Online marketplaces such as Amazon or Alibaba have been around for a few years now but with lockdowns in place around the world, online shopping has boomed. These marketplaces and shopping platforms are making it easier to get essential items without ever having to leave your home. With a vast number of sellers available online, you have millions of options at your fingertips.
Some app platforms such as Grab and Food Panda have taken note of this shift and now provide grocery shopping options. Customers can book a delivery person, who is essentially a personal shopper, to do the groceries and deliver it straight to their doorstep. Depending on the platform, purchased items can be delivered within an hour of purchase making it a convenient way to shop for essential home goods. With a reduction of foot traffic due to the pandemic, malls are even offering personal shopping services. Clients can book an online appointment with a personal shopper who will then visit the stores they wish to purchase items from.
Social media platforms are also being used to get products in the hands of more consumers. Facebook has their Marketplace section with products being sold in a variety of categories ranging from gardening items and tools to automobiles and baby clothes. Sellers are even utilising the “Live” option on Facebook to recreate virtual home shopping networks. Followers can tune into the live feed and purchase items in real-time. They can even send messages in the chat section of the live video, allowing sellers to reply over the video feed. Instagram is also being used by small businesses to sell their items in small batches. Businesses owners can post items on their feed where followers can essentially bid for them in the comments section. This is especially relevant for thrift store owners or secondhand shops who have had to pivot their businesses online.
Etsy, a marketplace known for hosting a creative seller base, is making it easier for consumers to find unique or one of a kind pieces from around the world. Borders are no longer a limitation as most shops offer worldwide shipping. The vastness of the online shopping world has also made it easier for resellers to find customers. For example, the PlayStation 5 which has been sold out in many countries can be found online being sold by unofficial distributors, albeit with a higher price tag. Collectors can find their limited-edition toys online or be notified of the latest releases from their favourite brands. Even artists are moving their art shows to virtual shows allowing buyers from around the world access to their body of work.
With more and more consumers gaining confidence in making purchases online, the need to visit physical stores is becoming less relevant in the Philippines. Even with the holiday season coming up, the number of foot traffic in physical stores and malls is less than in previous years, which would have been unthinkable pre-pandemic, such is the Filipino’s love of malls. It seems like the online shopping boom is not just a trend but it may be the future of how consumers and sellers interact with each other.