Digital Tools and Approaches

How can technology help my business trade? 


Businesses that adopt new technologies are better positioned to seize opportunities in global marketplaces. Understanding consumer and business trends will also help you develop and sell the right products and services. New technology can help build more resilient and more efficient businesses, that can scale-up quickly. The adoption and use of mobile devices, social media, and cloud computing can reduce up-front investment costs and improve business management and marketing to reach customers worldwide. New technologies can also help your business trade by outsourcing services and building partnerships in supply chains essential for entering new markets.


What new technologies and digital tools can I consider for my business? 


Some examples of new technologies that can help your business become more competitive in global markets include:

  • 3D printing: If your business is in the manufacturing industry, using a 3D printer can help you innovate and develop new products quickly to satisfy your customer’s needs. 3D printing is also known as additive manufacturing andconsists of making three-dimensional solid objects from layering materials like plastics, composites, or biomaterials.
  • Cloud computing: Is a centralized location on the internet that stores data and information. Cloud computing uses a network of remote servers hosted on the internet to store, manage, and process data, rather than using a local server or personal computers. This can save businesses the cost of installing hardware and software, it can increase productivity and performance. Cloud computing also allows companies to easily set up e-commerce shops.
  • Digital platforms: These platforms are online infrastructures and networks that facilitate commercial interactions between suppliers and consumers. Some examples include e-commerce and social media websites that you can use to advertise your products and services, promote additional features, and offer payment options (see the Trade4MSMEs guide on selling abroad online).
  • Electronic payments: E-payments are payments for goods and services that users make electronically through digital platforms. E-payments can help your business to trade overseas because they save costs, provide security, and are convenient for collecting money transfers from customers.
  • Social media: This consists of websites and applications that facilitate information and content sharing. Some of the well-known social media apps are Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok. Your business can use social media tools to create customized webpages for reaching out to customers through online e-commerce sites and marketplaces.
  • Other technologies: Blockchain/distributed ledger technologies, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML) are other technologies that can offer opportunities for your business to grow and expand into global markets.

How can I learn more about useful technologies for my business? 


The SME Trade Academy is the online learning platform of the International Trade Centre, a joint agency of the United Nations and the World Trade Organization. With over 200 online courses on trade and trade-related topics, specifically tailored for learners in developing and least-developed countries. Courses that can help you learn more about new ways of doing business and trade through new technologies.


Links to Supporting Information


ITCs (International Trade Centre) SME Trade Academy ITC SME Trade Academy – Summary of Introduction to E-commerce  Course on introduction to e-commerce: This course showcases business opportunities in e-commerce and strategies for developing online sales channels.


ITCs SME Trade Academy ITC SME Trade Academy – Summary of Introduction to Supply Chain Management Course on Supply chain management : This course introduces methods that help businesses design a digital transformation roadmap.


ITCs SME Trade Academy ITC SME Trade Academy – Summary of Innovating for Success: A Guide for Entrepreneurs  Course on innovation for entrepreneurs: This course teaches entrepreneurs and business owners about the most relevant aspects of innovation and digital technologies.


ITCs SME Trade Academy  ITC SME Trade Academy – Summary of Introduction to Blockchain for Trade  Course on introduction to blockchain for trade: This course explains the role of blockchain in doing business through international trade.


ITCs SME Trade Academy ITC SME Trade Academy – Summary of Export Finance and Payments ( on Export Finance and payments 


What other resources should I look at? 


Microsoft What Is Cloud Computing? A Beginner’s Guide | Microsoft Azure  What is cloud Computing.


Trade4MSME guide  Selling Abroad Online


ITC ecomConnect – Calculator  a tool to calculate e-commerce costs amazon Etsy Shopify eBay.


Information Technology & Innovation Foundation ITIF ITIF Technology Explainer: What Are Digital Platforms? | ITIF


UNECE (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe) Trade Facilitation Implementation Guide United Nations Economic Commission for Europe


ITC SME Academy  ITC SME Trade Academy – Summary of Introduction to Blockchain for Trade


ITC ecomConnect  African Marketplace Explorer | ecomConnect African Market Place explorer


ITC  Latin America and the Caribbean Marketplace Explorer | ITC Latin American and the Caribbean Marketplace Explorer


ITC Living with the Genie Artificial Intelligence in Content Creation for Small Businesses in Trade


Google  Google Digital Academy and Analytics Academy ( and
  Understand the basics of machine learning – Google Digital Workshop


The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Training overview | ITU Academy

Businesses & Entrepreneurs

Find a concise overview of key aspects of international trade for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises with our Businesses & Entrepreneurs Guides.

Policymakers & Researchers

Find a concise overview of key aspects of trade and MSME-related policymaking with our dedicated library of Policymakers & Researchers Guides.