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ecommerce Government Grants for business omnichannel

The 7 FAQ about Productivity Solution Grant (PSG) for SME client

eCommerce is one of the pre-approved solution listed on PSG grant portal.

Most small-medium enterprises (SMEs) in Singapore looking for IT solutions will or would already have come across the Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG), especially those looking for eCommerce solution providers. However, with so many sites offering different information, it can be confusing for any SME business owners in approaching this topic.

With up to 70% funding support, PSG serves as an avenue for companies to support companies keen on adopting IT solutions and make long-term technology investments to enhance business processes.

Other than sector-specific solutions, PSG also supports the adoption of solutions that cut across industries, such as in areas of customer management, data analytics, financial management, inventory tracking, and most importantly, eCommerce solutions in Singapore. 

As part of our duty in becoming an IMDA-approved vendor for PSG grant, we’ve decided to help SMEs in Singapore to better understand this additional support from the local government.

Without further ado, here are 7 of the most frequently asked questions under the Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG): 

Q1: What are the documents required for companies to be able to apply for the Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG) successfully?

Every official application requires supporting documents. For the PSG application, you’ll require the following documents:

  1. a Purchase Order or signed acceptance of Quotation/ Contract,
  2. an invoice,
  3. screenshots showing the company’s name and the name of IT solution,
  4. licence number(s) of software with a minimum of one-month usage report,
  5. receipt or copy of cheque payment and
  6. bank statement showing the payment. 
Q2: Can I claim for IT solutions before the application date under the Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG)? 

Definitely, no. Any IT solutions claimable under the Productivity Solutions Grant must only be paid after the application date.  The application must be made before the signing of the invoice/quotation/engagement letter with the solutions provider, payment to the solutions provider and commencing of any work for the project. Paid and claim is consider Retro claim which is a violation stated on the PSG terms.

Q3 Who is eligible under the Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG)?

If you’re an SME registered and operating in Singapore with a minimum of 30% local shareholding and looking for IT solutions such as our eCommerce website development, You’re eligible for the PSG.

For start-ups with less than 6 months of operating period, you can still apply for the PSG but it will be subjected to the Enterprise Singapore (ESG)’s assessment.

Q4: What are the payment terms accepted? When can I claim my expenses under the PSG? 

A: Most of the usual business payment terms are accepted for the PSG claims, such as cheque and bank transfer. 

For credit card payments, the owner of the card has to be the sole proprietor, or in the case of corporate entities, there has to be an official document stating that the expenses incurred were by the company and not of a personal nature. Reimbursements to the director/individual who has paid using their credit card will have to be shown as well.

The claims must be submitted after the solutions are used and expenses are fully paid for; and before the 13th-month mark after approval for purchases and 7th-month mark after the approval for hire purchases, subscriptions or leases.

Q5: Is there a cap to the number of packages or applications for each SME? 

You can apply for more than one solution under the PSG but the deployment location of each solution must differ. 

For applications supported by Enterprise Singapore (ESG), there is also a grant cap of $30,000 for each business entity between 1 April to 31 March of every year. 

Be sure of the solutions you need each year before you jump into it!

Q6: Can the quotations from vendors be modified to add or include extra complimentary items/services? 

Unfortunately no. As much as we love to customise the quotation to fit every customer, the quotation may not differ from the packages we submitted for the Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG). Differing non-approved quotations will be rejected. 

Additional items must be quoted separately and amendments to the packages must be approved again by the IMDA. 

Q7: Can the pre-approved vendor submit the application for me?

We would love to but regrettably,  all submissions must be made by the organisation themselves.

Not to worry, our sales representatives are more than happy to guide you through the process. 

Hopefully, some of your questions were answered above, if not feel free to contact our sales team to inquire whether you’re eligible for this grant.

As an IMDA-approved eCommerce website design agency ourselves, we’re confident that we can support your business needs for the best value at a subsidised rate. 

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ecommerce Government Grants for business omnichannel pos hardware pos software

The 3 Government Grants design for Singapore Retailer (Latest)

Singapore government grant available to help SME to increase productivity and save cost.

The universal rule applied whether you are a startup SME or multi-national corporation (MNC).

Maximise profit and minimise Cost

Most company focus on maximise profit and overlook on how to save money. First thing that come into your mind about cost saving is probably tighten up spending. If you are a local businesses, the good news is that you can leverage on the government grants available in the market to help you save cost. 

The perk as Singapore retailers, you have as many as 10 different types of government grants cater for start up, local companies or partnership programs when you broaden your territory oversea.

