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Shopee improves platform to help MSMEs embrace digital transactions

Shopee continues to expand its workable digital platform to help retailers future-proof their businesses, embrace digitalization, and establish a successful online presence. Shopee proves its commitment to support MSMEs by developing the Shopee Seller Education Hub, maintaining a robust digital infrastructure, and reinforcing partnerships with various organizations.

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Shopee, an e-commerce platform in Southeast Asia and Taiwan, continues to enhance its robust e-commerce ecosystem to help entrepreneurs and MSMEs go digital more seamlessly and effectively. 

With most physical stores forced to close due to the pandemic, there has been a steady increase of online sellers onboarding the platform. With this, Shopee continues to expand its workable digital platform to help retailers future-proof their businesses, embrace digitalization, and establish a successful online presence. Shopee proves its commitment to support MSMEs by developing the Shopee Seller Education Hub, maintaining a robust digital infrastructure, and reinforcing partnerships with various organizations. 

Martin Yu, Director at Shopee Philippines, points out how important it is for businesses to embrace digitalization. “The global situation has accelerated digital transformation, as more brands and MSMEs explore the opportunities of e-commerce to reach a wider audience. As the marketing landscape changes at a rapid pace, Shopee will continue to offer improved in-app features and initiatives to cater to the growing demand for e-commerce here in the Philippines.” 

Shopee Seller Education

The Shopee Seller Education Hub hosts modules on how to cultivate an online presence and boost sales. It helps MSMEs ease their way into the digital world through seller masterclasses tackling various e-commerce topics. These include sharing how-tos on running effective campaigns and growing the business, proper guidelines on handling return and refund requests, managing listing assets, boosting sales using available marketing tools, and creating awareness of the target market through activity and business insights.

Strong Marketing Tools

Shopee continues to help sellers maximize the features of its platform, engage with customers online, and understand the industry as a whole. With in-app features such as Shopee Live and  ShopeePay, sellers can enjoy a smooth and engaging selling experience on the platform. 

Shopee Live is an in-app feature where sellers can interact with their customers and answer real-time questions and inquiries regarding a product. This feature gives the seller and the consumer a more connected shopping experience. 

Shopee Live added three new features to make online shopping more engaging and drives sales for businesses. 

  • The ‘Mine’ Feature 

Users can reserve an item during a live stream by tapping the ‘Mine’ button. It will generate the usernames of the first ten tappers so that the seller can contact the buyers to make the sale*. 

  • The Poll Feature Guide

Sellers can create engaging polls about trivia and questions. The Poll Feature also helps sellers decide which items are requested by the viewers. 

  • The Co-streaming Feature

Sellers can invite their viewers to join them in the stream and is best used when a seller wants to increase their engagement through games and interactions. 

Seamless and convenient digital payments 

ShopeePay, Shopee’s in-app e-wallet, on the other hand, allows shoppers to pay for purchases and sellers to withdraw earnings conveniently. Recently, ShopeePay also added more billers to its lineup. Users can now top-up RFID stickers, pay for NBI clearance applications, and pay for their Smart mobile plans, Meralco electricity bills, Maynilad bills, and many more.

Reinforced Partnerships

Through strategic partnerships with government agencies and various organizations, Shopee can reach more MSMEs effectively and help them expand their businesses on Shopee’s platform. Joint initiatives with the government include CTRL + BIZ: Reboot Now!, a series of webinars where MSMEs can learn how to transform their businesses digitally.

Shopee also partnered with regional and provincial DTI offices in providing masterclasses to sellers. Shopee assisted in onboarding sellers from Regions III, IV, and XII, and provinces such as Nueva Ecija and Zambales. Shopee partnered with foreign organizations such as USAID to provide more than 500 women entrepreneurs with integrated digital marketing training. These programs help sellers maximize the use of digital platforms to expand and boost their businesses.

Yu said, “Shopee wants to make e-commerce accessible for everyone. Our goal is to evolve quickly to cater to our customers’ and sellers’ needs. Shopee continuously provides different initiatives that enable our retailers to go digital easily and quickly. It is a commitment that we take seriously, and we will continue to connect people and businesses, support MSMEs’ transition to a digital economy, and power the next wave of growth in the industry.”

