Even before the pandemic began, there have been a lot of online businesses in the market. In addition to having a brick-and-mortar store, a lot of entrepreneurs opened online stores that sell the same products. They put them up on various e-commerce platforms.
The pandemic has caused a massive boom in the e-commerce industry. Because customers can’t visit their stores in person, small businesses have been setting up shop on eCommerce platforms. While some businesses sell their products on social media or their own website, having a presence on an eCommerce website can be a total game-changer.
Not only do have access to a wider market, but they also get to utilize eCommerce features such as payment processors, options for unlimited products, inventory management, and the like. In this article, we’ll discuss how the best eCommerce platforms in the Philippines. We’ll also talk about how businesses can build an e-commerce platform.
Why Invest in Ecommerce Platforms
Given the limited budget of small businesses, why should they channel their resources into eCommerce platforms or online stores? Here are some reasons why opening an online store in an eCommerce platform is one of the best decisions they can make today:
Starting an online store doesn’t require a lot of capital.
One of the reasons why a lot of people get discouraged to start their own business endeavor is the cost. By setting up an online business or an eCommerce platform, aspiring entrepreneurs can save a lot of money.
There are a lot of free eCommerce platforms online. Basically, the eCommerce platform takes commission through transaction fees. This means that a business doesn’t have to pay much in order to have a presence in an eCommerce platform. The majority of the capital for the online business would be dedicated to product inventory.
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People can shop anywhere, any time of the day.
For you to sell your products 24/7, you need manpower in your physical store every day all day. Most eCommerce websites allow shoppers to browse products and make decisions day or night. This makes shopping convenient for shoppers, and this kind of accessibility can be such a competitive advantage.
As a business owner, this means your online sales can increase even when you’re sleeping. You can attend to any inquiries or concerns your customer may have when you have the time to do so.
However, it’s important for you to be active in your customer support efforts. A responsive seller has a better chance to encourage shoppers to sell his products.
Businesses can meet customers wherever they are.
Engaging in multi-channel selling, which includes eCommerce sites, allows business owners to have better engagement with their customers. Businesses can link their eCommerce store to their social media channels. This helps drive more sales as well as boost promote their social media pages.
In case a shopper is searching for their type of products online, their online store will show up in the search results if their products are listed in an eCommerce platform. Most eCommerce platforms have dedicated mobile apps. This means businesses can access customers who are on their mobile devices.
ECommerce platforms are also active in email marketing. This means that if a shopper purchased similar products in the past, your products can end up in their list of shopping recommendations.
Having a presence in eCommerce platforms widens their scope.
A physical store is limited to the shoppers who go to their area. Plus, just because a person passes by or even visit that particular store, it doesn’t guarantee that the visitor would buy something from the store.
A lot of eCommerce platforms extend businesses’ reach not just to the entire country, but to the entire world. This expands a small business’s customer base exponentially and increases possible revenue.
As businesses sell online, their inventory can broaden or increase as well. Businesses don’t have to worry about shelf space after all. The option for having unlimited products can increase cash flow and in turn, give the business a good boost.
Businesses can take advantage of eCommerce platforms’ built-in features.
From various payment options to advanced shipping solutions, eCommerce platforms have a lot of power tools to elevate a small business. Even the basic features of a good eCommerce platform can make a huge difference for a small business.
Payment processing is streamlined and made more convenient for shoppers. Having different payment gateways means multiple channels for people to make payments.
ECommerce platforms also have dedicated customer support teams, which can help a business sell online more. Plus, the uniform product pages make the whole online shopping experience so much easier.
What is the best eCommerce platform for Filipino businesses?
The truth is that there is no such as a perfect eCommerce platform. Even the most powerful eCommerce platforms in the market have their flaws. Here are some of the best eCommerce platforms for online stores to consider:
With over 30 million website visitors a month, Lazada is one of the most popular eCommerce platforms in the country. With a huge variety of product options and a lot of powerful features, it is a force to be reckoned with in the world of e-commerce stores.
A lot of Filipinos shop for their wants and needs in the comforts and safety of their homes. This particular eCommerce platform can help an online business become a very successful online store.
Lazada can accept payments via different payment gateways such as Cash on Delivery, Lazada e-wallet, debit and credit cards, and even GCash. Delivery time usually takes seven days within Metro Manila, 12 days for sub-urban areas.
Lazada’s customer support team is dedicated to enterprise resource planning. This means that from the basics of starting an online shop to SEO tools to attract more customers, this eCommerce platform is with business owners every step of the way.
