Cebu MSMEs explore opportunities in digital marketplace
MORE micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Cebu are exploring opportunities in the digital marketplace to sell their products.
Although still in its infancy stage, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Cebu shared that more than 20 MSMEs had decided to go on board the digital marketplace, Lazada, for this month alone.
“Onboarding is the first step. Then we will implement capacity development programs to grow the e-commerce skills of our MSMEs,” said Director Ma. Elena Arbon of DTI Cebu.
Being onboard means the MSMEs are registered as a merchant of Lazada, and they will be guided by account officers on how to set up their online system in the platform which does not only use a website but also a mobile application.
MSMEs on board
Representatives of Lazada Philippines, which also operates in other southeast Asian countries like Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia, were present when the DTI Cebu launched its Sinulog Trade Fair at SM City Cebu last January 12.
For this month alone, 28 MSMEs who are part of the trade fair have been “onboarded” by Lazada, said February Maramag, Lazada’s seller engagement team lead.
These MSMEs include those selling fashion accessories, gift items, and food items among others.
Maramag said that being onboarded means that the MSMEs are registered on Lazada and are on the process of uploading their products.
She, however, said that no products had yet been uploaded to the site since they were still being processed.
“We believe we have already reached saturation in Manila, so we want to expand. And we know that the best sellers are in far areas like Cebu. With this partnership, we hope they can reach nationwide customers. This is really to empower them,” she said in a phone interview with Cebu Daily News yesterday.
Right now, Lazada has only partnered with the DTI in Cebu in getting MSMEs on their platform. But Maramag said they wish to expand also in other areas in the country.
Representatives from Lazada will be back in Cebu on January 19 to 21 and will also be setting up a booth at the Sinulog trade fair.
During this time, they also hope to get more MSMEs onboard.
The 28 MSMEs registerted so far are yet to actually put up their products on the platform.
“We only had them on board last week. But hopefully this week, they will already be able to go live with their products in the platform,” Maramag said.
She explained that after registration, the MSMEs will be getting a call from Lazada to verify information they submitted. They will then be taking an onboarding test that takes 10 to 15 minutes only.
After which, the sellers can already start uploading their products on the platform.
Lazada only gets a commission ranging between two to ten percent, depending on the type of product, from the sellers once they are able to sell items.
The seller will also have to incorporate in their pricing the expenses for delivery since Lazada offers deliveries to their customers.
Apart from these,Lazada does not charge other fees to the MSMEs.
For DTI’s part, Arbon said they will be campaigning to get more MSMEs to explore the digital marketplace.
Since 2016, the DTI has already conducted three batches of e-commerce training and seminars for MSMEs in Cebu.
The first batch was held from November 2016 to January 2017; the second batch from April to May 2017; and the last one was from September to December 2017.
Each batch has around 20 to 25 participating MSMEs.
A regular module runs between 10 to 12 sessions where the qualified MSMEs meet with mentors twice a week.
The DTI Cebu usually posts invites on their social media pages to join their e-commerce training. Those interested will have to submit certain requirements. They also have to be Filipino-owned, at least 18 years old, and their company should be existing for at least one year and should be duly registered with the DTI and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
After submitting their application forms, these will be subjected to screening by DTI. They will then be interviewed and evaluated before the final beneficiaries of a batch are identified.
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