UB Doctoral Service Team Investigate Capacity Improvement for Digital Marketing of Footwear MSME in Mojokerto City

Mojokerto (23/8). Mojokerto City is not only known for Onde-Onde as a souvenir, but also has a long tradition as a city of shoe craftsmen. The long history of footwear craftsmen in Mojokerto City has been passed down from generation to generation since the 1980s. The city has the largest number of footwear MSMEs in East Java. Realizing the great potential, the footwear entrepreneurs in Mojokerto city came together in an association of footwear entrepreneurs known as KOMPAK (Mojokerto City Footwear Entrepreneurs Committee) in 2006. This committee is expected to be a forum for exchanging ideas and mobilizing joint strategies for the advancement of footwear MSMEs in Mojokerto city.
Similar to the general condition of various businesses in Indonesia, the footwear business in Mojokerto city also experienced a very difficult ordeal when the COVID-19 pandemic hit Indonesia. The absence of face-to-face school and office activities, and the ban on community gatherings have really hit the majority of footwear MSMEs in Mojokerto. The head of KOMPAK’s shoe craftsmen association, Emru Suhadak, said “During the COVID-19 pandemic, shoe turnover was severely affected with a drop in demand, both retail and party”. Along with the control of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mojokerto City footwear craftsmen have begun to see an increase in orders for shoes and sandals.
Brawijaya University’s Doktor Mengabdi team, led by Dr.rer.pol. Wildan Syafitri, ME, conducted a Focus Group Discussion (FGD) with craftsmen and footwear business actors at Emru’s workshop to sharpen the needs for training materials that will be scheduled in follow-up activities. From the results of the discussion, the craftsmen realized that, after the COVID-19 pandemic, people’s trends in shopping have shifted from physical markets to digital markets through various types of digital platforms or market places and social media. This is a challenge that must be well prepared by footwear craftsmen to anticipate future challenges.
In responding to this condition, not all craftsmen have the same level of adaptation. Mohammad Rizaldi, one of the footwear business actors, said that the ability of each footwear craftsman and entrepreneur to market their products varies greatly. Some still use conventional marketing media by taking orders directly at the production site or at the display site they have, but there are also craftsmen who have utilized digital marketing media to increase turnover from footwear. Rizal, as the man is usually called, hopes that the training carried out is the right one according to the needs of the shoe players, not only theoretical, but practical can be applied immediately and easily if repeated after training.

In line with Rizal. Mochamad Yani, another craftsman, believes that there should be a division of tasks in the production and marketing process so that each part can work more focused and the results can be felt by both parties. Yani suggested that an organization should be formed after the training to specifically assist footwear businesses in marketing their products. With this format, the craftsmen only need to focus on production. Emru at the end of the discussion stated “besides the need to fulfill digital marketing needs, it is equally important to involve the younger generation in running the footwear business in Mojokerto City”.
At the end of the FGD, Wildan, said that the results of the FGD will be followed up by the Doktor Mengabdi internal team by preparing training materials and facilitators in accordance with the needs of Mojokerto City footwear MSME players. (Moh. Athoillah)