Flashback: Business owners catch on to lure of the web

By Nilar Win, Myanmar Times August 9 – 15, 2010 COMPANIES in Myanmar are playing catch-up when it comes to website design, several industry sources said last week. While the websites of companies and government ministries are lower in quality than regional competitors, that’s starting to change, said Ko Pyo Min Min, the director of Media Lane Agency. Ko Phyo Min Min has worked for eight years in web architecture and online design. His skills have been utilised by international companies including IBM Australia, Palm Mobile Computing and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). He says local businesses are increasingly aware of the role that websites play in attracting customers, even if online banking or payment services are not available yet. “Some local business owners realise that their websites will be essential in the future,” he said. “Those businesspeople who travel abroad a lot and experience online marketing elsewhere know the importance of online marketing. When they return to Myanmar they try hard to find customers through creative websites,” he said. Ko Phyo Min Min said he educates clients about web design while he crafts their sites, and emphasises the importance of snagging customers quickly. “A good first impression is essential. The website should send a clear message to a customer about the business immediately,” he said. Ko Ag Zaw Htwe, the general manager of Yangon Online Store (www.yangononlinestore.com), said he launched the business three months ago. For him, creating a good first impression is particularly important because there is no shop to rely on. “The business and website was launched three months ago and many people have already indicated an interest in our service. About 5000 people visited our site this month,” Ko Ag Zaw Htwe said. “Yangon Online Store is not an online shop because we don’t sell things online. Instead, we advertise products from elsewhere and if somebody approaches us, we purchase that item for them,” he added. Ma Christie, who was a famous model in Myanmar prior to moving to Australia, is trying to crack into the fashion industry with her “Christie & Blay” label. She hired Media Lane Agency to design her website but has also opened a shop in Yankin township. For her, an attractive online presence is a more efficient shopping experience for customers and businesses than a trip to a physical store. “We can save time and effort by shopping online. We can do our shopping there [in Australia] without going to a shopping centre, with online payments. I don’t really know much about the condition of the online marketing and banking sector in Myanmar but I understand that nearly every business will need their own website in the future,” Ma Christie said. Ko Phyo Min Min said that an attractive website on its own isn’t enough – it must be updated regularly as well. “Websites must be active – they must be updated every time a new product or service becomes available. To do that you must employ staff who know how to do that who and are in charge of maintaining the site,” Ko Phyo Min Min said. Media Lane Agency offers four website development packages ranging in price from K299,000 to K2.49 million to establish a site and manage it for one year. Ko Phyo Min Min said that for the industry to continue to develop it must build up its human resource capacity. He said he is running a training school to share his knowledge with other local web developers but added that those who want to make it in the industry must have some important qualities. “A professional web developer must have critical thinking ability, a sense of design and should have strong English-language skills in order to self-study.” Source: http://www.mmtimes.com/2010/business/535/biz001.html
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