Businesses should establish a presence on all possible e-commerce channels in order to thrive, according to online payment platform PayMaya.
Online marketplaces like Lazada and Shopee, direct-to-consumer websites, and “conversational commerce” through social media groups and messaging applications are equally important when it comes to e-commerce. Instead of choosing the “best” platform, businesses should put up as many digital storefronts as possible.
“You should look at e-commerce to be present in all of these locations. If traditional retail is about location, in e-commerce, it’s pretty much the same—but in a different meaning altogether,” said Raymund Villanueva, head of business for QR ecosystems at PayMaya, during the Asia ECOMM Forum on August 13.
This approach should also extend to the payment options, which should include point-of-sale terminals for offline purchases, as well as online checkouts, QR payments, and peer-to-peer transfers for online purchases.
“You will never know what your customers are carrying, what they want to pay with, and also what promos and offerings the individual payment providers or consumers look into to maximize their payment wallets or accounts,” said Mr. Villanueva.
Consumers interface with businesses through different channels, depending on their purpose. According to a report by Salesforce, a customer relationship management platform, customers use search engines for discovering and evaluating businesses while e-mail is for customer service and receiving product ideas and coupons.
When it comes to making purchases, 47% of customers buy from online marketplaces. Twenty-six percent buy from retailer’s websites or applications, 18% from direct-to-consumer websites or applications, and 9% from other emerging purchase points such as WeChat and Instagram.
However, there are risks to online transactions. Private information from consumers may be hacked by malicious parties. In the same forum, the National Privacy Commission reported that 44% of data breaches were caused by such attacks.
The Department of Trade and Industry also reported separately that consumer complaints involving online transactions rose by 89.99% during the enhanced community quarantine. Most revolved around overpricing of essential goods, poor customer service, and deceptive sales acts and practices.
In spite of such risks, the dependence on e-commerce may be here to stay, especially with the changes caused by COVID-19. “People have fundamentally changed their behavior, and they’ve learned the benefits of e-commerce, whether it’s the plethora of choice or the cheaper options, and the convenience of it all. What’s more is that… they’re teaching other people to change their behavior as well,” said John Rubio, country director of Facebook.
Businesses must broaden their e-commerce presence, even if the costs may initially shock them, he added. “Yes, these are new costs that you need to get used to, but at the same time, this is where the new businesses are coming. Most people invest in a new location by building a new building. It should be the same mindset when you’re building a new e-commerce presence in a new channel,” said Mr. Villanueva.