Download the Shopee app for free on the App Store or Google Play Store. 

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Xendit launches payment gateway services to individual business owners

When individual sellers integrate their business with Xendit, their customers can make direct payments via direct debit through Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) and UnionBank of the Philippines (UBP), e-wallets such as GCash, GrabPay, and PayMaya, or Over-the-Counter via 7-Eleven and Cebuana Lhuillier. Meanwhile, sole proprietors, corporations, and partnerships can also process credit card payments.

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The ongoing pandemic has brought out the creative side of many Filipinos, who have found ways to supplement their incomes by selling various products or services on social media. Xendit is making it easier for individual business owners to settle payments with access to a world-class platform that makes billings simple, secure, and easy.

“The pandemic has seen a rise in individual sellers who utilize social media to sell their goods and services. The digital nature of transactions means payment methods need to adapt. We want to empower these rising contributors to the Philippine economy with a platform that handles payments for them while they focus on their business,” says Alyzza Acacio, Philippine SME Task Force Lead of Xendit Philippines.

When individual sellers integrate their business with Xendit, their customers can make direct payments via direct debit through Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) and UnionBank of the Philippines (UBP), e-wallets such as GCash, GrabPay, and PayMaya, or Over-the-Counter via 7-Eleven and Cebuana Lhuillier. Meanwhile, sole proprietors, corporations, and partnerships can also process credit card payments.

Since Xendit handles payments on the individual seller’s behalf, entrepreneurs can focus on fulfilling orders and growing their business. They no longer need to coordinate with each customer for payments because transaction statuses are updated in real-time on the Xendit dashboard. 

Xendit’s mission is to make payments simple, so that even entrepreneurs and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) unfamiliar who are not as technically savvy can integrate with the platform easily. Xendit is available in platforms such as Wix, Shopify, or WooCommerce. Those who rely solely on social media for business can generate payment links that customers can access. Sellers also have access to their transaction history on a centralized dashboard to monitor sales and payments.

“We need to continue to support the Filipino micro-entrepreneurs and small business owners to embrace the digital age; they have experienced the ease that online selling and marketing and smartphones have brought them closer to their customers. The next step is to help them grow their business by helping them manage day-to-day tasks in their enterprise and improve their financial literacy as they experience and use fintech products and platforms more and more,” says Ana Mijares, Senior Trainer for the Go Digital ASEAN initiative.

To welcome SMEs, Xendit is offering up to P1.6 million worth of waived transaction fees for new sign-ups. The platform is also waiving P1 million in fees for individual sellers.

Opening its platform to individual sellers is just one of Xendit’s many ways to empower SMEs using technology. Its Level Up accelerator program supports entrepreneurs through masterclasses and challenges that give them the tools and know-how to scale their businesses. The program also includes giving P3.5 million in free transactions for 1,000 startups for one year through its video challenge

Xendit is the simplest and most trusted name in digital transactions in the region. It powers SMEs as well as the Philippines’ largest enterprises. Xendit is committed to building a solid payment infrastructure for the country and the rest of Southeast Asia.

“We launched an SME task force at the beginning of the year to help create solutions for Filipino businesses that may have been affected by the pandemic. We hope to continue our support for Filipino MSMEs so they can grow their business and help the Philippine economy,” says Yang Yang Zhang, Managing Director of Xendit Philippines.

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Gender bias is real for women in family-owned businesses

A study examining gender bias and family-owned businesses found daughters were rarely encouraged nor received support to pursue entrepreneurship education while sons mostly did.

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Photo by Tim Mossholder from Pexels.com

A study examining gender bias and family-owned businesses found daughters were rarely encouraged nor received support to pursue entrepreneurship education while sons mostly did.

Professors James Combs, Peter Jaskiewicz, and Sabine Raul from the Telfer School of Management uncovered new insights about how gender bias – the preference of a gender over the other – affects the succession strategy in multi-generational family firms. Their findings are published in the Journal of Small Business Management.

