With its stable financial performance, rich natural resources, and business-friendly policies, the Philippines has remained a top choice for Southeast Asian investments.
In 2022 the government had loosened its travel restrictions, becoming easier for anyone to head over for business opportunities. But like many Southeast Asian countries during the pandemic, digital channels for shopping have become the primary resource for many Filipinos.
For instance, in 2021 alone, up to 12 million people in the Philippines began shopping online. Google also reported that 68% of internet users in the country made at least one purchase online. The pandemic has highlighted that a hybrid business model, with an online presence and offline space, is here to stay. In addition, users cite saving time and money, flexible payment options, variety, and delivery convenience as reasons to continue shopping online.
So if you’re thinking of expanding to the Philippines, or already are a business owner there, it is important to equip yourself with the market’s trends. Here are five key things consumers say they want when they shop:
1. Reward your users for finding your online business
Digital consumers want to shop wherever they are, for whatever they want, whenever they need it. As a result, various touch points exist for different consumers. Just think of how today’s consumers have many platforms to search for their needs, such as e-marketplaces on social media such as Instagram’s shopping page.
Additionally, they are looking to compare what they have found across different platforms. It is reported that critical phrases such as “which one is better” increased by 195% in the Filipino market as consumers try to find out more about brands. New online users also look for promotions and discounts related to their brand choices. This search shows how the “new user” grew by 55% in the Philippines search results. Therefore, to keep things fresh and exciting for new consumers researching your brand, your business must be visible throughout the shopping journey. Achieve this with integrated omnichannel platforms that shorten the discovery-to-purchase process. That means apart from your online shop, tap on social media such as YouTube to drive consumers towards your site.
For inspiration, look at how Jollibee Philippines successfully leveraged YouTube to boost its reach, increasing its brand visibility and driving consumers towards its website. Adding “new user” promotions or discount codes is also a way to reward new consumers so that they will return to your store.
2. Offer same-day delivery for retail
While consumers enjoy the ease of comparing brands online, they still desire instant gratification of getting what they need almost immediately. This is proven by how the “same-day delivery” search in the Philippines grew to 70%, as consumers desire the same in-store shopping experience of getting what they need immediately. Moreover, along with “free delivery”, consumers also expect easy return policies and “next-day delivery” when they shop online.
Therefore, if you are looking to target Filipino consumers, it’s important to offer same-day delivery through 24/7 express courier services. Online marketplace Lazada Philippines, has partnered with GrabExpress to provide such quick delivery services. This is good news for small retail merchants looking to join e-marketplaces since you can list your products, choose your payment preferences and let Lazada’s delivery couriers deliver packages for you.
For retail businesses that already have brick-and-mortar shops, it might be more cost-efficient to set up your own Shopify or WordPress site along with a listing on e-marketplaces. First, this lets you track your inventory with a smart point of sale (POS) solution. Second, it also cuts through the clutter. While e-marketplaces like Lazada or Shopee are easily navigable, the multitude of shops online contributes to the “noise” that your business may be lost in. Your website is essential to engender customer loyalty by providing more product or brand information through blogs and email newsletters, and present them inline with your brand identity.
These online tools are only possible if you have a virtual storefront. For example, look at how Nestle Philippines taps into the Shopee marketplace by launching Google Ads via the e-marketplace to drive online purchases. With a Shopee presence and website, the brand is tapping into all channels to drive sales performance.
With an online storefront, you can also offer the option of picking items up in-store or returns in-store. This encourages consumers to visit the brick-and-mortar shop, increasing brand exposure when customers come in-store.
3. Be creative: Opt for seamless, immersive virtual experiences
Filipino consumers are expecting more seamless, immersive, virtual experiences that replicate what they experience offline. Businesses must meet that demand by incorporating QR codes for payments, YouTube videos for engagement, and increased virtual assistance.
QR codes took off at the height of the pandemic, allowing for contactless payment. But its usage has evolved, allowing consumers to do everything from ordering in restaurants to engaging consumers in-store promotions or feedback forms. And Filipino consumers want this, with Google Trend research reflecting that search interest in QR codes grew to 450% from Sept 2020 to Aug 2021.
The versatility of QR codes means this interest will be around for a while. Think about how easy it is to print a QR code on your receipt with the Qashier smart POS, for instance. Consumers can scan the QR code and access promotions or follow a store on Instagram for new updates.
Another critical channel is Youtube. An essential medium for Filipinos, Google reports that almost 85% of Filipinos online watch Youtube, especially “how-to” videos. If you’re a business looking to engage Filipinos, showing how to use your products might be an excellent marketing tool. Other platforms like TikTok and Instagram reels can increase your brand visibility. Read more on our Qashier blog to see how you can add short-form videos to your marketing mix.
Last but not least, Filipino consumers have expressed that shopping online means getting highly customised shopping experiences. While you can provide a personal service offline, implementing virtual assistance online allows you to provide a high level of personalised service and emphasise human interaction.
Many consumers want the same experience as in-store help when they are online, and Filipino startups have launched affordable chatbot technologies for small and medium enterprises. If you’re thinking of how to add online chatbots, look at how Unilever Philippines does it. The company has added a localised chatbot that provides recommendations based on local weather conditions. Such personalised experiences can result in increased customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.
Meet your consumers in the middle
Ultimately, as the world starts to ease Covid-19 restrictions, shopping offline is slowly returning to normal. But online research and buying habits look set to stay. Businesses should not focus on either one or the other but rather think about seamless experiences that make it easy for shoppers to move between them.
So whether it’s buying online and picking up in-store or using QR codes at the store to go online, businesses that want to go regional need to look for integrated smart POS solutions. This technology is vital if companies want to find a suitable model to help them embrace this new normal. Qashier offers an all-in-one solution.
From generating QR codes to tracking inventory across various channels and allowing easy access to key-in consumers’ data for promotional campaigns, Qashier terminals do it all. Plus, 24/7 support is available to help businesses get up and running quickly, efficiently, and without fuss.