The Euromonitor's recent Megatrends Report recognized Manila-based ecommerce enabler Etaily as among the Philippine companies that are shaping the top eight global Megatrends that indicate major shifts in consumer values and behavior. Euromonitor is a trusted information resource in the international business community and provides every year a summary and insights of these pivotal trends and how they manifest and make an impact in various countries.
The 2021 edition of the Euromonitor Megatrends Report cited, in particular, Etaily as a solutions provider that is uniquely positioned to help Filipino retailers achieve their full digital potential even---or especially---during the pandemic. According to the report, “Etaily’s expansion is expected to drive the growth and development of e-Commerce among local businesses, giving them the chance to create an omnichannel experience and expand their customer base in the face of growing competition from international e-commerce giants.”
Etaily’s Founder Alexander Friedhoff says, “We appreciate that this Report has recognized our contribution in empowering Philippine retailers to establish and grow their brand in the eCommerce space. Our partners are in the sweet spot, as the Philippines is the fastest-growing market in the region. The entire industry is looking into a bright future. By 2025, the overall internet economy will likely reach $40 billion in value. We are grateful that Euromonitor selected Etaily as one of the companies that are part of that incredible growth.”
Trend to go local
The Philippines has risen as one of the fastest-growing internet economies, fueled by eCommerce, in Southeast Asia, which in turn is one of the most dynamic and rapidly expanding regions in the world.
The growth of Philippine eCommerce is likewise propelled by a trend showing the buying public’s increasing preference to patronize local brands and products. According to the Megatrends Report, 39% of Filipinos prefer to purchase local products while another 40% are more interested in shopping in local stores. These figures are higher than the global average of 28%.
Friedhoff comments on this development: “As an omni-channel solution provider, we are equipped and well-positioned to enable Filipino retailers achieve their full eCommerce potential and make their products available to the country. It is for this reason that our company was featured in the Megatrends Report.”
He also gives this forecast about digital enterprises in the country, especially given the alert levels steadily being lowered: “The growth of e-Commerce is here to stay. It is wonderful to see shoppers start heading back to stores in droves, and the malls becoming more occupied.
“The question does arise: will the growth of online shopping continue to boom? We at Etaily say that, yes, online shopping will still expand and accelerate far more than it did before the shutdowns and social distancing.”
One factor that can fuel this growth is the availability of numerous shopping choices. The Euromonitor report also shows that 71% of Filipinos feel they have greater access to foreign brands today compared to five years ago.
Challenges and opportunities
Etaily studies also show that eCommerce growth will trigger various trends: the move towards omni-channel; and the integration of offline and online channels. Friedhoff elaborates, “This megatrend of connectivity is the central driving force for online retailing. It would be a mistake to think that the growth of eCommerce will cause the so-called demise of brick-and-mortar retail. In fact, through this kind of dynamic, the new technologies will even bring stationary retail back to its original strengths.”
Businesses who do want to transition into eCommerce face two major challenges, which Friedhoff categorizes as the differentiation and hygiene factors respectively.
When it comes to differentiation, retailers must be able to adopt unique and trending platforms in order to stand out from the competition. One example is how Chinese eCommerce players capitalized on the popularity of Tiktok, especially its shopping function, among their mobile-generation consumers. As a result, the live-streaming shopping market of TikTok, first pioneered by China's online shopping giant Alibaba in 2016, is challenging Alibaba's main businesses, Taobao and the more upmarket Tianmao.
Friedhoff emphasizes that these same developments can happen in the Philippines, as shown by streaming platform Kumu’s pioneering its eCommerce function and launching a new marketplace tier in their Live eCommerce branch.
He also sees MSMEs finding “great opportunities” to grow using eCommerce as a platform. Fulfilling these potentials is a matter of responding to the hygiene factor where retailers must have the necessary systems such as order management and content management systems to connect seamlessly with relevant platforms like Lazada and Shopee. At the same time, they must be able to sustainably break down data silos to be able to extract information from operational data while uncovering optimization potential for the entire organization.
Omnichannel is the future
Friedhoff explains further, “If retailers have systems that connect a platform like Kumu to the order management system, which in turn connects to the warehouse management system, then they will find themselves very strongly positioned. But the real question is how quickly retailers will manage to align their processes accordingly. Online retail must have a synergistic relationship with stationary retail to be interconnected.”
One aspect that makes this transition to eCommerce quick and efficient is that “the technology to do so does exist,” says Friedhoff. “In Etaily, we have developed these systems to provide a simple and user-friendly omnichannel presence.”
Etaily’s full suite of services encompassing everything that MSMEs need to sell online and thrive in the digital economy can help them achieve their business goals and expansion strategies. As acknowledged by Euromonitor, its acceleration of these companies’ transition into eCommerce, servicing a demanding online consumer base, has included Etaily among the global market trendsetters.