E-commerce and the future of retail industry according to experts

E-commerce and the future of retail industry according to experts
Key thought leaders in the retail industry anticipate even more changes in the months following the pandemic

[Editor’s Notes: PLDT Enterprise organized an online industry forum called #ONEwithYOU, bringing together key thought leaders in the industry, to discuss what awaits the sector in the coming months as COVID-19 ensues. Below is their press release.]

MANILA, Philippines – The COVID-19 global pandemic is by far considered the most extreme form of business disruption that Philippine enterprises have ever faced. With most brick-and-mortar stores forced to close down during the enhanced community quarantine, retailers were pushed to rethink their business strategies and adopt e-commerce platforms to continue their operations today.

“Given these changes, we have seen many businesses who were forced to change their operating models to adapt to the situation,” said Jovy Hernandez, ePLDT President & CEO and SVP & Head for PLDT and Smart Enterprise Business Groups.

“Food and essential product retailers now focus on online, take-out, and deliveries; they are trying to maximize their social media platforms; and many are either expanding their e-commerce activities or are finally getting into e-commerce platforms.”   

In response, PLDT Enterprise brought together key thought leaders in the retail industry—through its online industry forum called #ONEwithYOU—to discuss what awaits the sector in the coming months as COVID-19 ensues. 

According to Sherill Quintana, President of the Philippine Franchise Association, businesses in the retail industry need to act quickly if retailers want to ensure continuity.  

“To survive this, [businesses in the retail industry] have to be resilient. You have to be responsive to your market as well as how fast you can reconfigure with the crisis we are facing right now,” Quintana said during the webinar. “Though there is an acceleration in the growth of digital stores, it is an opportunity for us to take a look at different omni-channels that we can take as part of our strategy,” she added, saying that the “next normal” will likely be businesses on the cloud. 

Anthony Fernandez, Corporate Relationship Head of PLDT Enterprise, echoed this statement stating the need for retailers to adopt cloud-based platforms to help them embrace e-commerce more smoothly and effectively. “Now, there is a need for retail businesses to adopt ePayment solutions. This also increases the need for cloud-based services, digital payments, and flexible fulfillment options.”

While most malls are slowly reopening after the ease in community quarantine measures, most consumers remain wary and choose to practice social distancing. A recent study by top market research specialist Ipnos showed that a consistently increasing number of consumers are shopping online. Furthermore, consumers are frequently buying more products than they would normally do in a brick-and-mortar store. 

Hernandez, meanwhile, noted that PLDT Enterprise has already been offering an extensive portfolio of services and solutions for businesses wanting to leverage e-commerce and will continue to support the retail industry as it continues to cope with the pandemic’s impact. 

“This is really the time for amplified digital retail and to achieve this, businesses must accelerate their digital initiatives,” said Hernandez. “We cannot stress enough the importance of cybersecurity in this regard.” 

In addition, an analysis by payments solutions company API Worldwide of hundreds of millions of transactions from global online retailers also showed that transactions in most retail sectors rose by 74% in March compared year on year. Online fraud, however, is also on the rise – hence, the importance of consumer vigilance when it comes to making online purchases.

PLDT Enterprise’s #ONEwithYOU webinar for the retail industry was participated by key leaders of the sector including Sherill Quintana, President of Philippine Franchise Association, Johnlu Koa, Founder and CEO of French Baker; Louie Ocampo-Gutierrez, Managing Director of Silverworks; Cyrus Mewawalla, Head of Thematic Research of Global Data, and Anthony Fernandez, Corporate Relationship Head of PLDT Enterprise.

To learn more, watch the live recording of the #ONEwithYOU webinar through the link below: https://pldtenterprise.com/virtual-industry-forum– Rappler.com

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