Having colossal resource potential, Turkmenistan has made a giant breakthrough toward economic development for the years of independence. Today, the country successfully develops its economy opening new and modernizing existing industries.
The Concept of development of digital economy for 2019 – 2025 implemented in Turkmenistan is represented by the roadmap of technological transformation of all branches and formation of the economy of knowledge based on huge multidimensional potential of the country.
Advantages of digital technologies are obvious in this case and this Concept is organically integrated to adopted government programs and big economic projects. In this context, provision of common access to digital and mobile services is one of the main directions.
In modern conditions, digitization has a key to solution of numerous objectives of sustainable development. Market of digital technologies is one of the most growing and popular sector of occupancy among the youth in the world.
The fact that trade is an important engine of economic growth in Turkmenistan is obvious. The trade provides more than 10 percent of the GDP of the country. Important role in the aspect of digitization belongs to this sphere, which makes foundation for development of scientifically intensive and innovative solutions.
The Concept, which was initiated by the Head of the State, proposes implementation of number of integrated measures aimed at development of internet trading in general as well as at enhancement of competiveness of local producers.
Analysis of the main indicators of trade sphere reflects the currency of introduction of digital technologies. Thus, according to the State Statistic Committee, the growth rate of retail trade in the country was 19.4 percent in January – August 2020 comparing with the same period of the last year.
The share of the government sector was 7.8 percent while non-government sector – 92.2 percent in the structure of retail trade for 8 months of the year.
Retail trade facilities of the Ministry of Trade and Foreign Economic Relations had 45/7 percent in total volume of retail trade of the government sector of the economy in January – August. The growth rate of this indicator was 13.8 percent.
Same like in other branches of the economy, legal base has been established and permanently updated in national trade system for introduction of digital technologies to the management of wholesale and retail networks.
Based on the Laws of Turkmenistan on Protection of Consumer Rights, on Trading Activity, on Legal Regulation of Development of Internet Network and Provision of Internet Services in Turkmenistan, the Ministry of Trade and Foreign Economic Relations has developed and introduced the Rules of sale of goods by distant method this year.
It includes general provisions for establishment of distant trade including provisions related to advertisement, conclusion of sales agreements, delivery terms of product to consumer, consumer rights and other subject.
The above-mentioned rules are applied to legal entities regardless of organizational and legal form as well as to physical bodies – entrepreneurs, who carry out their activity without registration of legal entity.
The rules are not applied to entrepreneurs who enter into agreements, contracts and other deals in whole sale trade using electronic documents as well as to sale of products in vending machines, to relations followed from the agreements on distant procurement of products from oversea, purchase agreements, tenders.
According to the Rules, the following types of internet shops are permitted to operate in the country: internet shops as an additional platform for existing shop, internet shop selling products only from supplier’s store at request from the website only; internet shop having its own store, which sells products through website only.
At the same time, online shop may combine several types of trade (from the store and sale at request). The list of products, which are not allowed to be sold through online shops including alcohol, tobacco, nutrition products, audio and video, phonograms and other, has also been determined.
Sale of products from precious metals and stones is carried out in the order set by the legislation of Turkmenistan.
Legal entities and individual entrepreneurs selling good on remote basis including via online shops have to use electronic cash registers and provide opportunity to pay via payment terminals. The check has to be issued after the payment.
As of today, digitization of trade is significantly provided by change of the character and model of behaviour of modern consumer. This is stipulated by change of environment – rapid development of technologies, appearing of digital ecosystems and innovative business models.
At present time, the buyers appreciate more the comfort and eco-friendliness trying to save time and requests personal approach. They actively use digital technologies and various channels to receive any information. The growth of consumption is observed in Turkmenistan in general and the way to buy something becomes multi-optional. It leads to the necessity of changes in retail trade.
The practice shows that integrated approach in introduction such changes is the most effective. For example, it is appropriate not only to introduce the systems of calculation and analysis of consumers; behaviour but also to review the requirements for personnel and to increase work efficiency.
