DNA on BFM: Senheng to take on e-commerce merchants

  • Electrical and white goods retailer confident of its value proposition
  • A. Asohan’s rant on startups that see themselves as special ones

DNA on BFM: Senheng to take on e-commerce merchantsIT is always great when you have someone about to do something that challenges conventional wisdom. And such are the times we live in now that a brick-and-mortar merchant with a 17-year history will be seen as being out of its depth if it tries to launch an e-commerce strategy.
The accepted wisdom seems to be that brick-and-mortar companies are not able to make the operational, cultural and strategic changes to their existing business to make a success of e-commerce.
So it was great interest that I and Freda Liu were discussing leading electrical and white goods retailer Senheng’s July e-commerce launch. I had spoken to the managing director of Senheng, Lim Kim Heng, who said it was going to leverage on its strengths as a traditional retailer and go with an O2O (online-to-offline) strategy.
Of particular interest to Liu was the bond that Lim decided on for his staff that went through a fully paid for MBA. How long or how short was it? And why did Liu suggest I invite Lim to speak at What’s Next? Have a listen to the podcast!
Our conversation about Senheng being a traditional merchant that is getting ready to face the disruption caused by digital provided a natural segue to DNA’s What’s Next: The Business Impact of Disruptive Technology conference, which has a brick-and-mortar focus.
Liu was intrigued with what Vincent Tan, founder and executive chairman of the Berjaya Corporation Group of Companies, will share when he speaks at What’s Next.
With Sharan Valiram of Valiram Group and Izzaddin Idris, group managing director of UEM Group, also speaking at What’s Next, the conference will have a very strong presence of brick-and-mortar businesses sharing how they are dealing with the disruption caused by digital.
Liu felt this was going to be more interesting than having tech company CEOs come and talk about digital disruption. I agreed. Wholeheartedly!
Speaking of Vincent Tan, his daughter, Chryseis Tan, has just become an angel investor through a Hong Kong-based shopping and fashion discovery startup Goxip.
Naturally, the rules go out the window when A. Asohan goes on a rant, and this time it was a familiar target – startups. He lists 28 points that are a mixture of observations, opinion and advice.
But the crux seems to be that, startups need to get off their high horses and stop thinking they are that special. Asohan lists a number of fields where special work is done by individuals with minimum fuss.
There was a lot to talk about in the show today and I think you will enjoy it, although BFM did get a SMS from an irate listener who felt I was not giving Liu enough time to contribute to the conversation. Both Liu and I agreed with him!
To listen to the podcast, go here or click on the link below:

Previous Instalments:
DNA on BFM: A tale of three marketplaces
DNA on BFM: Indonesia’s Telkom on the offensive
DNA on BFM: MaGIC’s incoming CEO revealed
DNA on BFM: Tune Talk’s Swag-ger, Grab’s bravado
Not quite your usual R&D path
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