6 Platforms to Consider When Selling Your Products Online

Apr 28, 2021 9:57:00 PM

The COVID-19 pandemic drastically changed the shopping habits of Filipinos. Instead of walking into one store after another to pick out and purchase the products they need and want, customers are now mostly staying at home, resorting to online shopping for fear of contracting the virus. They are no longer after a hands-on shopping experience, instead seeking shopping options that can be done from the safety and comfort of their own homes.

If you are a business owner, you know full well that you can no longer rely solely on your brick-and-mortar store to sell your products, given the situation. And since going virtual is the new normal, it is essential that you start marketing and selling your products online to reach your customers and to grow your profitability. 

As you prepare to start your expansion or migration  to the digital world, it is important to determine where you are going to sell your products. If you are still in the stage of exploring your options, make sure to take into serious consideration the platforms that are available to you,. Here are some of them.

Your Own E-commerce Website

Perhaps you already have a business website where you showcase your products and receive orders, queries, and other requests. If so, you may want to transform your site into a fully functioning e-commerce website where customers can select the items they want and pay for their purchases online. For this purpose, you need a reliable and hassle-free online payment gateway solution like PayMaya Checkout, which you can integrate seamlessly into your website.  

With PayMaya Checkout, your business website will be able to accept payments from various sources, including credit cards, debit cards, prepaid cards, PayMaya QR, and e-wallets. This payment gateway also supports a variety of payment networks, including Visa, Mastercard, JCB, WeChat Pay, GrabPay, and GCash. If you’re worried that PayMaya Checkout might not exactly fit with the e-commerce builders that hosts your site, you should know that this solution comes with plug-ins that are specifically designed for platforms like Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce and Cafe24, which are the most commonly used by online stores in the Philippines.

Creating your own e-commerce platform offers several advantages. For one, you can build better brand equity, which is particularly important if you are offering products that are unique to your business. You also have more control in terms of design, layout, and content when you have your own site. Moreover, it is easier to personalize your content and implement marketing strategies that suit your business needs and goals if you run your own e-commerce platform. 

Lazada

Founded in 2012 by Maximilian Bittner and acquired by the online retail giant Alibaba Group in 2016, Lazada is the leading e-commerce platform in Southeast Asia. With over 150,000 merchants and 3,000 brands, this online shopping and selling site boasts one of the largest and most comprehensive catalogs of consumer goods in the country, from computers, handheld gadgets, and appliances to household products, cosmetics, and fashion accessories.  

The primary draw of selling through the Lazada platform is its reach and online presence, as the site serves nearly 600 million consumers in the region. According to the recent “Year-End Report on Southeast Asia’s Map of E-commerce,” Lazada welcomes more than 34 million visits every month in the Philippines. Imagine your sales potential and possible customer reach if you choose this online marketplace. 

Lazada also provides tools and assistance to help their sellers market better and earn more. For example, you can visit Lazada University—the platform’s learning portal—for modules, live streams, workshops, conferences, and other resources that can guide you every step of the way, from setting up your online shop to increasing your sales. Essentially, Lazada commits to helping you succeed in your e-commerce venture. 

But while selling on this platform may look like easy work, becoming a successful Lazada seller comes with many challenges, chief among which is the enormous competition faced by many merchants. Take note that Lazada is backed by the Chinese-owned company Alibaba, which means the marketplace is also inundated with very cheap products that are made in China. You also have no choice but to boost your sales as much as you can since you have to pay a commission fee for every successful sales transaction you make on the platform.

Shopee

Shopee was first launched in Singapore in 2015, but it has now expanded to several countries in Southeast and East Asia, as well as Latin America. Dubbed by Tech Asia as one of the “5 disruptive e-commerce startups in 2015” for introducing unique features and elements ignored by other online marketplaces, Shopee is now the second most-visited e-commerce platform in the Philippines, with over 19 million visits a month. 

Similar to Lazada, selling your products via Shopee allows you to reach millions of customers for as long as you adopt the right strategies to increase the visibility of your products. This platform also gives you the chance to make more profit as it employs commission-free selling and free shipping for the first 5 kilograms. Shopee also offers more payment methods than Lazada, such as online banking, credit and debit cards, over-the-counter banking, and e-wallets.

With all its advantages, the Shopee app appears to be slower than the Lazada app, and its user interface is said to be less intuitive. . Perhaps, these are just a couple of the reasons why the platform has a considerably smaller customer base than Lazada. 

