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Empowering MSMEs today toward digital adoption

/ 03:58 AM September 27, 2021

Martin Cu —CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

As the sector that enables the vital movement of goods and products from one place to another, logistics has always been an indispensable part of the Philippine economy.

However, it has faced a lot of challenges in the past year due to restricted movement of goods, delay in manufacturing and fewer imports, which are direct impacts of the pandemic. The otherwise fast-paced growth of the industry has been hindered, but fortunately, the e-commerce boom has pumped new life to it.

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E-commerce has risen in popularity in the country as more and more people opted to shop online for their safety and convenience. iPrice reported a 53-percent increase in terms of Filipinos’ shopping app usage and 57 percent in online spending in the first half of 2020 compared to the same period in the previous year.

On the flip side, more than 73 percent of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) were forced to close their business when the lockdown was implemented, and those that continued their operations experienced a sizable decrease in sales and revenue according to a survey by the Asian Development Bank.

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For the MSME sector, delving into e-commerce is an opportunity to embrace digital transformation and innovation in order to grow and serve their customers amid the crisis.

Logistics in e-commerce

Logistics is the backbone of e-commerce. Without a robust logistics network to operate in, e-commerce activity would become laggard.

In a report, Ken Research forecasted that the Philippine e-commerce logistics market will continue to experience substantial growth in the future due to the shift from offline sales to online sales, and will evolve with new technologies to increase efficiency, improve customer experience and enhance service quality.

Logistics also play a key role in connecting both shoppers and consumers. Because of this, courier companies and logistic providers are forced to think of innovative ways to service two stakeholders that are paramount to the success of the industry.

The rapid e-commerce growth during a pandemic called for increased focus on safety. At Ninja Van Philippines, technology is fully utilized through the implementation of contactless pickups and deliveries. This ensures that our customers and riders are safe from potential health risks brought about by the pandemic. Embracing technology allowed us to aggressively navigate the challenges of the crisis while ensuring that we take care of our employees, sellers and customers.

We also saw the need for quicker and more transparent communications to ensure that our stakeholders feel that they can receive support from us quickly.

Servicing MSMEs

During the onset of the lockdown, many of our shippers identified financing as an immediate need to expand their businesses given the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Most online businesses were challenged by the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine in March 2020, which restricted nonessential e-commerce activity.

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As a response, we ramped up our service, COD Advance, that enables online sellers to collect their COD (cash on delivery) payments the day after their parcels have been picked up. Together with the quick remittance of payments, the service also offers zero interest rates, no collateral and no lock-in period required for MSMEs who decide to use it.

Moreover, Ninja Van invests heavily in providing MSMEs with services and tools to make the e-commerce process easier for them.

Aside from COD Advance, we also have services like Ninja Direct that allows sellers to import goods from China and Thailand, and even local places like Divisoria to explore new ways to expand their businesses. We are also committed to provide useful business insights through our Ninja Blog as well as community initiatives such as the Ninja Van Philippines Masterclass and online bazaars that aim to nurture MSMEs.

Recognizing the importance of MSMEs in the country’s economic development, we aim to support them to go beyond through our service and speed. By providing them with the logistical support they need and a wide range of services to ensure easy digital adoption, we aim to help them get back on their feet and be empowered to face the ever-changing e-commerce logistics landscape. —CONTRIBUTED INQ

Martin Cu is the country head of Ninja Van Philippines.

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