When nurturing the next generation, entrepreneurial families often prepare their daughters and sons differently for their careers. The researchers noticed a common pattern in the stories shared by the next generation: Sons are often nurtured to become entrepreneurial, whether they are expected to take over the firm one day or to start a venture elsewhere. Daughters, however, receive little to no incentive to develop the leadership skills and entrepreneurial passion required to contribute to the family firm or start their own business.

In conversations with 26 children who were raised in 13 multi-generational family firms – some being centuries old – but not expected to work in the firm, the researchers found that:

  • Seven of the nine sons (78%), pursued entrepreneurial careers;
  • Only one among the 15 daughters (7%) gained an entrepreneurial education and engaged in entrepreneurship (7%);
  • Women were not encouraged to pursue entrepreneurship education, gain business experience, start a new venture;
  • Men rather than women received financial resources from the family to start their own business

“Even when these female non-successors have opportunities to acquire relevant knowledge and work to start a business, becoming entrepreneurial was still a challenging uphill battle,” says Jaskiewicz, who believes the data reveals women do not pursue entrepreneurship outside of the family because they lacked sufficient emotional and financial support from the family.

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Do customer loyalty programs really help sellers make money?

A non-tiered customer loyalty program’s reduction in attrition accounts for more than 80% of the program’s total lift or success. On the other hand, increased frequency accounts for less than 20% of the program’s lift or effectiveness.

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Photo by Blake Wisz from Unsplash.com

Customer loyalty programs have been around for decades and are used to help businesses, marketers and sellers build a sustainable relationship with their customers. But do they work? A recent study sought to find out and researchers learned that while yes, customer loyalty programs do work, perhaps not in ways most may assume.

There are two basic types of customer loyalty programs, tiered and non-tiered. Airlines and hotels often use tiered customer loyalty programs that increase rewards as program members reach higher thresholds of spending over time. Retailers and service industry businesses are more likely to offer non-tiered customer loyalty programs, in which members are rewarded with frequent, but not increasing rewards, such as “buy 10 get one free.”

This research investigated if those non-tiered customer loyalty programs actually do what they are designed to do.

The study to be published in the June issue of the INFORMS journal Marketing Science, “Can Non-tiered Customer Loyalty Programs Be Profitable?”, is authored by Arun Gopalakrishnan of Rice University, Zhenling Jiang of the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, and Yulia Nevskaya and Raphael Thomadsen of the Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis.

The authors found that non-tiered customer loyalty programs increase customer value by almost 30% over a five-year time period. They discovered that the program’s effectiveness is not so much through increased spending per transaction or frequency of purchasing but rather through the reduction of attrition. In other words, the chief benefit is that the customer loyalty program reduces customer fall-off and turnover.

“We found that a non-tiered customer loyalty program’s reduction in attrition accounts for more than 80% of the program’s total lift or success,” said Thomadsen. “On the other hand, increased frequency accounts for less than 20% of the program’s lift or effectiveness.”

Jiang added, “One of the more interesting findings was that the impact of the loyalty program does not necessarily contribute to increased spending per transaction or increased frequency of transactions. Rather, the benefit to the business is creating more sustainable and lasting relationships with customers.”

To conduct their research, the authors worked with a company to collect data of more than 5,500 new customers who first started purchasing from that company in the same three-month period. This helped to ensure that the customers were comparable in terms of the amount of time they had to become acquainted with the selling firm. For the next 30 months, the researchers collected all subsequent transaction data from those consumers. During that period, a non-tiered customer loyalty program was introduced.

In the process, some of these new customers were automatically enrolled into the loyalty program. This helped researchers better gauge pre-program visit frequency and spending and then compare it to post-enrollment visit frequency and spending. “We were able to analyze the behaviors of consumers absent a customer loyalty program, and then after the rollout of the program,” said Nevskaya. “We evaluated frequency and actual spending amounts, and whether customers come back for repeat transactions.”

Gopalakrishnan summarized, “In the end, the primary value of a non-tiered customer loyalty program is not a means to increase frequency or spending. It’s a way to nurture a long-term and lasting relationship with the customer to reduce the defection of loyal customers over time. Non-tiered loyalty programs may provide psychological benefits that help cultivate such loyalty.”

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