The worldwide spread of COVID-19 pandemic has forced a lot of people and even businesses to be heavily reliant on technology and online transactions. Technology fueled the growth of E-commerce businesses and knowing that more and more people are tapping into ecommerce to meet their daily needs, it’s vital to see how the industry prepares everyone for a post-Covid-19 world.
The tech-savvy Philippines is showing a massive potential when it comes to online shopping. With about 70 million Internet users and 35 million Filipino online buyers, reaching out to audiences to promote on social media and online shopping platforms will be a breeze.
In a report from the World Bank, the Philippines has proved itself to be one of the most progressive economies in Southeast Asia — sustaining an average annual growth of 6.3% from 2010 – 2018, and is on its way to becoming an upper-middle-income country (US$ 3896 – 12,055) in the near future. According to iPrice, the Philippines has the second largest average online shopping basket size in Southeast Asia, which only shows that local consumers are eager to find and buy products online. Before the pandemic, the largest producing segment were currently electronics and media. However, tremendous growth is also seen in fashion, food, furniture, and toys. During the crisis, spending has shifted to loungewear, hygiene products, food supplements, air purifiers and ovens, as well as kitchenware and fast-moving goods.
Now that we have painted the picture of why the Philippines is a good place to start an Ecommerce business, let’s dive into the list of steps we’ve compiled to help you map out your online empire.
5 Steps to Start an E-commerce Business in the Philippines
- Create your business plan
Your business plan will be your ‘game plan’ when you launch your ecommerce business. It will serve as the structure and a roadmap of how you can move forward.
Before you can actually jump with all the necessity To Dos, first, make sure you have a well-thought of product. It will be best if the product/service you chose underwent research and analysis. You can ask your friends and family about what interests them the most, and if they will be happy to purchase from your business if you happen to start selling online in the future.
It will also help if you look for the current trends in the e-commerce industry. Get to know about what products are selling best in the public by going to local and international e-commerce business portals.
Here’s what a typical plan includes:
- A short and memorable business name. Choose a name that resonates with your products or services, something that people will easily remember.
- A description. How will you describe your ecommerce business? Include a brief description of your company together with your mission statement.
- A written financial status and list of projects. How much will your capital be? This part should state how the net profit and loss will be divided, along with how you see your company in the next few years.
- A marketing strategy. How are you going to sell your products? Through a website? Social media? Online shopping platforms?
If you’re unsure of your marketing strategy, there are ways you could ask for help. For starters, Klaiya Digital Solution offers professional and foolproof marketing strategies that has helped over 50+ companies achieve their goals. Building a business is exciting, but the process can get very intimidating. Getting a professional to help you map out your plans will be beneficial for your company in the long run, so don’t hesitate to try and go for it.
- Register your business
You’ll be required to issue official receipts if your ecommerce business goods and services for cash, as it’s considered a source of income. It may take time, money, and effort. However, it all starts with deciding what the arrangement of your business will be. In the Philippines, these are the most common types of business entities:
- Sole Proprietorship
A sole proprietorship must apply for a business name and be registered with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) – National Capital Region (NCR). In the provinces, applications may be filed with the DTI regional/provincial offices.
It consists of two or more partners. A partnership with more than P3,000 capital must register with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
A corporation can either be a stock or non-stock company regardless of nationality. Such a company, if 60% Filipino – 40% foreign-owned is considered a Filipino corporation; if more than 40% foreign-owned, it is considered a domestic foreign-owned corporation.
You will also need to check with your local city hall for business licenses and other permits you will need in order to operate. For a smooth operation of your ecommerce business, everything should be approved and updated regularly.
- Build your Ecommerce website
Having a website for your business will build your credibility as a business owner. Although there are alternative programs where you can make your own website, it’s always better to consult and sign up in the services of a professional web designer. Aside from digital marketing, Klaiya Digital Solution also provides professional web services that are not limited to designing. They can fully set up your website and hook you up with a good domain name.
An example of a successful business website serviced by Klaiya is Momewear. The website contains the qualities every business website should have:
- Easy navigation and responsive design – 44 million Filipinos use mobile to browse the Internet. If you want your business to be discovered, make sure that your website is responsive on mobile and across all devices.
- Fast loading – Site speed affects search rankings. In fact, a study claims that if a website takes longer than 3 seconds to load, you could be losing nearly half of your visitors and can result in 7% decrease in conversion rates.
- Uncomplicated check out options – Keep the payment system easy to navigate and convenient. Some customers may be hesitant to use their credit cards, but you can have Shopify’s own payment system or add PayPal as well.
- Maximize Shopee and Lazada
Most Small and Medium Enterprises might find it expensive to build their own website in the beginning of their business years. If you’re one of them, well it is highly recommended for you to maximize the existing online shopping platform in the Philippines — Shopee and Lazada.
You can register to these platforms in as easy as 3 minutes provided that you have completed the requirements. If you want to focus on your business and get the registering job done by the other, or if you want to accelerate your store and get results as soon as possible, might as well consult with agencies that are partnered with these two platforms. Klaiya Digital Solution is a Certified Lazada partner working hand-in-hand with their different department managers to promote and improve store ratings.
- Make the most of social media marketing
After all has been done with your website and online shopping platform, make sure that you set up your business’s social media profiles. With social media, make sure that you utilize your platform to make connections and market your business the responsible way. Like for the website, you can set this up on your own, or get a professional social media marketer to do it for you.
Here’s how you can use social media to market your business:
- Drive traffic to your website by using Facebook. Facebook Ads are a great way to promote businesses.
- Use Instagram for business accounts to see your analytics by posting photos and videos.
- Add social sharing buttons to your website so users are able to share your posts and content to their own accounts.
- Decide on your payment system, shipment, and delivery options
There are many couriers to choose from. You can also do meet-ups if you want but you can also let the customers pay for the shipping costs.
For the payments, you can opt for cash on delivery (COD), credit card, online payment system, bank deposit, etc. The payment method you chose can have an additional charge for every transaction made, so make sure to add a little markup to cover the cost. It’s no surprise that many ecommerce businesses are sprouting here and there, as ecommerce presents many great opportunities to succeed in the B2B and B2C industry in the Philippines. It can be challenging and intimidating, but you don’t have to do it alone. For a final tip, make sure to check out Klaiya Digital Solution’s website for a FREE consultation. Who knows, maybe your business could use a little marketing magic!