Rise of online shopping nationwide, not just from metro

By Joann Villanueva

August 12, 2020, 9:41 pm

MANILA – The increase of online shopping since the implementation of community quarantines to address the rise of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases cannot be attributed primarily to the metropolis but nationwide.
“I wouldn’t say there was an outsized increase or imbalance in increase in demand. Actually, it was nationwide that we saw an increased general usage of the platform. And I think that’s (because) a lot of people (are) turning into the solution to find their basic necessities and needs,” said Shopee Philippines Associate Director Martin Yu during the virtual launch of the Where You Shop Matters partnership with digital payments solution provider, Visa.
He said orders from all over the country “registered (a) pretty steep increase”. 
He, however, failed to provide any figures.
He said demand for personal hygiene products and necessities like groceries and diapers was “quite higher”.
The Shopee Philippines-Visa partnership aims to encourage consumers to support local businesses. It is also targeted to boost the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector by helping them to have or to increase their online presence.
Dan Wolbert, Visa Country Manager for the Philippines and Guam, said this tie-up is in line with their small business program to support 10 million small and micro businesses in the Asia Pacific and part of the Visa Foundation’s global commitment to provide USD210 million as Covid-19 emergency support to the small business sector.
He said the tie-up will give discounts to Visa cardholders when they shop at local merchants registered with Shopee.
Wolbert said “the impact of Covid-19 for these businesses along with shifting consumer behaviors to e-commerce reinforced the need for Visa to launch Where You Shop Matters.”
“Furthermore, the partnership with Shopee will help us support thousands of local businesses in the Philippines. We are confident that Filipinos will help support the local economy, especially since our study showed that 95 percent of Filipino consumers will purchase from local retailers to support small business recovery,” he said.
Wolbert said the same study shows that about 77 percent of Filipino consumers consider it a must for local retailers to have online presence.
“The pandemic has accelerated several years’ worth of change into the span of a few months, and this rapid acceleration of the shift to digital payments also means that businesses need to go through a digital transformation and adapt to changing consumers’ behaviors to do well,” he added.
With the tie-up, Visa will be providing local SMEs with a Visa e-Commerce Starter Kit that will help them start, manage, and grow their online storefronts.
Visa has teamed up with BigCommerce, an electronic commerce platform, to help the SMEs start their online store and to give special discount rates for SMEs to sign up with the program.
SMEs will also be given several offers like access to the Office 365 business packages and cashback on Google Ads to help them get their online business up and running.
SMEs with physical stores can order free Visa POS signage to build trust with consumers.
Wolbert said they expect thousands of merchants in Shopee Mall and Shopee Mart to avail of the program and provide discounts to Visa cardholders.
He said they decided to partner with Shopee because it is now a household name, and is among the biggest e-commerce platforms in the country.
“With the pandemic hampering our activities and forcing many of us indoors, the need and usage for Shopee has risen exponentially for both consumers and merchants. With that, we saw a great benefit in partnering with Shopee to help as many buyers and businesses as we can,” he said.
Yu said there are about close to 500,000 active sellers in Shopee to date.
“I do expect a lot of uptake and it’s something that we’re excited about,” he added. (PNA)