specific ingredients, and so on. In responding to the email, it is advised to read the email carefully, "listen and understand the needs" of the potential buyers and to find out what drives them to inquiry products. If these are unclear, it is advised to respond carefully, explaining what has been understood and asking them to refine their questions. Some more detailed information of the product (highlighting the uniqueness and quality) may be sent (possibly by sending leaflets or pictures). In writing the email, eloquent English should be practiced. The email must also be systematic and clear. The capability and knowledge of the SMEs should also be demonstrated. For example, to respond to delivery time, several options should be presented (by air, by sea or by certain expeditions).

If the potential buyers are impressed with the first respond, they may send email again and again, asking many questions associated with the products of interest directly as well as indirectly (such as company site pictures, where the material of the products come from, the process of products manufacturing, quality assurance of the products, products customization, certifications, packaging, the delivery from the manufacture

to the port, freight forwarders, export documents, and so on). In responding to these questions, some research may need to be conducted, some computations may also be performed and some more facts may need to be gathered.

It has been known that product purchasing is based not only on price but also quality, service, capacity of the manufacturer, timely delivery, quality assurance, excellent communication, comfort level or special customization, etc. Therefore, as purchasing will be made for large quantities of products, the potential buyers will do extensive analysis before making decisions. At this marketing communication, which most are done via electronic media, the SMEs should help the potential buyers in performing analysis. In doing so, the staffs of SMEs must possess adequate written communication skill in English.

In essence, to support the electronic communication, SME staffs must: (a) Improve their writing and communication skills in English; (b) Have broad of knowledge related to products, product manufacturing processes, product material related, packaging, shipping and export/import; (c) Improve their skills in conducting research related to SMEs products and business area.

If the communication has been successful, the potential buyers may pay visit to the SMEs to clarify many things and possibly to perform initial purchasing transactions. These activities are no longer in the area of electronic commerce but fall into traditional commerce area.

4.2. Recommendations for the government or associations aiming to develop Indonesian SMEs

The survey results indicate that Indonesian SMEs have been aware of the presence and the advantages of B2B e-commerce and have been somewhat active in using the B2B marketplace websites. However, survey results also reveal that Indonesian SMEs have not had adequate knowledge and expertise in utilizing the B2B e-commerce effectively. To develop Indonesian SMEs, some recommendations for the government and associations are presented below: (a) Conduct trainings and educations related to adopting B2B e-commerce including how to develop company websites, joining B2B marketplace e-commerce and using electronic media to communicate; (b) Conduct trainings and educations of how to communicate effectively (using electronic media) with potential buyers or international traders; (c) Provide consultations and assistance of how to adopt e-commerce effectively; (d) Provide adequate ICT infrastructure such that e-commerce can be adopted by Indonesian SMEs.

5. Conclusion

Indonesian SMEs have been aware of the advantages of B2B marketplace e-commerce and thousands of them have been participating in global B2B marketplace websites. Unfortunately, most SMEs have not practiced appropriate techniques in using the websites that could lead to go global successfully. Some efforts must be conducted by Indonesian SMEs to develop themselves such that they are ready and succeed to go global by adopting e-commerce. The government and associations may help in developing SMEs as well by providing training and consultations.

Some recommendations associated with SMEs development such that they can adopt global B2B marketplace e-commerce have been presented. As the recommendations are formulated based on the preliminary research, they may need improvement. For future research, survey involving sample of SMEs should be conducted to gather facts directly from the SMEs. The facts then can be analysed and more thorough recommendations can be formulated.

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