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While most small business owners and startups based in the Philippines understand the importance of having a website for building brand equity and driving conversions, many struggle to create websites that are truly profitable. for Filipino consumers. As a result, many local businesses underinvest in their own online assets and continue to rely on restrictive third-party e-commerce platforms such as Facebook Marketplace, Shopee, Lazada, etc. yet, which is lost in a serious path of growth.
Fortunately, entrepreneurs don’t need to reinvent the wheel to create a successful website. In many cases, all that needs to be done is to continually address points of friction in online processes that cause customers to leave websites or abandon their carts while being mindful of the ways in which consumers Filipinos are different from their foreign counterparts. Here, we explore some common friction points that Filipino customers often face with local e-commerce websites:
1) Limited Payment Options
Many local e-commerce websites fail to get the traction they need because they do not provide Filipino consumers with the payment options they are most comfortable with. While Filipinos are now familiar with e-commerce, many still prefer to pay in cash. Given this knowledge, consider offering cash on delivery (COD) if it is a viable option to integrate into your logistics process.
Furthermore, while it is always a good idea to offer payments through bank transfers and credit cards, it is important to remember that many Filipinos still do not have access to mainstream financial services. Even those who have bank accounts and credit cards may hesitate to use them for online payments because of a lack of trust in e-commerce. As such, it may be a good idea to use an online payment gateway that will help you accommodate customers who may prefer to process their online payments through secure digital wallets. like Maya. Specific Maya plugins for popular e-commerce platforms like Shopify and WooCommerce can also make it easy to integrate these payment options.
With this in mind, online merchants should always strive to offer payment methods that their customers prefer.
2) Local Language Barriers
A major point of contention for Filipino customers is encountering e-commerce websites that are not available in local languages, especially Tagalog, Cebuano, or Ilocano. If a website is only available in English, it is likely that it will only be able to engage middle and upper class Filipino users, as individuals from these groups tend to have more exposure to the language. . While most other Filipinos are fairly literate in English, many are still most comfortable with content written in their own language.
If a website is targeting a lower middle or working class audience, offer multilingual support and ensure that the main elements of the website, including product descriptions and navigation, are available as desired. which local languages greatly improve the user experience (UX). In turn, this superior UX can result in repeat visits, increased engagement, and better conversion rates for a website.
3) Lack of Mobile Optimization
Since almost every Filipino adult owns a smartphone but not a desktop computer, it is no surprise that the majority of online traffic in the Philippines is generated through mobile devices. If you already manage an e-commerce site in the Philippines, it is likely that more than 90% of its traffic comes from smartphones and tablets.
Unfortunately, not all local websites are well optimized for local users. The main reason for this seems to be the fact that web development and design is overwhelmingly done on desktop computers, with mobile optimization often happening as an afterthought, if it happens at all.
A lack of mobile optimization can lead to a poor user experience, making it difficult for customers to browse and make purchases. By deliberately using responsive design and continuously testing for intuitive mobile navigation, local e-commerce sites can ensure success in the Philippine market.
4) Slow Website Loading Speeds
Although local internet speeds have improved over the past few years, many Filipinos still have limited access to broadband internet. This means that resource-intensive websites are not accessible or usable for many local users, especially in remote areas with limited digital infrastructure.
Because of this, local online merchants should avoid creating overly complex websites and focus on creating a fast user experience (UX). Compressing images, minimizing scripts, and using caching techniques can help improve the loading speed of existing websites. Ideally, however, websites targeted at Filipino users should be developed for optimal loading speed from the start.
5) Inadequate Return and Exchange Policies
In the Philippines, hassle-free return and exchange policies have been a driver for e-commerce adoption, helping to build trust and distinguish online businesses from traditional stores with non- liberal return and exchange rules. Online businesses that want to gain a larger share of the Philippine market, therefore, should avoid creating return policies that are unclear, restrictive, or difficult to understand. While some losses are inevitable, a clear and customer-friendly return and exchange policy can improve customer confidence and encourage repeat purchases, ultimately driving business growth.
6) Complicated Checkout Process
A complicated and time-consuming checkout process is likely to lead to cart abandonment, especially in less mature e-commerce markets like the Philippines. Simplifying the steps required to complete a purchase, minimizing form fields, and offering guest checkout options can help streamline the process and improve conversion rates. Ready-to-use third-party internet payment solutions such as Maya Checkout can also be implemented on existing sites to create a smoother experience for visitors. In addition, plug-and-play solutions such as Maya’s Shopify and WooCommerce plugins will make the integration of payment solutions easier for businesses whose websites use these popular e-commerce platforms.
By understanding and addressing common issues that Filipino customers encounter on e-commerce websites, small business owners can improve the UX of their sites, drive customer satisfaction, and lay the foundation for future success. Continuously making customer-centric optimizations should, over time, help local merchants build lasting relationships with Filipino shoppers, positioning them for growth in the rapidly expanding world of e-commerce. Philippines.
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