Starting an Ecommerce Business in the Philippines: A Step-by-Step Guide

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Are you looking to start and scale your own ecommerce business in the Philippines? If you want to learn how to start an ecommerce business, or if you already have one and want to further improve it, you’re in the right place. 

Ecommerce in the Philippines

The future of ecommerce in the Philippines is bright. The Philippine retail industry continues to grow with each passing year, growing by 5.9% in 2018, driven by rising spending power. Focus Economics also mentioned that the Philippine economy gained momentum in Q4 2019, driven by robust government expenditure. Unsurprisingly, this increasing consumer spending has also impacted the world of online retail and ecommerce. 

The Philippine internet economy is expected to quadruple from $5 billion in 2018 to $21 billion by 2025. A few factors driving this growth include:

  • The Philippines is one of Southeast Asia’s fastest expanding economies 
  • The country has a growing middle class
  • The country has a young, tech-savvy population that’s eager for new products and services
  • Filipinos are among the world’s heaviest Internet users
  • PayPal predicts that the Philippines’ ecommerce market will grow to $3.5 billion by 2020, fueled by mobile shopping and growing online shopping awareness

Further statistics reveal that revenue in the ecommerce market is expected to show an annual growth rate of 18.3%, resulting in a projected market volume of about $6.6 million by 2024. The market’s largest segment is Electronics and Media, with a projected market volume of $941 million in 2020. Furthermore, user penetration will be 35.5% in 2020 and is expected to hit 46.5% by 2024. 

E-Commerce in the Philippines: How to Get Started

As with launching any new business venture, starting an ecommerce business can, at times, feel overwhelming. Whether you’re just starting out in the ecommerce industry or if you’re looking to expand your ecommerce business, we’ve prepared this step-by-step guide to help you get launch a successful ecommerce business. 

  1. Research the ecommerce industry and find your niche.
    Research – this is the first step in launching your ecommerce business. Just as if you were starting a restaurant and looking into different locations, themes, and food options, you’ll need to research the ecommerce area you’re interested in and make some decisions with regard to your chosen niche.

    For instance, you have to consider exactly what your ecommerce business is going to offer. Will you be selling services or products? If you’re selling products, are they digital or physical? Where will you source your products? Also, you’ll have to think about the type of business model you’ll want to employ – will you be offering single products, subscriptions, packages, or something else?

    During this process, you’ll have to think on a broader scale as well. How will you get your services or products to your customers? Are there legal or other regulations on your service or product that you’ll have to accomplish? What will your startup costs look like?

    Answering these questions, among others, is important to the beginning of your ecommerce business. It will also help you develop and write your business plan. Doing your research will give you a better sense of your specific goals and how you’re going to achieve them.

  2. Select your business name.
    Once you’ve finalized the plan for your ecommerce business, the next step is to choose your business name. Like any other business, you’ll want to choose a name that’s memorable and unique, but also that clearly indicates what your business is about.

    Having a strong brand name gives you an advantage when you’re first starting your business. The right name can be your most valuable asset – it can help differentiate you from your competitors and make you more memorable to customers. It’s important to find the right business name when setting up your ecommerce store to help it stand out from the crowd. Here are a few tips to help you find that great business name. 

    • Keep it short and simple. Having a short and simple business name is great for numerous reasons: It’s memorable, easy to spell and pronounce, and effortlessly fits in the header of your ecommerce site’s homepage. 
    • Be original. Make sure that you’re legally allowed to use the business name you’ve come up with. For business owners in the Philippines, start by checking The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL). If your desired business name is available, you’re good to go!

    • Find some inspiration. Short on business name ideas? Give yourself some themes to think about. Consider looking for a business name that speaks to a trend or that has some nostalgia attached to it. Other languages can provide you with plenty of ideas, too. Survey your surroundings. Listen to conversations around you. Inspiration can strike anywhere!

      Also, while you won’t want to invest too much time on a website quite yet, it will be worthwhile to check out if your potential business domain name is still available. If your chosen domain name is currently being used, you may consider a different business name, or use a different domain extension, such as yourbusinessname.net instead of yourbusinessname.com.

  1. Choose what products and/or services you want to sell.
    Once you’ve identified your niche, you need to narrow down what products and/or services you want to sell. When choosing what to sell, the key is understanding your customers – you need to understand their wants and needs.

    Aside from understanding your customers, you also need to understand what sells best in your chosen niche. You need to understand what’s going on in the niche that you’ve chosen and the type of products that your customers enjoy. This is how you find product and/or service ideas that are already very likely to resonate well with your target customer base.

    Still not sure what products and/or services to sell? Another way to figure out what you should be selling is by using social media to your advantage. Find relevant pages and groups that your target customer base follows. Join the same groups/pages and pay attention to what’s going on – observe what products they talk about, the types of posts they engage with the most, and so on.

  2. Choose the right platform for your ecommerce business.
    When you’re starting an ecommerce business, choosing the right platform can mean the difference between failure and success. Once you’ve chosen your niche and the product/service you want to sell, you’ll need to choose the platform where you’ll sell it.

    Existing online marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay might seem like the best choice when you’re starting an ecommerce business, but these ready-made online storefronts can be more of a detriment than a benefit. Why? Because these platforms are easy to use, many first-time ecommerce entrepreneurs use them – but that’s also the downside: it’s almost impossible to stand out from the thousands of other sellers competing for your customers.

    Looking for alternatives to existing online marketplaces? You can try using a hosted ecommerce platform! Essentially, a hosted ecommerce platform is a type of software as a service (SaaS) that hosts online stores – they are great for individuals or small- and medium-sized businesses that have little or no e-commerce development experience. Some of the best eCommerce platforms include Shopify, Bigcommerce, Volusion, and PinnacleCart – among others.

    If you want a truly unique platform that’ll help you stand out from your competitors, consider building your own e-commerce website!

  3. Market your e-commerce business.
    Now that you’ve got your products and/or services prepared and listed on your online store, and once your website is up and running – you’re ready to start serving customers. In order to do this, you’ll need to properly market your ecommerce business. After all, what’s the use of having great products and/or services if your customers can’t find them?

    There are different marketing strategies that you can utilize – word-of-mouth, social media ads, Google ads, and more. At the most basic level, you’ll want to optimize your ecommerce website for SEO and take advantage of any online marketing tools that are included within your chosen ecommerce platform.

    With that said, as your ecommerce business is up and running and you start to receive orders, you’ll want to monitor which marketing strategies are working and which aren’t – especially if you’re investing money in them. As time goes on, you’ll be able to change and adjust your marketing strategy to find out what works best for your business. 

How to Start an E-Commerce Business: A Summary

We’ve covered a lot of ground in this guide, so here’s your quick guide to starting an ecommerce business. Treat it as your checklist:

  • Research the ecommerce industry and find your niche
  • Select your business name
  • Choose what products and/or services you want to sell
  • Choose the right platform for your ecommerce business
  • Market your ecommerce business

The Bottom Line

The future of ecommerce in the Philippines is bright. If you want to learn how to start an ecommerce business, or if you already have one and want to further improve it, make sure to consider the steps above.

Contact us if you are interested to start an online reseller e-commerce business.

Good luck with your e-commerce venture!

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