Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) are advised to implement key ecommerce trends to grow their business and boost profits, as the country is amongst the fastest growing ecommerce markets in Southeast Asia, with the Philippine market estimated to each $15 billion by 2025.
In a webinar, Bjorn Pardo, head of SME Venture/Venture Lead for Bux and Sentro, said the Philippine ecommerce economy is projected to reach $15 billion by 2025 from around $5 billion this year.
“The Philippines is the social media capital of the world,” he said.
“There is an ever growing number of choices to connect with your customers. And you can’t control where your customers are. Aside from Facebook, there are a multitude of social media platforms that are very popular today and a lot of commerce is happening from these platforms,” Pardo added.
Pardo said a lot of companies, individuals and entrepreneurs are utilizing platforms like conversational commerce, visual channels, and live streaming to be able to sell their products in real-time.
It is thus important for firms to determine which among these platforms work for their business, he added.
Pardo said the rise of digital payments is the next trend.
“Adoption of digital payments has skyrocketed during the pandemic so digital is here in a very big way,” he said, adding methods that have benefited the most are ewallets, GrabPay, GCash, PayMaya and even online banking.
However, Pardo said cash payments and other non-digital forms of payment are still popular.
“What’s happening now is, digital payment, especially ewallets, has overtaken cash as the preferred payment method. And although it’s important to accept epayments, I think you still have to give choice to your customers. You accept all forms of payment, digital and non-digital, in one single platform,” he added.
Pardo said the next trend is going direct to consumers which is important in building brand loyalty, providing better customer experience, and increasing profit margins.
“A lot of entrepreneurs and small businesses are selling through big marketplaces like Lazada and Shopee and that is a great and a good starting point… but having a direct relationship with your customers is very important these days,” he said, noting there are various platforms that can help them go direct to consumers.
Firms have the opportunity to increase profit margin as they do not have to pay any platform fees or commissions, he said.
Pardo further said omni-channel retail is another ecommerce trend, adding no one channel can rule them all.
He identified four key channels to omni-channel retail which are marketplace, social media, own website, and offline presence.
“…It’s important to understand where your customers are, what social media platform they are on and to be there, and to provide an experience for them to purchase for and/or gain access to what we have available for sale,” he said.
Pardo said own website provides businesses the ability to customize experience for their customers and build brand loyalty.
“And whether that’s your own physical store or whether that’s partnering with existing retailers to showcase your products in the offline world depending on your products, potential customers want to see your product in person, touch, and feel it. So depending on the types of products that you sell, an offline presence could complement all of the online channels,” he added.