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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
- It is time to change our mental structures as human beings to understand that we are all one and that we depend on others, for this reason empathy and solidarity are two values that must prevail forever.
The pandemic has represented many challenges for small and medium-sized companies (SMEs), all these events have led them to adapt and create new habits that include new technologies and sales through digital channels.
CONTPAQi, an electronic invoicing company, is aware of the challenge that adapting to the new reality has implied for SMEs and that is why from July 20 to 24 it organized a congress through videoconferences in which the points were presented from the point of view of various personalities in business, communication, tax regulation, marketing, human resources and innovation issues, all of the above in order to mitigate this complicated situation they are experiencing and strengthen their capacity to face new challenges.
The event called Profit has been held for the fourth consecutive year, but this is the first time virtually. Issues related to the crisis were addressed as a driver for the digital evolution of SMEs, on cybersecurity as well as the impact of the new reality on economic structures and the traditional culture of business productivity.
Think different to get different results
René Martín Torres Fragoso, general director and co-founder of CONTPAQi, indicates that today one of the most important challenges is not only technological innovation, since many of the technologies that we currently use already existed for years, rather it is innovation mental and administrative, the most relevant change is not that of companies or consumers but of oneself, to think differently to obtain different results.
“We organized a congress through videoconferences from Monday to Friday with consultancies that had to do with post-COVID management, what is going to happen with your company, with your organization, with your collaborators, with different topics. For example a motivational issue because they need to be motivated, one does not see when they return to the new normal, then how to give positive messages (to the collaborators) that everything is going to be fine in the end we are all going to get ahead and Everything is going to be fine, ”Torres says.
Solidarity and empathy, two important factors for a true transformation
Faced with complex moments full of uncertainty, René Torres conveys the message that solidarity and empathy are two elements that must be kept in mind.
“The message I want to say is that the world has already changed, also business because each time they are being digitized in an important way, but the most relevant thing is not that the world changes or that your company changes, the most important thing is that you change, us, the people, the human beings, that we change our approach and that we realize that today a virus can end the human race. What requires the solidarity and empathy of people to realize how fragile we are ”, expressed Torres.
The executive says that today is the time to change our mental structures as human beings to understand that we are all one and that we depend on others, for this reason empathy and solidarity are two values that must prevail forever. Likewise, it encourages those who need it to help as much as possible.
At the event inspiring lectures were presented for both personal and professional development by entrepreneurs, accountants, businessmen and even students, interested in having a greater knowledge of accounting.
In the tax area, a talk was held about the causes of why the SAT can suspend the Digital Seal Certificate (CSD), in the same way about the appropriate process to expedite the solution to problems. In the same way, related issues were discussed regarding regulations and technical standards to have the new complement of electronic platforms.
Among the speakers who shared their views and knowledge are: CONTPAQi’s tax consultant, Benito Barragán. As well as the journalist Jesús Silva-Herzog, the Israeli consultant Mohanda AH Al-Madi, and the former Secretary of Health, José Ángel Córdova Villalobos, spoke about the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic.
To continue helping small entrepreneurs, this company launched Wopen. Here I explain a little more in depth what this initiative is about.
What is Wopen and what does it work for?
“Wopen is this initiative that we have been working on since 2019 in order to provide – especially micro-small businesses – the ability to have a virtual store and we believe that electronic commerce is now vital for companies, I say this was before the pandemic, to be inserted in the world through digital transformation. One of the first processes that must be digitized is your relationship with customers through an ecommerce platform. Wopen means We Are Open ”, explains Torres.
The application was launched on July 7, 2020, Torres claims that they took great care of the launch date so that the numbers were repeated 2020/07/07. One of the main objectives is to be able to have a free platform for users who have a Premium Commercial application and thus be able to offer them an outlet to the Internet.
“Today due to the pandemic, it was still vital because if your physical store is closed, at least because of your virtual electronic store on a platform that can continue to operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year”, Torres points out.
