CEBU CITY, CEBU — E-Commerce has been a buzzword in the Philippines for at least a good ten years but only in the last four years has it become truly a major force in the consumer retail sector. Driven by availability of smartphones, e-commerce use is expected to grow further in the country. E-commerce turnover is also projected to hit US$2 billion by the end of 2015.
Speaking during the recently concluded Cebu ICT /BPM Conference and Expo, Robrt Gantuangco, director and co-founder of Digital Commerce Association of the Philippines (DCOM) said mobile devices are a key element in the widespread use of e-commerce; many Filipinos now look to online shops for best deals, particularly those coming from group-type online retailer such as Ensogo, CashCashPinoy, and MetroDeal.
Other online retailers such as Lazada and Zalora are also becoming huge players in the conventional retail space. “Even international shops like Amazon.com and AliExpress are getting a lot of orders from Filipino buyers,” Gantuangco said.
“We also see traditional retailers going into this business. These include LBC, which has its TheShop.ph; Air21 with its Shopinas.com; and SM Store. It’s proof that online retail is a growing sector and it’s a positive extension for traditional retail,” Gantuangco said.
Even payment processes have expanded. While many banks have started to offer online purchasing functions, PayPal remains to be the primary choice among buyers at 39 percent. “It has no local office but has most of its local merchants on board.”
Among the most active online buyers are between 25 and 34 years old, which are typically young people who are familiar with online services and have expendable cash. He also stressed that among the most popular items being bought are apparel, electronics, shoes, household items, and beauty and wellness products.
However, he warns that companies shouldn’t jump into the bandwagon. Instead, they have to look at their core competencies and use it as leverage to draw buyers. “It’s only now a question of how to implement a good online retail business. There are good practices that can enable a company to target certain buyers and remain competitive.”
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