(Source: Philippine Star | November 17, 2017)
Every day, e-commerce grows in the Philippines.
Such has been the assertion of Inanc Balci, president, co-founder and community chief executive officer for e-commerce portal Lazada, which claims to be the number one marketplace and the seventh most accessed website in the Philippines.
“The Philippines used to be the SMS capital of the world, now it is number one in terms of Facebook penetration. So, I am confident that the Philippines will be number one in Southeast Asia in terms of e-commerce,” Balci said in a recent press conference.
In the Philippines, about 1.5 percent of retail sales are from e-commerce with around 10 million e-commerce customers every day. But, given the heavy traffic in the country’s biggest cities like Metro Manila, he is confident that the country’s 63 million active Facebook users could become potential customers for retail.
“E-commerce makes Filipinos more efficient, so they cannot lose time to traffic, they can work more and generate more income for the country,” he explained.
E-commerce, he noted, attracts a very young market in the Philippines, so his company plans to include gaming products as gaming enthusiasts are now reportedly bigger than those who watch the NBA Finals.
According to Balci, from 800,000, Lazada now has 28 million products, equivalent to 40 shopping malls, as opposed to a physical mall with only around 600,000 products and takes one hours to shop.
Likewise, according to L’Oreal Philippines, e-commerce has become a new destination for beauty enthusiasts in the country. “Beauty is born again digitally,” said the country’s representative, adding that more and more Filipinos nowadays order cosmetics and hair color online to color their hair at home and at their own convenience.
For Paulo Campos, founder and chief executive officer of Zalora Philippines, he said: “The gap between online and offline retail is rapidly decreasing.”
To keep pace with the way consumers and their shopping habits are evolving, the shopping site recently unveiled its third pop-up store in partnership with Ayala Malls. The pop-up store at B3 Bonifacio High Street will run until December 3 and takes on a contemporary caravan concept as it moves to different key Ayala Malls around the country.
According to Campos, a pop-up store creates a more convenient, personalized and one-of-a-kind shopping experience, especially on this very busy holiday season.
To help ease the stress of shopping for Christmas gifts, Ayala Malls has opened a Christmas catalog in shopping portal Zalora. The mall’s wide array of merchandise is now available in the shopping app, which could be helpful for those doing their last-minute Christmas shopping.
Moreover, the mall chain has partnered with Grab Express to take care of shopping deliveries, as well as with Grab, Uber, and P2P buses for shopping convenience. Promo codes have been made to give commuters discounts when going to the malls to shop. Those bringing their own car can also check out reserved parking slots that allow one to park and shop for 30 minutes.
E-commerce becomes eat-commerce
Besides for shopping, e-commerce has become popular for ordering food. As a press statement by food ordering app Eatigo says, “Filipinos are now a dine-out generation due to their on-the-go lifestyle.”
The portal aims to connect empty tables with empty stomachs by offering up to half the price on every restaurant every day. The app is said to be connected to over 2,000 restaurants, from hole-in-the-wall to five-star dining destinations in Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, India and The Philippines. It differentiates itself for having “curated” categories for easy browsing between top, new and nearby restaurants.
Reportedly downloaded by more than 1.5 million users and backed by Trip Advisor with a funding of US$15.5 million, the app can be downloaded with no subscriptions, vouchers or hidden fees.
While food delivery is nothing new, the online food delivery marketplace finds its beginnings in Berlin, Germany. It aims to change the game by offering users more options and greater convenience. The app takes pride of its ever-growing network of partner restaurants, which is now around 1,000.
“Due to their hectic schedules and their fast-paced lifestyles, many people don’t have the time to cook their own meals. And usually, after a long day at work or a long commute, their energy is completely depleted,” shared Iacopo Rovere, Chief Executive Officer of Foodpanda Philippines.
According to the company’s recent data, young professionals living in the city, mostly men, rely heavily on food delivery for their meals. The app fills in the void and gives the working population access to good food quickly.
The user-friendly app, which can be downloaded for free, allows one to browse through the menus of hundreds of restaurants and even allows users to search by type of cuisine.
“Now, you can even track your order, from the moment the order was taken and accepted by the restaurant to the moment it is picked up by the delivery personnel. You know exactly when your food will arrive,” said Rovere. “So you can order on your smartphone, do your work, be productive, and still eat a good, full meal three times a day or more.”
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