Retail in Asia

In Trends

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW with Kevin O’Kane: all businesses are online businesses


Retail in Asia joined Growing with Google APAC Press Event 2018 in Singapore.

Google representatives provided an overview on how today’s connected world is the result of a digital transformation, which enables anyone with a smartphone to build a business and reach an audience of billions worldwide.

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The focus was on mobile as all over the world, especially in developing countries, smartphones are usually the first device available to anyone.

Smartphones and all digital device host ecosystems that spread benefits across users, creators, publishers, developers, and businesses. Billions of people search for goods to buy through smartphones, and businesses use those platforms to optimize their reach out and make people’s life easier.

Google presented the wide range of solutions available for different business stakeholders: small businesses to connect with consumers; content creators to reach larger audiences; publishers to monetize their content and promote themselves; developers to connect to billions of people in a booming global app economy.
Businesses of all types can use the Cloud to increase productivity of their teams and the efficiency of their services.

Karim Temsamani, President, Google Asia-Pacific, discussed the interconnected relationships between different groups such as consumers, advertisers and partners like app developers and hardware manufacturers.”

Retail in Asia met Kevin O’Kane, Managing Director, Google Marketing Solutions, Asia-Pacific, for a brief interview. Kevin O’Kane joined Google in June 2011 to lead the small and medium business across Asia Pacific. He has more than a decade of experience in building businesses and leading successful organizations across the region.

Kevin pointed out how any business requires an online presence and how Google is providing each and any business with solutions to make it easier.

The focus of the interview was on emerging markets in Asia-Pacific and Vietnam in particular. Vietnam has been rapidly growing in the past few years, and there has been a proliferation of small businesses, which have been gaining popularity locally, but still not digitized enough to go regional, and why not, global.

Kevin opened the interview with a statement: “All businesses are online businesses, despite the nature of business or sectors, they all have the potential to be online and can benefit from that”. This comes from the fact that all businesses will target eventually the tech-savvy generation that in countries like Vietnam is destined to grow and represent the purchasing power in the next couple of years to start with.

Kevin mentioned The Coffee House, a small business in Vietnam that starting from social media and website has become a successful concept in whole country and going global.

Google has a global policy to support small businesses across the world, and it also includes a series of free tools to start the online presence, from opening a google page for telephone number and address, to build a website.

In a world, which is mobile-first, as Kevin pointed out, businesses, especially in the emerging markets, have to consider that users are not mobile-first, but sometimes mobile-only, therefore it is necessary to build their presence on smartphone device first.

The first tool to leverage is Google maps, with store locators and essential information, as Google is the first destination for internet users to search for businesses, therefore, all businesses should be there, even just to let users to know about their existence.

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Google started as a search engine. But today its aim is to provide platforms with a “growth engine” for other companies. The whole business rests on keeping the ecosystems an open, safe, and trustworthy place where businesses can innovate and grow.

The day ended with a tour of Google Singapore office, designed to match Google values.