There are three (3) ways an MSME can create an online presence. This includes:
- Join an e-commerce marketplace.
- Create a site by subscribing to e-commerce platforms.
- Build your own e-commerce website.
Join an E-Commerce Marketplace
If you are new to online selling, joining marketplaces provides a lot of advantages including:
- Usually offers free sign-up.
- Capitalize on the trust earned by the marketplace..
- Test or gauge interest in your product as you market it to your target persona.
- If the marketplace has its own community, affiliate network, blog network, this can provide exposure to be marketed further.
- If your product is highly competitive and popular, it can provide revenues equivalent or even more than a physical store outlet. This will depend on how aggressive your marketplace partnership program is.
Popular e-commerce platforms (with their Alexa Philippines ranking as of December 25, 2016) are listed here. Note that we only listed those who have clear information on who merchants can sign-up and with Alexa ranking of no more than 10,000.
Cross-Border E-Commerce Marketplace
Business to Consumer Marketplaces
- Lazada (#6)
- O Shopping (#171)
- Goods.ph – click Seller on Goods (#510)
- Takatack – create store via Tackthis (#1438)
- GoBuy (#2887)
- Big Benta (#6968)
- Shopinas (#8278)
Consumer to Consumer Marketplaces
- Zalora (#85)
Food / Restaurant Marketplace
- FoodPanda (#1384)
Government Projects Marketplace
Photography / Graphics Marketplace
- FreePik (#236)
- Shutterstock (#269)
- Dreams Time (#559)
- 123RF (#560)
- iStockPhoto (#915)
- CanStockPhoto (#2503)
Vacation Rental & Hotels Marketplace
Working on your marketplace presence also has its own set of challenges including:
- You need to invest on marketing especially if the marketplace has limited marketing resources.
- There can be payment delays too especially if the transaction or package delivered has damages, among others.
Create a site by subscribing to e-commerce platforms
IN addition to marketplaces, it is important for MSMEs to have their own website. If technical expertise is not within reach, subscribing to e-commerce platforms is an alternative to do it. Advantages include:
- Affordable monthly subscription fees.
- Back-end maintenance taken cared of by the service provider.
- E-Commerce platform usually robust and efficient already in design.
- Has ready made templates and settings that you just customize.
Popular platforms include:
Remember only though that marketplace subscription only requires a long term relationship with the solution provider. Make sure you partner with one that is already stable in their operation.
Build your own e-commerce website
If the MSME is determined in taking their e-commerce project on a personal level, you can also create your own e-commerce site. This is ideal if:
- You want to be in full control of your site and brand.
- Customize your site according to your requirements.
- Can migrate from one web host to another as the need arises.
To get this done, the following are needed:
- Domain name – you can get this from platforms like GoDaddy.com. Use Fatwallet discount codes to get domains at less than a dollar for the first year.
- Web host subcription – you can check the recommended ones by WordPress or Magento.
- Content management system (Woo Commerce for WordPress or Magento can do the job.)
- Payment gateway account.
When choosing this option, make sure that you have ample reserved budget and monitor your cost. Additional expenses may be encountered from additional plugins, security, tools for the site.
E-Commerce and Digital Marketing Mentoring Program for MSMEs
This article is module 2 of the E-Commerce and Digital Marketing Mentoring Program for MSMEs that took place last December 26, 2016.