Despite the gradual easing of quarantine protocols in most areas in the country, we still face the inevitable reality of what the new normal is. For Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME) entrepreneurs, the internet has become a primary platform to keep their businesses afloat in a time where most consumers are obliged to stay at home.
To further guide MSME entrepreneurs in shifting their businesses to the digital sphere, Globe myBusiness has invited industry experts for its Business Consultation Caravan (BCC) online series. In the latest installment of the series, the discussion centered on e-commerce⁠ — the benefits, the challenges, and the right tools to use to optimize it.

The panel of speakers was composed of Jannette Toral, e-commerce advocate from DigitalFilipino.com; Petrus Carbonell, Head of Business Development of Lazada; and Criselda Roque, Business Development Consultant of Globe myBusiness. The discussion was led by Globe’s e-commerce Head, MJ Panganiban.

Establishing an online presence

MSME entrepreneurs can take their business to the next level by establishing a strong online presence that can be achieved by joining marketplaces, creating a website for the brand/store, and taking part in social media. According to Janette Toral, entrepreneurs can use one or two without the other, but it is still best to utilize all three platforms to tap the full potential of your online presence.

On the other hand, Criselda Roque of Globe myBusiness shared that online presence goes beyond just being online. “It’s actually shifting to that digital mindset as well, which involves not only using technology, but understanding the impact of technology in our interactions and how we do things especially right now that we have to adapt,” she said.

Taking advantage of market changes

Engaging in online business during these times may seem daunting, but it really is an opportunity waiting to be seized given the rise of new E-Commerce trends in the country, which is supported by the market and policy changes by the government and the private sector.

“We cannot go back to how we do business. We cannot have a shop with the full capacity of people, standing room only is no longer an option, so definitely we have to tap into new ways of delivering our products and services online,” Toral stated.

With these changes, entrepreneurs have to boost not only their technical capacity but their leadership capacity to keep up, serve customers better, meet revenue requirements, and grow despite the circumstances at hand.

“As entrepreneurs, we need to survive. Our employees also want us to survive. They want to see us functioning the best way that we can despite the limitations and restrictions so that we can keep the economy growing and help others in this space,” she added.

Benefits of going online

MSMEs looking to digitize their businesses are looking into a world full of options and possibilities.

For one, the rising trend in online business transactions has been there even before quarantine measures were imposed last March, according to LAZADA’s Petrus Carbonell.  “With the quarantine, these trends have been accelerated and we’re seeing a lot of customers staying online.” At the same time, platforms for E-commerce are growing and most are for free.

Carbonell shared three basic factors that an MSME has to resolve to ensure success online: payment methods, logistics, and product quality. Beyond this, there are a ton of advantages in transitioning to E-commerce.

First is a bigger customer base, one that is of a national scale. “One store can serve the whole Philippines and that is something very important that we have to see as an MSME,” he added. At the same time, being online means business as usual amid unexpected scenarios like the ECQ, because people in E-commerce are able to operate safely from home. Lastly, the ability to do simultaneous transactions with the use of technology is another valuable advantage.

Ultimately, Carbonell stated that the goal for all MSMEs is to go online now so that they can go national and grow their business.

Tools to effectively digitize your business

With the majority of the country’s MSMEs needing to adapt and to reinvent themselves to survive, the biggest questions are the how’s of transitioning from a brick and mortar store to an online business.

Through a trusted digital partner like Globe myBusiness, entrepreneurs can kick start their online journey and take advantage of the market opportunity. “Whether you’re a new company or you’ve already started your business, we have the right digital solutions for your needs. We are actually known to provide mobile and internet services, but we also have relevant digital solutions to help you create success in your business”, Roque added.

With this, Globe myBusiness has identified key aspects needed for a smooth E-commerce experience using technology. These include online presence, convenience in ordering of goods and services, contactless payment, seamless processing of orders and delivery of goods, loyalty programs and promos that can add value to the total customer experience, and a secure network to protect transactions, financial records, and customer data.

To end, Roque highlighted the importance of providing an excellent customer experience now, more than ever. “This differentiates successful businesses from the rest. Fortunately, technology makes it easier for entrepreneurs to do so.”

Learn more about Business Consultation Caravan and other efforts by Globe myBusiness via www.facebook.com/globemybusiness/.