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Traditional PH retailers challenged by e-commerce

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02:53 AM August 1st, 2013

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By: Amy R. Remo, August 1st, 2013 02:53 AM

Philippine retailers are now facing “challenging” times with the influx of foreign brands, the rising popularity of e-commerce, and the changing, more sophisticated preferences of consumers.

“[At] no other time has the Filipino consumer been inundated by so many choices,” noted Paul Santos, overall chair of the upcoming 22nd National Retail Conference.

In a briefing Tuesday night, Santos explained that e-commerce alone—where goods and services can readily be purchased over the Internet—may soon hurt the local retail sector. Also affecting retailers is a phenomenon called “showrooming.”

Showrooming occurs when an online seller takes photos of items within a “brick and mortar” shop, posts these on the websites, and sells items at a lower price.

Santos, however, noted that e-commerce sales last year continued to be marginal at roughly 3 percent at most of total retail sales in the country. E-commerce is more prevalent and applicable for other purchases like booking a hotel or a flight.

“We’re not that affected yet but [e-commerce] is starting to grow. There’s a lot of room for growth,” he further said.

Margaret Martinez, retail services director of GfK Asia Pte. Ltd., further stressed the need for local retailers to know how to keep up with the times, and how both the consumers and the landscape are changing.

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