The transition into the digital space in its many forms has been challenging women business owners to integrate the various aspects of their lives in a more seamless, efficient way. Because of remote work and/or their new online shops, they have to balance their office and business duties with personal and family lives on a much closer scale. Tatiana Cziomer, Chief Operating Officer of e-commerce enabler Etaily, gives her insights into how the company’s solutions are making the operation of digital transactions easier, more user-friendly, and an important factor in business growth.
Throughout her own journey in the e-commerce space, Cziomer has found the tech industry to be supportive of women in all sorts of professional endeavors. She says, “Women and men are equally empowered in the retail and tech industries. I feel very lucky to be in a very diverse, inclusive industry where women with the right skills and attitude have the same opportunity as men.”
Flexibility and growth
Cziomer has always been involved in tech since her Philippine Science High School days, eventually taking up industrial engineering in the University of the Philippines. Her first job was tech consulting for Hewlett-Packard before moving on to pioneering digital marketplace Lazada. A few years later, Etaily drew her in because of “its vision rooted in using data and tech to enable merchants in their e-commerce journey. I also had the opportunity to build something ground up.”
Etaily helps brands and merchants to go online and manage their various online channels, from the major marketplace platforms like Lazada and Shopee; instant commerce platforms such as Grabmart and Pandamart; to their own respective brand websites and apps. Setting it apart from other providers is its holistic service that leverages data, analytics, and tech to create an end-to-end e-commerce strategy for brands. Cziomer explains the importance of a more holistic strategy: “Brands today no longer just look for logistics and fulfillment services—they want a consulting and strategic partner. This is what Etaily is here for.”
Cziomer, a mother of three children, explains how the flexibility offered by e-commerce became a gamechanger for women: “Women who are staying at home and starting a family can run a business compared to the former way of doing business with a brick-and-mortar store. SMEs boomed during the pandemic. You can start a mom-and-pop store at home.
“To create an online store, you have simple software that is easy to use with just drag and drop. Before, you had to know how to code before putting up your own website.”
Cziomer also illustrated how the challenges of the pandemic brought out the innovativeness of women entrepreneurs like the fashion retailers. “People were not working, going to school, or going out in general, thus sales of shoes and clothes were hurt,” she said. “To solve that problem, these women focused their business on selling clothes that you can wear at home: comfortable, but still presentable when you go to an online meeting. It’s sosyal na pambahay — we call it ‘loungewear.’ Filipina women are adaptable, flexible, and creative.”
One huge game-changer in e-commerce that will enable these women to further expand their market is the distributed fulfillment network; it allows direct deliveries from warehouses in the customer’s area, allowing for shorter delivery times and cheaper shipping costs. The Etaily O2O platform makes fulfillment safer, more reliable, and faster because of its network of multiple warehouses, distribution centers, and retail stores nationwide.
“Before, the customer expectation for online delivery was one week,” Cziomer explains this change. “But now expectation has increased to same-day delivery.” She cites one case study: “Before, Visayans did not want to order from the NCR because shipping is expensive; they would rather go to the grocery stores. But now, we can fulfill their orders from the distributor center in the Visayas, and not have the product come from the NCR. This process shortens the delivery time and makes it more cost-effective.”
The next tech trends
Long before COVID-19, Cziomer could anticipate tech trends and adapt accordingly, among them work-from-home. “Even though I was just starting to raise a family back then, I had and continue to have a very good environment continuing my career. I could do my work anywhere even before WFH became fashionable.”
The next tech developments she sees happening have to do with the integration of shopping functionalities in the social media platforms, and the rise of more personalized shopping experiences.
Most of all, Cziomer’s inner parent, mentor, and tech guru looks forward to nurturing the talents of the next generation of digital nomads and tech-savvy experts. “I am personally passionate about encouraging kids to go into tech,” she says. “With tech, there are so many new careers now that did not exist before but which you can now explore. The Philippines has tech-enabled companies like Etaily that can have a powerful influence in Southeast Asia. We have the tech talent, and it’s a matter of bringing together that innovation so that we can compete with other countries.”