On-Line Shopping: From Gizmos to Cars

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It was a highly-anticipated date by would-be shoppers—11-1—so much so that news stories, advertisements and even memes proliferated weeks before that red-letter day.  Everyone who is into e-commerce knows the significance of that day;  from the add-to-cart button, they can now proceed-to-purchase, given the generous discounts. 

Evidently, the Covid-19 crisis is still very much around us but there is also the other side to this pandemic. There are rays of hope as a prospective vaccine is on the horizon and doctors’ now know more about the virus to better treat those afflicted compared to when the virus was first reported on our shores. For manufacturers and consumers alike, the emergence of e-commerce or doing business in the internet offers a multitude of opportunities for the economy to grow and the convenience and health safety for buyers like you and me. 

Current advancements in digital technology and connectivity are helping the private sector, governments, civil society, trade and industry, etc., move forward into a brave, new world of e-commerce. With increasing speeds in connectivity brought about by fiber and satellite technology, the digital economy is growing at an unparalleled pace. Rapid technological advancements have created incredible opportunities, as well as new challenges, for markets the world over that will impact the lives of every Filipinos born and yet to be born. 

The Covid-19 pandemic has further accelerated the need for digital solutions, tools, and services, speeding up the transition towards a robust digital economy. Not surprisingly, e-commerce in the Philippines has grown exponentially since Covid-19 drastically changed everyone’s lives. Because of limited mobility that resulted from the necessary lockdowns, Filipinos are now heavily relying on online shopping for their needs through their smartphones and have their purchased items delivered in front of their doorsteps.

Take the case of Shopee, a personal favorite of my youngest daughter who delights in filling up her cart (although her allowance to buy new stuff is limited to her “baon” for the week—yes dear readers, even those in on-line class instruction expect some cash to line their pockets too). Martin Yu, associate director of Shopee Philippines, said that brands and MSMEs as well are going into e-commerce to cater to the new consumer behavior shaped by the pandemic. Shopee, according to him, “Experienced a 60 percent increase year-on-year to 18,000 sellers in the second quarter of 2020 in the Southeast Asian region.” He affirmed e-commerce activity has seen rapid growth since the onset of the pandemic. “At Shopee, we harness this growth by ramping up seller education initiatives to ensure that MSMEs are equipped with the tools to grow their businesses,” Yu said. 

And then of course, you can go on-line nowadays to shop for the car of your dreams. This is what Maybank Zone, a pioneering online portal, from Maybank PH recently launched to make it accessible for buyers to walk through different car dealer shops and choose the cars they need or want. The journey from choosing to eventually buying a car has been simplified through this new and exciting digital channel with the virtual car dealership-hopping experience as the starting point and applying for a Maybank auto loan as the end point of this convenient experience.

According to Dexter Go, Head of Maybank PH Digital Banking, when visiting the zone, customers are welcomed to the virtual car showroom where one can search by brand, price points or model or type of car. Alternatively, if one already has a specific brand preference, a click on any of the brand logos in the virtual showroom will lead to their digital catalogue, which features an extensive list of car options. Once a customer has made his choice, he can request for a quotation, and subsequently apply for a Maybank Auto Loan without having to leave the site. All of these interactions are all virtual — on-line, without leaving the comforts of home.

Maybank Philippines President and Chief Executive Officer Choong Wai Hong affirms, that they needed to pivot to address the changing business landscape. “We are dedicated to reinvent our products and services to provide better solutions for the community. We have decided to shift gears with our Auto Loan product and bring our clients’ car buying experience to the digital platform.”

Now, let me see if I can apply for that dream car I have been longing for. 

Peachy Vibal – Guioguio is a PR strategist who has lead communications departments in GMA Network, ABS-CBN, and TV5. She enjoys long drives, taking scenic routes, and finds a thrill going wherever she pleases behind a wheel. She has yet to learn how to replace a flat tire.

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