That said, they released two versions, a free one that has a series of very complete characteristics and a charged version that is the plus, since it has additional properties such as the fact that you can choose the template of your store, that is, How your business will look in the plus version, you select and accommodate it, customizing it to your liking with your own layout . While the standard version is free and goes with the Premium commercial applications, there you adjust to a single format of presenting information, in this way they are dedicated to a B2B and B2C relationship to facilitate transactions.
Another benefit of using Wopen are:
Considerable reduction in implementation and development time to have, in one hour, an online store ready to use.
E-commerce platform with free plan for life.
Cost reduction in implementation and development, compared to other similar solutions that are priced between 10 and 15% higher.
Greater profit in sales, with a preferential rate, in the services of the “Envíoclick” platform.
Digitization and automation of commercial processes with the bidirectional integration with CONTPAQi Comercial Premium from the free version.
Customer service, at no additional cost, with an online chat.
“With Wopen we want SMEs to undertake a digital transformation, to use technology to better adapt to changes in consumer behavior, which are related to what the customer wants and needs today,” adds René Torres Fragoso
The executive highlights that having an electronic store is only part of the solution, since the product is the complement and the most important thing for a merchant is the location, in this case the Internet. It is not only about having your store, but about generating traffic so that users can reach you.
“We train all our distributors -around 500- with a diploma in digital marketing with the idea of preparing them so that they, in turn, can advise their client on the decisions they must make to generate that traffic to the store successfully ”Mentions Torres.
He also points out that by setting up a virtual store, you have the possibility of increasing sales, simply by being on the Internet, obviously generating traffic.
“According to the Mexican Society of Online Sales, companies that set up a virtual store on the Internet increase their sales by around 19%, simply because of that presence, obviously generating that traffic. The first thing about an SME is that it transacts with its current clients and through the generation of traffic with new clients who are the ones that generate this growth in sales ”, explains Torres.
With this in mind, it is important to generate traffic to virtual stores so that they can increase their sales and also obtain more customers.
“As a result of the pandemic, it is calculated through the Mexican Society of Online Sales that electronic commerce will grow around 60%, that is, more and more sales by digital means than by physical means. Each time it is covering a greater percentage, online sales now represent around 15% of the total sales made in Mexico, but it has an annual growth of 60% and that is quite significant ”, says Torres.
About 30% of Mexicans already made transactions through the Internet. Now, the number of people who made a digital transaction increased to 50%. That means that the additional 20% are from people who for the first time entered an Internet page and made some type of purchase through this digital medium and these are very positive numbers for Mexico since it puts us on the path of digitizing the Business.
From the above, he emphasizes that both versions of their platforms are aimed at micro, small and medium-sized companies that want to have a space on the Internet with benefits of payment and shipping gateway with the possibility of choosing the courier company that transfers their products, be it Estafeta, FedEx, etc., Also, on the domain issue, you can have your own in the plus version which gives your store greater presence, unlike the standard, where the domain depends on Wopen.
In both versions, standard and plus, they coexist in a market place , which is equivalent to a shopping plaza, so Wopen seeks to attract traffic to your business through digital marketing. However, each store has the responsibility of making the digital marketing strategies that it deems appropriate – always accompanied and supported by its distributor – to generate its particular traffic in order to be very successful.
The choice of the platform will depend on your needs, since the free one has a limit on the number of products, while the charged one is unlimited. In both versions, no type of transaction fee is charged, in the case of the plus there is a single annual payment without any kind of restriction in transactions and with payments through credit card, the commissions generated by the processor payment does not go to Wopen, because they do not charge for the type of payment.
Results obtained so far
A great acceptance of the platform has been reported by its existing clients and those who are training in the digital marketing strategy. They have chosen to try the free version to have a better understanding of it.
“We have more than 200 stores installed since July 7 and this is growing week after week. As the platform is known, the advantages and benefits are seen, as each time they go up more and more and more. We expect that by the end of this year we will have around 10,000 stores already uploaded in our marketplace and of which we expect 25% to be standard and 75% to be a plus version ”, commented the businessman.