Amongst all, we have shortlisted the top 3 important grants that you should pay attention to.

The Top 3 Government Grants for Retail Business

  1. Productivity Solution Grant (PSG)
  2. Enterprise Development Grant (EDG)
  3. Market Readiness Assistance Grant

1. Productivity Solution Grant (PSG)

Grant objectives

PSG grant aims to support local companies with adoption of IT solutions and equipment to enhance business processes and increase productivity through automation.

Eligibility

  • The business entity must be registered in Singapore
  • Purchase/lease/subscription of the IT solutions or equipment must be used in Singapore
  • Have a minimum of 30% local shareholding (for selected solutions only)

Grant support

Up to 70% funding support, for companies making long-term technology investments

PSG is the most accessible grant scheme for retail business as retail industry is one of the key sector that government encourage to embark on digital transformation. Retail sector contributes up to $35 bil annually, from 21,000 establishments. You can get support from PSG when adopting eCommerce solution (eg. Shopify), Omni-channel POS System (eg. Vend), or integrated cloud accounting system (eg. XERO).

See the full list of supported solutions on Tech Depot

The application process for PSG is straight forward where you can find out the details step by step guide here.

Who should apply

Retailer who has yet to upgrade from the cash register system are likely to benefits from electronic POS System (ePOS) using PSG.

Unlike cash register systems, ePOS system such as Vend, is one of the recommended brand for managing multi-outlet retail business. The cloud based point-of-sale system enhance inventory management, customer engagement and giving real-time information which empower business owner to make strategic decision.

One great example is the multi-outlets fashion retailer, OMOSE who benefits from PSG grant to deploy Vend Retail Management System to all his outlets, integrate with Shopify eCommerce, XERO accounting software and enable Omni-channel Loyalty program at one go. The fashion retailer has since experience the cost saving, revenue increase with greater customer retention.

Solution Pricing

Singapore retailer can purchase Vend pre-approved package at $5100 and get subsidy up to $2670 to enjoy all the benefits that advanced IT system can benefits them. And they can purchase multiple packages up to $30,000 for retailers who has multiple outlets.


2. Enterprise Development Grant (EDG)

Grant objectives

EDG grant is design for company that has already transform with basic digital solution such as POS System or accounting system to strengthen the business foundation and further enhance and optimise the process for further scaling. You can regards that as “Phase 2” digital transformation.

The Enterprise Development Grant (EDG) helps Singapore companies grow and transform. This grant supports projects that help you upgrade your business, innovate or venture overseas, under three pillars:

Core Capabilities – Projects under Core Capabilities help businesses prepare for growth and transformation by strengthening their business foundations. These should go beyond basic functions such as sales and accounting.

Innovation and Productivity – Projects under Innovation and Productivity support companies that explore new areas of growth, or look for ways to enhance efficiency. These could include reviewing and redesigning workflow and processes. Companies could also tap into automation and technologies to make routine tasks more efficient.

Market Access – Projects under Market Access support Singapore companies that are willing and ready to venture overseas. You may tap into the EDG to help defray some of the costs of expanding into overseas markets.

Eligibility

  • The business entity must be registered in Singapore
  • At least 30% local shareholding
  • Be in a financially viable position to start and complete the project (Applications will be assessed by Enterprise Singapore based on project scope, project outcomes, and competency of the service provider.)

Grant support

The grant funds up to 70% of qualifying project costs namely third party consultancy fees, software and equipment, and internal manpower cost.

Related links


3) Market Readiness Assistance (MRA) Grant

Grant objectives

The MRA Grant aim to assists Singapore SME to expand their business to oversea and participate in activity such as market entry, or participation in a trade fair.

Eligibility

  • Business entity is registered/incorporated in Singapore
  • At least 30% local shareholding
  • Group annual turnover not exceeding S$100 million per annum based on the most recent audited report, or group employment not exceeding 200 employees

Grant support

Up to 70% of eligible costs, capped at 20K per company per fiscal year that covers

Related links

More good news

You can apply all these 3 grants together as they are not mutually exclusive. However, you should plan your resources well to maximize the outcome of the grants.

You can visit Business Grant Portal and start applying

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pos software

Amazon is Reportedly Developing a Hand-Scanning Payment Option

Amazon is reportedly developing checkout terminals that will allow shoppers to pay by scanning the palms of their hands.

That’s according to the Wall Street Journal, which cited people familiar with the matter.

Amazon did not respond to a request for comment.

