Why Online Live Selling Thrives in the Philippines Amid the Pandemic.

Photo from shuterstock

Compared to the rest of the world, Filipinos have a peculiar way of dealing with the pandemic, at least when it comes to making sure there is enough food on the table. While people in other countries struggle to cope with the loss of livelihood, the Filipino entrepreneurial spirit kept many afloat and most of them turned to social media with Facebook live leading the bandwagon. The business model is simple. One just needs to go live on Facebook and showcase their products while viewers can comment in real time to make a purchase. It is more like an auction type of thing but the first one to comment “mine” plus the seller’s item code gets the deal. The goods then are delivered through errand services, a designated “dropping area”, or by scheduled pick up.

What makes online live selling more appealable to many of the Philippines’ netizens in contrast with the equally popular e-commerce platforms such as Lazada, Shopee, and other online market places? Let’s have a bit of brainstorming and perhaps we could learn a thing or two about this thriving business model.

Direct Real-time Contact – Seller and Customer confidence is high as both can negotiate and interact directly. The sale does not have to go through a certain platform’s vetting and verification process. Prospective buyers also get a chance to scrutinize the product and get instant answers to their queries. It’s like buying in a shop, albeit in video feed format. As a seller, there is no limit to what items you can sell as long as they are within what the law allows. Some sell pre-loved stuff to decongest their homes and earning at the same time. Some deal gadgets, clothes, books, food, and even plants.

Very Minimal Operational Cost – No need for rental fees or e-platform charges. All you need is something to sell, a social media account, and a mobile phone. Inventory, tracking, and dispatch likewise involve no sophisticated wizardry. A notebook, pen, and some masking tape are the only things you need to keep things in order. Marketing is not even a problem and you can employ every legitimate trick in the book to gain more viewers. Some do raffles, send out freebies, or even show a bit of skin, the last one I wouldn’t suggest lest you get more “bashing” than buying.

More Customer Reach and Higher Sales Conversion Rate – Live video feeds provide unlimited reach and sellers can connect to many customers in an exponential scale. As friends, family, and other viewers share the live video, more are likely to buy products because said gesture of “sharing” sends a signal that the sharer has confidence in the seller or the products. Studies also suggest that a video, compared to a mere photograph, has more addictive potential so people tend to be looking out for your next live.

The most successful entrepreneurs in the world agree on one thing-that there is no shame in selling. During this pandemic when people’s movements are restricted and the fear of catching the virus keeps people in their homes, online live selling, otherwise known as “Live Streaming E-commerce”, helps a lot of people maintain a certain degree of human interaction while availing of the stuff they need. Aside from this, it also contributes greatly to our collective efforts to curb the virus’ community transmission by bringing the market right to the people’s screens saving them the risky trip to the shop.


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