E-Commerce in the Philippines 2016 – 2017Janette Toral
We are kicking off the E-Commerce and Digital Marketing Mentoring Program for MSMEs with an overview on “E-Commerce in the Philippines”. This module 1 learning webinar took place last December 19, 2016.
The webinar video tackles the following topics:
I. E-Commerce Industry Players
We took a look at the Philipines E-Commerce Landscape infograpic from ecommerIQ and added our observations.
We also used Alexa competitive research tool to have a better perspective on the rankings. There are various e-commerce sites coming out today but they also need to invest in ample marketing resources to improve their traffic and build traction.
II. Philippines E-Commerce Roadmap Updates
We gave a quick overview on the targets defined under the Philippines E-Commerce Roadmap and progress attained so far. We also cited what areas need support in order to make them happen and why it should happen soon. This includes:
Simplified tax system
The industry should unify and push for the idea on making electronic sales invoices, charge invoices, official receipts, collection receipts as a default rather than an exception. Printouts can be made as necessary.
With tax reporting and payments being required to be done electronically, receipts are still issued in paper form. If they are issued electronically, reporting will be more transparent – including the computation of dues and reports. Minimizing or removing reporting non-compliance altogether. It will require political will to get this done.
But if the private sector is adamant in making change happen to the better, this is a direction worth pursuing.
Discussion for an e-notary system has been on for quite sometime. I do hope the Supreme Court will issue its guidelines on this one soon for e-commerce to take off on the business to business, e-government, and cross-border related transactions.
III. Challenges and Business Opportunities in E-Commerce
There are a lot of lessons learned in this space for 2016 as we went around the country through the Department of Trade & Industry “Expanding your Business through E-Commerce” roadshow series. I hope readers will see the challenges as opportunities and explore coming up with solutions to address them.
Lack of Marketplaces & Logistics support in the countryside
There were a lot of places visited in the roadshow where the merchants has difficulty to start selling online due to logistics limitations. In times like this, only Shopinas (and its affiliated marketplaces like SMENegosyante, OneStore, and Ureka Shops) are in a position to assist with the support of Air21.
However, for most marketplaces, the only limitation is that the MSME should be the one to invest in marketing as they are mostly weak in that area.
We also encountered local marketplaces giving the much needed MSME support such as ShopLocal in Cagayan De Oro. However, to be effective, local marketplaces need to evolve their business model as a conduit for MSMEs to gain access to various marketplaces even by just joining a single platform.
From E-Commerce Education to E-Commerce Mentoring
A lot of e-commerce awareness was done this year through various roadshows. However, I agree with the observations shared by one of DTI Cebu’s directors – Nanette Arbon that mentoring is more effective as the necessary focus and follow-up is given especially when shared targets are set right from the start.
Hence, as we launch the E-Commerce & Digital Marketing Mentoring Program for MSMEs, I would like to focus on hands-on from module 2 to 10 sessions giving pointers for those joining. This is where I stop with the usual presentations but focused instead on the “how to do it”.
We need more mentors from government to private sector who will assist MSMEs in doing e-commerce. I am focusing my 2017 efforts in creating more e-commerce and digital marketing mentors in the countryside to help reach the target of 100,000 MSMEs doing business online by 2020.
Cross Border E-Commerce and Payments
At the APEC O2O Forum held in Boracay last November 2016, an interesting discussion took place on the building blocks for cross-border e-commerce transactions to happen. This includes:
Improvement of payment infrastructure
Making this affordable and accessible to MSMEs is a must. But we also need to adapt to changing market requirements where banking regulations has to be updated too. I look forward to the day when services similar to Payoneer will grow and include as many countries as possible where members can do banking transactions with.
I was not able to mention this in the webinar video but let me add this here.
Jaime Garchitorena of Credit Information Corporation at the said APEC forum highlighted the need for MSMEs to work on their credit rating early especially if they aspire to do cross-border transactions. This is an area of focus that should be worked on this 2017 onwards and make the concept understood and appreciated at the MSME level. Updating old laws on credit to match requirements of present times should be pushed for as well.