The WSJ said Amazon is targeting the terminals, which link credit and debit cards to consumers’ hands, to coffee shops, quick-service restaurants and other locations that “do lots of repeat business.”

It also reported the platform is working with Visa to test the technology and is in discussions with Mastercard. Visa and Mastercard did not respond to requests for comment.

This follows a September 2019 story from the New York Post, which said Amazon was testing pay-by-hand scanners at vending machines in its New York offices and planned to roll out the payment option at some Whole Foods locations in early 2020.

A patent application dated Dec. 26, 2019 from Amazon Technologies, the company’s Mumbai-based electronic manufacturing arm, for a “non-contact biometric identification system,” describes a hand scanner, which can capture images of users’ palms with wrinkles and “deeper characteristics” like veins.

The document suggests applications in stores, libraries, hospitals and offices and notes it can be used in conjunction with point-of-sale devices.

“The user may present their hand to a scanner to provide an indication of intent and authorization to pay with an account associated with the identification data,” the application says. (It also says the scanners may be used in conjunction with robots to facilitate package deliveries.)

The news comes after similar efforts from Amazon to eliminate friction at checkout and push into financial services, including checkout-free Amazon Go stores, which now number 24 in four U.S. cities, and its Amazon Pay service, which is hoping to capitalize on consumers’ increasing willingness to pay with their voices.

Meanwhile, Chinese ecommerce platform Alibaba debuted similar smile-to-pay technology, which allows users to authenticate payments with facial scans, at a concept restaurant from fast food holding company Yum China in 2017.

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pos software

3 Retail Technology Trends to Watch in 2020

The dust has settled following the “retail apocalypse” of 2018, and the numbers reveal that retail’s radical transformation is more nuanced than we once thought. While headlines in early 2019 spelled the end of retail, data from IHL Group shows otherwise. In 2019, retailers announced 2,965 more store openings than closings.

Certain retailers led the charge and emerged from the 2018 retail slump stronger than ever. In evaluating why, this much is clear: merchants that are thriving are leveraging their technology investments to evolve how they interact with consumers. Today’s consumers arrive in-store looking for expertise and an experience, and merchants need to bring this to life with technology.

Those making technology investments that allow them to offer the new kinds of experiences today’s consumer wants out of a shopping trip will come out on top of the pack. In fact, IHL Group also revealed that the brands leading their segments are investing in technology at a rate 70 percent higher than their competitors. To keep pace with the industry and outrun the current market leaders, retailers must leverage their tech investments in new and innovative ways. Here are three technology trends retailers should watch closely in 2020.

Contactless Payments Hit Their Turning Point

Contactless payments have been growing rapidly around the globe, and in 2020, adoption in the U.S. will finally reach its tipping point. By the end of 2020, we expect 50 percent to 60 percent of credit cards to have contactless capabilities enabled. Most merchants have the technology in place to accept contactless payments, but that doesn’t mean adoption will happen overnight. The real challenge will be educating consumers on the benefits and opportunities of contactless, much of which will be tasked to the card companies and merchants themselves.

Prioritizing the implementation of contactless payment technology is less about adding a new payment option and more about empowering the consumer who wants fewer steps between entering a store and leaving satisfied. Contactless payments offer the quick and frictionless experience today’s busy shoppers want, and 2020 will be the year this changes from nice-to-have to non-negotiable for many U.S. consumers.

The Evolution of Mobile

The retail industry has been talking about mobile for years, but in 2020, retailers will have no choice but to incorporate mobile point of sale (POS) more creatively as consumer demand for it reaches its peak. Recent research shows that 45 percent of retailers consider mobile POS to be essential within their omnichannel strategy.

Mobile payment technologies can turn even a big-box store into a consumer experience focused on individualized service. Mobile POS devices can also help customers skip the line to complete a transaction, leaving them with a faster, more positive in-store experience.

Those using mobile creatively — be it Starbucks with its mobile app or restaurants with pay-at-the-table technology — are designing experiences that create more loyal customers.

Biometrics Become the Norm

Each day is bringing new biometric applications, most recently with Whole Foods testing human hand scans for payment. This trend will continue to gain steam in 2020, as payment methods that were once perceived as invasive are now seen as innovative and even more secure. Consumers are quickly becoming more comfortable with fingerprint scans and facial recognition, thanks to daily interaction with these biometrics on their smartphones. Merchants would be wise to take advantage of this new consumer acceptance when planning their 2020 strategies.

