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Paving the road to digital consumerism

The continuous rise of e-commerce is a direct result of the growing demand for both convenience and expedience in doing things. Everything we need today appears to be accessible just by a click of a button - shopping for clothes, buying groceries, purchasing medicine, booking tickets - making our past tradition of going in-store seem to be the alternative option. Indeed, this shift towards e-commerce continues to grow, and is expected to further affect our daily lives, as new technologies emerge in light of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The forum hosted by the Licensing Executives Society Philippines last 7 November 2019 tackled the theme, "Beyond the Brick and Mortar: Paving the Road for the Digital Consumers". Prominent government and industry leaders, including Department of Trade and Industry's Assistant Secretary Mary Jean Pacheco, Google Philippines' Industry Head Prep Palacios and Lazada Philippines' Head of Legal Joustine Campaña, provided the audience with their respective thoughts and valuable insights on the topic.

Pacheco emphasized that the country's incredible internet usage is one of the main factors driving e-commerce in the country. With 124.2 million mobile subscriptions, 76 million active Internet users, and an average of 10 hours of Internet usage daily, e-commerce has a solid foundation to work on in the Philippines. The Philippine government sees this as a huge potential in the local e-commerce space.

Nonetheless, Pacheco highlighted that our local e-commerce industry is not without any problem. “Building trust is the main focus of the e-commerce branch of DTI,” Pacheco said. “That’s the number one marching order of the DTI Secretary when he assigned us the e-commerce department. We need to build trust and we need to tell people that it’s safe to buy online.”

Meanwhile, Prep Palacios discussed how the Philippines is at an inflection point, with the next five years to be a period of rapid advancement in the field of e-commerce. She notes that if businesses do not want to get left behind in the advent of digitalization, marketers must lean in to the evolving progressive Filipino behavior, which includes being proactive in discerning information, passionate in pursuing interests, and purposeful in achieving goals.

For his part, Campaña borrowed the words of Jack Ma, Founder and Chairman of Alibaba, where he said that “Old businesses will not go away; but they need to change - immediately.” In support of this, Campaña used the Lazada model as an example where their platform allows businesses to change and adapt to the fast-paced world of e-commerce. According to Campaña, retail is moving online and it is important for businesses to move along with it. He stressed that sellers must be empowered to sell their brands online, and Lazada does that by providing an easy to use platform where sellers can grow their brands, boost sales, while ensuring fast and reliable delivery of their products.

Evidently, e-commerce is here to stay. The only question is - how will your business adapt to this fast-paced environment so as not to get left behind?

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