Very dramatic changes have occurred in the aspect of the consumer, the executive calls them “prosumers”, since they are now professional consumers. Previously, making a price comparison was almost impossible and tiring, it took a long time to do it in physical stores. Now, with digital stores, doing this task becomes simpler and faster, almost instantaneously, saving travel and making the purchase decision more informed.
Therefore, today it is very important that all SMEs are present in virtual media, which allows them to carry out transactions 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If your client enters the Internet, looks for you and cannot find you, it is most likely that he will look for another provider and lose your client.
That said, all those entrepreneurs, whether micro, small or medium, have the responsibility of making their conversion and uploading their products to the Internet, through a platform like Wopen and in this way have a presence on the Internet and begin to transact with your customers automating and digitizing from the beginning of the transaction. Keeping this in mind, it becomes a faster and more agile action, avoiding what happened in the physical world with telephone orders or through emails that slowed down the process.
Currently, to accelerate business cycles through the platforms, the sale is made at the time the customer places their order. Subsequently, the invoice is generated, the product and the invoice are sent digitally, therefore, the commercial cycle is shorter and more effective, generating greater wealth and prosperity through its electronic commerce platforms.
“There are estimates from the Bank of Mexico that speak of a decrease in the Gross Domestic Product of 10%, which is brutal that the economy decreases by 10%, it really is very dramatic, we already saw the INEGI figures this quarter the Mexican economy decreased 18.9% and that means the mortality of companies and this mortality of companies means the loss of millions of jobs, at most millions of jobs does not say anything, but when you translate it to millions of families who are left without an income, now we do it makes all Mexicans think ”, adds Torres.
For this reason, the entrepreneur considers that the Wopen platform in its two versions is essential for all entrepreneurs and companies developing in electronic commerce. If you want to continue existing in this digital world, you have no other alternative to respond to changes in the consumer, who has been transformed throughout the pandemic, since that segment of consumers who resisted buying online because they thought it was unsafe and he felt vulnerable to identity theft, his money or any other problem, now he is totally convinced of the benefits of virtual purchases. For example, there are already many more security elements that try to protect consumers and that helps to make Internet transactions increasingly secure. There are also different payment methods, from credit card, deposit and that helps to have greater ease.
“All our clients that have the platform of the premium commercial product is a software that manages your inventories, your clients, your accounts receivable, your accounts payable, etc., because all they need is a click and that’s it, and at any day and time they will have all their products uploaded to their online store. So, it is not so far from having your electronic store, as one click and you start selling, that has been part of our success, it is because it is very easy to assemble your products on the platform ”, says Torres.
It is really simple, since it comes preconfigured and thus makes the work easier for the end user. In this way, they want to give access to millions of SMEs in Mexico so that they can continue to transact, not only in Mexico but in the world, for this reason they included shipping gateways so that they can send their products anywhere.
Short and long-term plans that your platform has
“There are always plans to continue growing. For example, connect it with Facebook, since it is important to link it with your social networks. Nowadays, you have to help companies to sell and continue selling. However, it is relevant to charge what you already have. They sold, because in the case of doing it through credit in a B2B relationship, that is, business to business. At cost they will release an application that is a collection platform that is paired with Wopen, what it does is automate this entire process and depersonalize it , since it is extremely difficult to collect, since it requires a lot of character. “I call those who charge, they are well charged,” says Torres spontaneously.
Taking the above into account, the collection platform has the advantage of being fully automatic in terms of sending account statements, payment notices, and collection. For example, everything is handled through emails, messages, WhatsApp. Like credit and collection policy agreements, it depersonalizes this hard work.
“We have detected that with this collection platform up to 30% more outstanding collections are recovered, thereby improving the liquidity of companies. We have realized, I say it seems a joke, but it is very true that many times companies do not pay because they do not charge them. This is the premise: If you don’t charge me, I won’t pay you. What they need is a call, a reminder message of the bill and soon they pay ”, explains Torres.
The importance of detecting the customer’s need
René Martín Torres Fragoso concludes that it is truly simple, Wopen is a product that is already in the cloud and is preconfigured in this way, they facilitate the work of the end user. It continues to remind us that the Mexican distribution channel is undergoing a constant transformation based on the needs of consumers.