The popularity of biometrics will only continue to rise as other digital payment methods, like contactless and mobile, accelerate in the new year. Retailers that embrace these technologies in new ways in 2020 will set themselves up for continued success … even in the face of another “apocalypse.”

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pos hardware pos software

Modernizing the Retail store Infrastructure with cost consideration

Short-sighted retailers have under-invested in their in-store technology and are currently struggling with legacy IT infrastructures that are complex, expensive and outdated.

Retail executives must decide if patching their in-store infrastructures and sticking to what they know is the answer, or if it is best to rip and replace expensive in-store infrastructures and venture into the unknown. Many are discovering that it is possible to modernize existing in-store infrastructures and remain competitive for years to come – without breaking the bank. 

To uncover how retailers can best leverage the power of the software-defined store to reinvent their infrastructure and some questions to ask as below.

What pain points drive retailers to consider a software-defined store?

Today’s store IT infrastructure is complicated. Systems are thick-deployed, with device-level software/hardware compatibility concerns. As customers demand more, having to update both hardware and software is often time-consuming and cost-prohibitive. 

Some retailers face an impending deadline to overcome operating system end-of-life challenges (Windows 10 compatibility) with their existing point of sale, so the clock is ticking.

With the transformational speed of change within retail, it’s unclear what to invest in to modernize and stay ahead. Adding new innovations to inflexible systems is challenging. So, there’s a risk of buying the wrong thing and being stuck ― a flexible platform is key to survival.

Also, legacy systems are expensive to maintain. IT budgets are eaten up by maintenance and support, with nothing left to spend on innovation. Organic and acquisition growth is being compromised by the complexity of legacy store infrastructures when attempting to deploy systems into new stores.

What benefits can retailers achieve by implementing virtual servers?

Faster store acquisition and organic growth. A software-defined store architecture allows retailers to create a single software image of an existing store IT ecosystem and deploy it across new stores with minimal intervention. So, they can stand up new stores fast — without replacing hardware — significantly reducing costs.

There is less downtime for planned and unplanned maintenance. The software-defined store operates in a resilient architecture that reduces the impact of utility, hardware or software faults. A dual-edge server provides high availability for critical systems that didn’t have it before. 

Systems feature simplified issue identification and resolution. With virtualization, retailers can remotely monitor and resolve equipment issues with fewer interventions and expensive site visits. They can centrally and precisely control store IT across a large store estate. 

In addition, retailers enjoy reduced hardware purchase and ongoing maintenance costs. Virtualizing existing POS registers extends the life of existing hardware (by moving software applications and operating systems off the device and onto the virtualized server). This eliminates device-level hardware/OS compatibility issues, and can lead to measurably improved performance. When it’s time to upgrade hardware, retailers can buy lower-cost, “thinner” hardware. 

And finally, the solution increases staff productivity. With virtualization, a single device can access multiple systems. A cashier can switch between the POS and a back-office system without leaving the lane, or a manager could use an inventory tablet as a mobile POS during peak times.

A software-defined store architecture allows retailers to replicate the systems easily and much more scalable when expanding to more stores in the future.

Based on your experience, what advice can you offer retailers looking to get started?

Start by uncovering the biggest IT challenges they face in the stores to realize immediate benefits. Most often, these issues cause the biggest pain:

  • POS hardware/software/OS compatibility concerns
  • Reliability of critical systems needs to be improved 
  • Business processes that require specialized hardware (or multiple pieces of hardware) to accomplish a task

Retailers must understand that a software-defined approach isn’t about solving a single IT issue (like a POS upgrade) – it’s a fundamental strategy that benefits every IT project going forward. They should think about long-term IT operational efficiency gains. By remotely and centrally controlling store IT, retailers can significantly reduce the expense of IT teams to patch and fix store IT issues. 

We also think it’s important for retailers to understand the difference between traditional data center-focused virtualization and a system purpose-built for retail. Clients who are familiar with the data center systems are concerned that additional IT staff or virtualization expertise is required – but that isn’t true with our solution. We’ve designed the infrastructure to be self-maintaining, with security features built-in, and we’ve addressed things such as POS peripherals and retail system workloads. Understanding these differences is important to realizing the true value of a software-defined approach to retail.

What can retailers do to future proof their store systems?

Start with a flexible in-store infrastructure. It’s the key to everything else. Don’t “rip and replace.” Likely, the existing system works ― it just needs flexibility. By decoupling the hardware from software, and adding cloud-based API services, retailers can enhance what they have today and be able to innovate faster for tomorrow ― maximizing ROI all the way.