Shopee is one of the best eCommerce platforms in the country as it focuses on the masses. In turn, this particular eCommerce platform offers cheaper shipping fees. This particular online platform sells anything and everything under the sun, which is why a lot of businesses turn to this eCommerce site a lot.
Among the payment options, Shopee offer includes Cash on Delivery, Shopee Pay, debit and online banking, and bank transfer. Delivery time through this eCommerce platform can take as fast as two days in Metro Manila. Products can be delivered to suburban areas in as fast as five days. It usually takes 7 to 16 days for international products.
Like Lazada, Shopee is also aggressive in its marketing endeavors. This means that by setting up an online shop on Shopee, you can also access the market of the other platforms Shopee is active in.
Zalora is the best eCommerce platform for fashion products in the country. This eCommerce platform offers a wide variety of luxury brands and small businesses as well. The product pages of Zalora are carefully curated to fit the style of the eCommerce store. If a small business specializes in garments, accessories, or other fashion items, this is the best eCommerce platform to be at.
Zalora offers a lot of payment options such as PayPal, cash payment, debit and credit card, and even Google Pay. They usually deliver items from Monday to Friday.
Aside from its many payment options, what makes opening an online store on Zalora so great is that its marketing endeavors are targeted at those looking for style picks. Zalora is also marketed as more upper scale than other eCommerce platforms, which can put a premium in one’s products.
This particular eCommerce site is wildly popular in the US, but it has a dedicated online store for the Philippines as well. Aside from enjoying a huge number of visitors, its customer support team also makes setting up an online business so much easier.
While essentially an online seller can sell unlimited products on the store, unlike other platforms, this eCommerce site has a limit of 250 new products per month. There are multiple payment gateway options for EBay.ph as well. Among the various payment gateways this online store accommodates are PayPal, wire transfer, debit, and credit cards.
Setting up a dedicated online store
While these best eCommerce platforms have a lot of advantages, small businesses that have more time and resources can make the best eCommerce platform for their business as well. There are a lot of eCommerce solutions to choose from. To get started, here are steps to take to start an online store with eCommerce functionality.
Find a product or products to sell.
Before looking into a good eCommerce software, it’s important for aspiring entrepreneurs to find their niche. By browsing eCommerce sites, entrepreneurs can get an idea of what is in demand in the market. Looking at the best eCommerce platforms also allows people to do research on competitive pricing and product listing.
Create a business plan.
Before jumping straight into an online store, a business owner must come up with a feasible plan. This includes coming up with a business name, company description, target market, and marketing strategy.
With so many online stores in the market, it can be tough to stand out. That’s why it’s important to come up with a feasible game plan.
Register the online store.
An online store, even if it’s just an eCommerce business, can spare itself from a lot of headaches by taking care of the legal requirements early. on. It’s important to have the online store registered in the Department of Trade and Industry.
The online store should also check city hall for local permits as well. Everything should be prepared and approved to guarantee the smooth operation of the online store in the future.
Research on various eCommerce website builders.
While web developers can recommend the best website builder for a particular business niche, it’s best for an online store to conduct its own research. What are the eCommerce features of the online store builder?
Does it have a dedicated eCommerce platform customer support team? Does it have multiple payment processors? The eCommerce functionality of the online store needs to be assessed to find out if the costs are worth it.
Build the eCommerce website.
Once the right eCommerce platform has been decided, it’s time to build the eCommerce website. It’s important to get a good domain name and reliable hosting.
The website should be designed with search engine optimization in mind as well. ECommerce website builders usually teach the basics of SEO tools. This helps in making a mobile responsive website with multi-channel integration.
Mobile optimization means that people can access one’s eCommerce platform on mobile devices. If budget permits, creating a dedicated mobile app can do wonders as well.
Maximize social media marketing.
While email marketing can strengthen relationships with their existing customer base, online stores should have a social media presence as well. Having multiple channels means more chances for multi-channel selling. With so many eCommerce businesses in the market, it can be difficult to stand out in the eCommerce space. By being active on social media, customers have other platforms to turn to.
Manage inventory, shipping, and payment options.
Inventory management is important so a business can manage the entire business. It’s important not to overstock or understock as well.
Aside from inventory management, payment options should be determined as well. How can shoppers pay for the items? It’s important to find a reliable shipping partner too. It’s a good idea to print shipping labels in advance to save time in the future.
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