Carousell

Established in 2012, Carousell is an online consumer-to-consumer and business-to-consumer marketplace for selling and buying new and pre-loved items. Its operation started in Singapore and has expanded to several countries in Asia, as well as in Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. With more than 40 million listings, Carousell is undoubtedly one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing e-commerce platforms. 

If you are looking for the easiest and cheapest way to sell your products online, you may want to explore Carousell. You can create an account and register for free. You can also list for sale items and complete transactions without worrying about listing and commission fees. All you need to do is take several photos of the products you want to offer, tap the “sell” button, upload the images, write the product description, and click on the final button to list the product.  Carousell allows editing so you can always improve your photos and product information to gain attention.

It is worth noting that this platform does not provide payment and delivery options, so you have to deal with these processes yourself, which could be burdensome and time-consuming. If you are still interested in trying out this platform despite such limitations, you may want to use the PayMaya ONE Lite device to make payments and deliveries easier—provided that you have your own delivery fleet or service, of course.. With this device, you’ll be able to process “cashless on delivery” transactions instead of offering just a cash on delivery option. Your delivery personnel can simply carry this portable device to accept credit, debit, and prepaid cards, as well as e-wallet payments from your customers.

Because Carousell welcomes everyone who wants to sell something, your ability to build brand equity could be affected as there is no distinction between legitimate businesses and sellers that are just hoping to make a quick buck. And since Carousell also accommodates everyone who wants to use its platform, there is a strong possibility that you will encounter annoying or even fake buyers.

Facebook Marketplace

The first iteration of the Facebook Marketplace was initially introduced in 2007 to allow users to post classified ads, but it eventually shut down in 2014 since it did not gain traction. The social media networking giant then relaunched a new version of Marketplace in 2016 in response to the growing demand for an organized “buy and sell” platform within the site. Today, Facebook Marketplace allows both businesses and ordinary Facebook users alike to sell their products online. 

Using this platform is simple and hassle-free. You do not have to be a techie to understand how the system works. Just upload pictures of the products, write a description,  the price, and you are all set. By advertising on this platform, you’re essentially making your products visible to the more than 73 million Facebook users in the Philippines, any one of whom can readily contact you through Facebook Messenger if they are interested in what you offer. Besides providing a direct connection with millions of potential clients, using Facebook Marketplace will not cost you anything, unlike many other e-commerce platforms.

The downside of using this online selling platform is linked to user legitimacy. Since there is hardly any system to separate legitimate and fraudulent merchants and buyers, you have to exert additional effort to ensure that your business account looks professional to set it apart from other sellers—or worse, scammers. You also have to brace yourself for an onslaught of messages from all types of buyers.

Additionally, Facebook Marketplace does not have a built-in payment infrastructure, so all financial transactions have to be conducted outside of the platform.

Instagram

Instagram is a popular social networking platform that allows users to edit, upload, and share images and videos. Although Filipinos mainly use this photo-sharing app to follow their favorite celebrities and influencers, Instagram has transformed into an invaluable marketing tool for businesses. In fact, Instagram recently launched a new checkout option so that American users with businesses and shops can directly sell their items on the app itself.

While the Philippines is still waiting for the Instagram Checkout feature to be released locally, it does not mean that you cannot use the platform for selling your products now. When you use the appropriate hashtags, upload visually pleasing photos, and post interesting content about your products, any one of the 10 million Filipino Instagram users may find you. You can casually interact and engage with users,  use Instagram stories and stream live videos to build an online presence, share your content with other social media platforms, and let buyers reach you through Instagram Direct, giving you the chance to connect with clients personally.

Because Instagram Checkout is not yet available in the country, you have to manually arrange for payment and logistics if you choose this platform, much like you would do when you’re selling on Facebook Marketplace. You can partner with a reputable delivery and shipping firm to transport your products. If you want assurance that all items you ship out are paid accordingly, you may want to consider using the PayMaya Digital Invoice solution to bill your customers. This system lets you forward digital invoices to clients via email, chat, or SMS, and you’ll be able to accept card and e-wallet payments from customers. 

Choosing the right e-commerce platform requires careful consideration as it can significantly impact the success of your online business.  Take the time to weigh the pros and cons of each digital platform, and explore the possibility of selling on multiple platforms. More importantly, do not forget to consider your needs, the customer base you want to reach, and the future direction you want for your business. 

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