MANILA - Retail is one of the best ways for women to become entrepreneurs and with digital channels, they need not limit themselves to the sari-sari store, industry leaders said Tuesday.
Electronic commerce represents the "evolution" of mom and pop stores and in Southeast Asia alone, it has 600 million potential consumers, stakeholders said.
"You see a lot of sari-sari stores. Retailing is the best way to improve livelihood to bootstrap yourself into prosperity," said Philippine Retailers Association president Paul Santos.
"It’s an evolution. For long time its based on physical store and moving on digital space. Retail is still the most tried and tested solution that will work for them," Santos said.
Jeannie Javelosa, founder of eco-friendly brand ECHOStore said women entrepreneurs should take advantage of technology.
"If we are women entrepreneurs, we need to get online because in the end technology will move forward. Business will keep innovating,” Javelosa said.
“We can have brick and mortar and sari sari store but you have to get online as well,” she added.
Success in e-commerce depends on the ability to tap the more than 600 million consumers in Southeast Asia, said Norlela Suhailee, chair to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations coordinating committee for micro, small and medium enterprises or MSMEs.
Online marketplace Lazada Philippines provides training and guidance to online sellers, said its CEO and co-founder Inanc Balci.
"We don’t want people putting the effort to put items online and not sell," Balci said. Lazada has a reach of some 10 million shoppers.
Digital channels help level the playing field among businesses, regardless of size, said Zalora Philippines managing director Constantin Robertz.
"The inspiring part of e-commerce revolution is enabling a small brand to get products out there," he said.
"Now if you have a great brand based in Cebu for example, you put that on Zalora and they’re gonna be all put there for millions of Filipinos to shop," he said.