June 14 2019:

Technological advancements and the rise of e-commerce have revolutionized the way we do business. We must recognize that e-Commerce is the way! The traditional brick and mortar retailers must join the e-commerce revolution.”

said Senator the Honourable Paula Gopee-Scoon, Minister of Trade and Industry on Thursday 13 June, 2019 at the Supermarkets’ Association of Trinidad and Tobago’s Forum themed “Survival of the Micro to Medium Enterprises in Today’s Retail Sector: Navigating a new norm”.

Noting that local businesses have begun to the utilise e-Commerce in their operations as they change the retail landscape in Trinidad and Tobago, the Trade Minister called for greater adoption and investment by retailers. She said “many firms are lagging behind in adopting digital technologies mainly due to lack of investment in complementary knowledgebase assets, such as Research & Development, human resources, organizational changes and business process reengineering. Supermarkets, groceries and retailers must adapt to this new environment if they are to survive”. She also called on businesses to invest more in customer service training for lower level staff which governs the customer experience if brick and mortar businesses wish to have continued success. Minister Gopee-Scoon acknowledged that the Government was committed to helping businesses adapt to the new normal which is technology driven.

Minister Gopee-Scoon identified the implementation of the National e-Commerce Strategy, an initiative currently being undertaken by the Ministry of Trade and Industry. The National e-Commerce Strategy will benefit the Retail sector by providing the necessary training and technical capacity for firms to go online and market their goods and services. She announced that in collaboration with exporTT Limited, a series of training sessions will be hosted, commencing July 2019, aimed at new and existing Micro and Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) which will focus on topics such as: “How to go Online” and “How to Market your Good/ Service Online”. These will be done by offering one-on-one training with experts in these areas.

Mr. Rajiv Diptee, President, Supermarkets’ Association of Trinidad and Tobago in addressing the audience which included over 160 retailers, manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, importers and wholesalers, encouraged them to utilise the forum as an opportunity to determine meaningful solutions to take real strides that will help the industry adapt to the new norm. Mr. Diptee gave the commitment of the Association to work with the Government for the betterment of the sector and the national welfare.