Use of digital technologies allows increasing the efficiency of operation activity and reducing the cost of products respectively making them more affordable at the market.
Therefore, two main trends – active application of modern technologies and deep analysis of audience, can be highlighted in digitization of national trading shere.
These tendencies are co-related – technological shopping facilities attract modern consumers, which are distinguished by their intent to develop, and addressed and more actual proposal is formed up based on comprehensive study of customers, their attention and movement. Digital systems allow shopping facilities accumulating information about customers, tracking the history of sales, analysing demand and remaining required for customers.
Four fundamental directions are identified in the sphere of retail trade today. These are work with customers including all steps from the interest to the brand to actual buying; provision of operational efficiency including efficiency of personnel, work with products, price tags, arrangement of goods on shelves, etc.; logistic and control of supplies; control of work of IT-infrastructure and security system.
Each representative of retail trade, same like any other branches of the economy, tries to achieve two main goals – increment of profit and reduction of expenses. Therefore, the majority of shopping facilities of Turkmenistan pays maximum attention to work with clients as this direction has direct effect on the growth of profit.
Today, managers of shopping facilities realize the importance of having full information about own client base as digital technology allows finding the spots with insufficient level of conversion of visitors to buyers, tracking results of marketing activities, accumulating statistical data in online mode and keeping the history of visits to each outlet for certain period.
Analysis of relative data is necessary to male personalized proposals for clients, which are targeted to their requirements, and to organize proper advertisement in shopping outlet.
Digitization in retail trade gives opportunity to optimize business processes and receive more information, which means to take more rational and grounded decisions and successfully compete both in local and foreign markets.
Today, the Centre of Computer Technologies opened under the Ministry of Trade and Foreign Economic Relations work on development of the program of electronic trade adapted to the system of the Ministry.
184 shops, which will be united by digital system allowing electronic monitoring of goods like delivery to stores and shopping outlets, volumes of sale and remains in online mode, are under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Trade in Ashgabat.
Using this system, specialists will have opportunity to receive information about provision of all shopping outlets of the network with various goods, to track their movement and make timely supplies to shops. Introduction of this technology will allow making electronic reporting on sale and settling payments with suppliers, controlling and managing the market more efficiently.
At the same time, special website with information about each shop including address, contact details, variety of goods including qualitative indicators, manufacturing date and place, packing, expiry date in Turkmen, English and Russian languages will be made for convenience of the clients.
The website will give opportunity to order the items with delivery, to receive additional information in question – answer format. This system gives opportunity to study the demand in local market and to analyse the trends.
Software support of digital trade is planned to be made by the organization specialized in computer technologies under profile Ministry. Introduction of new system is planned to be started from Ashgabat and to be spread across the regions in future.
According to the State Statistic Committee, the capital has the biggest share in retail trade (52.3 percent). The volume has increased by 19.4 percent comparing with January – August 2019.
Introduction of electronic trade system and new services for clients will support to improvement of work efficiency of personnel of trade sphere and quality of life of the citizens.
In addition, available information about local goods, truthful analytical data about sales will give impulse to the growth of competiveness of Turkmen producers and export potential of the country. Innovations in trade sphere will also support to development of digital economy in Turkmenistan.
According to the world Bank, digital economy is a complex of economic, social and cultural relations based on use of information and communication technologies.
In other words, digital economy is related to all members of the society – government structures, business companies, educational system and citizens. It gives own benefit to each of the above-mentioned categories and big additional opportunities for life and work.
In addition, the term “digital economy” reflects the ability to use technologies for fulfilment of objectives and participation in activity, which did not exist before. Such changes appear for existing organizations could work better and more efficiently, do something in different manner and receive something entirely new. These changes have been included to existing concept of digital transformation of society.
In general, having initiated the strategy of digitization of the economy of Turkmenistan, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov directs all establishments and ministries to global trends and expansion of multidimensional international cooperation.
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