Sellers on Facebook advised to give discounts to increase online sales

Published August 28, 2020, 5:05 PM

by Madelaine B. Miraflor

Filipino sellers on Facebook are advised to take advantage of traditional business strategies like putting up sales, discounts and live shopping experience to drive Christmas sales amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Facebook Philippines’ Country Director John Rubio

According to Facebook Philippines’ Country Director John Rubio the economic downturn triggered by COVID-19 pandemic will expedite the rise of Mega Sales in the country.

Rubio also said that businesses on Facebook don’t have to be accredited sellers on e-commerce platforms like Lazada and Shopee to take advantage of certain business strategies that could boost their sales during tough times.

“Consumers have been conditioned for [business strategies like] having Mega Sales,” Rubio said in a virtual media briefing Friday.

“Price sensitivity is heightened now and we are worried about the future because of the pandemic. Price will be the greatest holiday concern. People will be looking at bargains,” he added.

Another business strategy, he said, is by starting a LIVE shopping experience, an e-commerce solution that lets customers interact with sellers while they show the features of their products.

For her part, Blessie Santos, an entrepreneur who just recently ventured into online selling, said Rubio’s suggestion about having sales and discounts is a great idea, especially amid the growing competition among online sellers.

“Pinoys also generally love sales and discounts so we will definitely consider this,” Santos told Business Bulletin.

Santos, 35, currently facilitates the online selling of C&S Food Products Corp.’s processed meat products like tocino, bacon, tapa, and longganisa.

She said that she expects her sales during the Christmas season to pick up since a lot of people are still anxious about going out.

Santos uses Facebook as her main online selling platform because “almost everyone has Facebook accounts and it is easier for these people to see what you’re selling.”

She, however, said that there are still issues about the platform that can be improved.

She cited the proliferation of fraud buyers and sellers. She suggested for Facebook to start a verification process to instill a sense of accountability among sellers and buyers.

Rubio made assurance that protecting its users is their priority.

“We do this in different ways. We have community guidelines of what you can and can’t do. If you do bad things, your post gets taken down or you are totally removed from the platform,” Rubio said.

Aside from the community guidelines, Facebook also has automated tools that help people report as well as on-going learning programs educating both sellers and consumers.

With more businesses going online, Rubio said online sales of all businesses this year will be significantly higher than last year. One trend he saw is the participation of Generation X and Boomers in the social media. They are now the newest market for e-commerce.

Self-gifting is another trend. According to Rubio, because a lot of people are “getting stressed and depressed” during the pandemic, they sometimes find “positive outlets” through retail therapy.

Another trend is people’s receptiveness to new products and services like doing groceries online and sending money through mobile cash transfers.

Items that are largely being online now are food, household essentials, personal care products, alcohol, and clothing, Rubio further said.

To further engaged customers, Rubio said that Facebook’s instant messaging has become more responsive than other e-commerce apps.

“64 percent of all Gen X and Boomer holiday shoppers surveyed in the Philippines said they are more likely to buy from a business if they are able to instant message them,” Rubio said.

Globally, there are 180 million business pages on Facebook. Of this, only 9 million of them are actual advertisers. Facebook has no data as to how many of these businesses are from the Philippines.