Setting up an online store in the Philippines has never been more tempting than it is today. With more and more Filipinos turning to online shopping to buy and sell goods (thanks to COVID-19 pandemic), the country’s ecommerce industry is growing at a rapid pace. According to Statista, revenue in the ecommerce market is projected to reach US$18.16bn in 2023.
With such a lucrative market, it only entices more businesses to venture into the online space. And that can only mean one thing – competition. So to help you stand out against competition, we have a guide on how to sell online in the Philippines.
But in this article, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know to set up your own online store in the Philippines. By following our guide, you can ensure that you take the correct initial steps to prevent wasting time and money in the early stages.
Step 1: Choose a platform
The initial step towards launching an online store is to pick a platform that can either host your website or enable you to upload your inventory of products for sale. Without a platform, there’s no way to showcase your merchandise online.
There are various types of platforms to choose from, such as ecommerce platforms like Magento, website builders like Shopify, or social media accounts like Instagram. These platforms entail costs in different ways, so selecting the appropriate platform primarily depends on your budget.
And if you decide to utilise the website builder option, there are free platforms available on the market such as Shopboxo, which allows you to create an online store without any cost.
Each platform has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to do your research and choose the one that best suits your online business plans and goals.
Step 2: Register your business
This second step is an important step and should not be overlooked. To operate a legitimate online store in the Philippines, you need to register your business with the appropriate government agencies.
So before launching your online business, you need to ensure that it is legally permissible to operate and that you also possess the necessary permits and licences. Otherwise, your online business will be in a vulnerable position and at risk of facing potential sanctions including fines, penalties and business closure.
To help you save time on researching the requirements, here’s the list of government offices you need to register with:
- Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) – For sole proprietors, registering the business name at any DTI office is mandatory.
- Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) – Partnerships and corporations must register at the SEC Building in EDSA Greenhills.
- Local government – You also require a mayor’s permit or municipal licence from the city hall or municipal hall in your location.
- Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) – Regardless of whether all your business dealings are online, BIR registration is still mandatory. After registration, you’ll receive a business tax identification number (TIN) and authorization to issue official receipts and invoices.
- Pag-IBIG, PhilHealth, and SSS – If you hire employees for your online business, you must also register as an employer with these government agencies.
Step 3: Set up payment methods
Anything that revolves around selling involves payment, including online. Hence, before you can accept payments from customers, you’ll need to first set up payment methods on your website. Popular options in the Philippines include credit cards, PayPal, E-wallets and online banking.
When choosing your payment methods, consider these two key factors:
- Convenience – Way of paying and receiving payments should be in the most convenient manner for both your customers and your business.
- Security – All modes of payment should be secure. Without encryption, you are putting both your customers and your online business at risk and that can significantly impact your sales conversion.
There is good news if you are using Shopboxo as your ecommerce platform. The platform comes pre-integrated with e-wallets like GrabPay, GCash and PayMaya. Simply choose your preferred payment gateway and your store is ready to process payments. Visit our payment page to learn more.
Step 4: Establish your delivery methods
Choosing the right delivery method is crucial for any online business. Depending on the scale of your operations, you can opt for meet-ups or engage a courier service or third-party logistics (3PL) provider.
For small, home-based businesses, arranging for a common collection point may be more practical. But if you’re managing a larger volume of orders, outsourcing fulfilment to a 3PL can help you focus on your core business activities.
If you’re using Shopboxo to set up your online store, the platform is pre-integrated with delivery partners like NinjaVan. This simplifies the entire process, allowing you to manage everything from one platform.
Regardless of the delivery method you choose, timely delivery should always be a top priority. In the fiercely competitive e-commerce landscape, delays can hurt your bottom line and your reputation. Customers expect speedy and reliable shipping, so it’s important to choose the most efficient and cost-effective options available.
Step 5: Create product listings
Once your ecommerce website is fully operational, including integrated payment and delivery methods, (and with your business registered), you can begin creating product listings for your online store.
Provide your potential customers with detailed descriptions and pricing information to ensure they understand what they are purchasing. Additionally, use high-quality images to showcase your products in great detail. If you plan on starting an online food business, we have valuable tips on food photography that can help you improve your business.
If your product inventory includes multiple variants or different types, make sure to categorise them accordingly. This will simplify the search process for customers and help them locate what they are searching for.
One benefit of using Shopboxo is its ability to facilitate mass product uploads and edits, which saves valuable time in managing your product inventory. The platform also allows you to quickly add or categorise variants with just a few clicks.
Step 6: Market your online store
After successfully uploading all your products to your online store, it’s time to shift your focus to marketing and attract customers to your website.
There are various marketing strategies to explore, but at the initial stage of your business, when you are looking to limit your expenses, you can opt for cheaper alternatives such as social media marketing, email marketing, and potentially paid advertising as well.
To maximise your marketing efforts, start by identifying your target audience so that you can create more targeted marketing campaigns that resonate with them. This will help you achieve better results and increase your chances of success.
To set up an online store in the Philippines, it is essential to plan and execute the process with caution. Adhering to these six steps can help you mitigate any unnecessary risks to your online website and prevent wasting time and money.
For those who have already registered with Shopboxo and wish to create their online store, our quick guide outlines three straightforward steps to assist you in the setup process.