The e-commerce industry in the Philippines is among the most promising in the region. It is projected to robustly grow into a $1.4 billion market by 2024. That could translate to so much business potential for sellers not just locally but also internationally.
The Philippines is an archipelago, comprising over 7,100 islands. It is home to over 107 million Filipinos and the population is growing by at least 2 million annually. Despite the infamous slow internet speeds, which average at about 3.6 Mpbs, most Filipino consumers are digitally savvy and are considering online shopping a good option when buying goods, especially during periodic promo periods.
For online sellers across Asia who are considering selling to the Philippine market, Shopee is one of the viable online selling platforms that are readily available. It is the most popular business-to-consumer e-commerce website in the Philippines, from January to March 2022, according to data from Statista. Shopee garnered 76.86 million web visits in the period, far from the 39 million web visits generated by its archrival in the country, Lazada.
Why choose Shopee when selling in the Philippines?
Since its launch in the Philippines in 2015, Shopee has been earning loyal patronage from millions of local consumers especially during special promotional sale periods, when the e-commerce site and its partner sellers offer amazing and irresistible deals to consumers.
Shopee has been enjoying online shopping leadership in the country and it has become a popular household name. It has also established a strong bond and relationship with local e-commerce customers leading it to identify and categorize the major types of online shoppers among Filipinos, which international online sellers should take note of.
Based on data from Shopee (from a poll of over 3,000 local Shopee users in early 2022), 42% of Filipino Shopee users are enticed by promotional prices and best deals. Of those, 71% are women with ages ranging from 18 to 35 years. These are the online shoppers who are patient enough to do some research on products and available options before placing orders on online purchases.
About 17% of Shopee users are after convenience, prioritizing ease and safety when turning to e-commerce. Over half of these shoppers are not more than 30 years old—busy people who do not spend extra time doing online shopping but are often purchasing impulsively during the quick time they log in to Shopee and especially when they stumble upon the best deals.
Up to 14% of Shopee users are window shoppers—consumers valuing variety and choice. They browse more items compared to average and spontaneously check out products that attract their attention. Lastly, 12% of Shopee users in the Philippines are regular online shoppers who have made adding to a cart and checking out in Shopee a habit.
After a quick glimpse into the Philippine Shopee market and the type of online shoppers using the portal, international online sellers can finally proceed to do transactions and sell/ship merchandise online via Shopee Philippines.
How to Ship and Sell to the Philippines via Shopee
Shopee International Platform
Shopee is making it easier for online sellers to sell and ship merchandise to online customers in other countries where the e-commerce site operates. It is facilitating online transactions across countries or territories where it operates through its Shopee International Platform (SIP).
Simply put, SIP allows Shopee sellers to sell to Shopee customers in another country (including the Philippines) via the local Shopee platform. Through SIP, promoting a seller’s products in another Shopee area is also made possible. This international selling platform will be available to Shopee sellers and consumers in 6 areas across the region where Shopee operates—the Philippines, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Malaysia.
Currently, SIP is initially serving Shopee sellers and buyers in the Philippines and Singapore. That means it would be much easier for Shopee sellers based in Singapore to sell and ship goods to Shopee buyers in the Philippines via the SIP program.
Online sellers who are qualified and invited to join SIP can expand their current selling operations and consumer reach using the local Shopee platform in Singapore and the Philippines and at the same time enjoy several value-added services for cross-border transactions via Shopee’s logistics, payment, and customer service support, at no extra cost!
Through this program, Shopee is making it easier and more convenient for overseas e-commerce sellers and businesses to engage in local selling in other countries outside their own via the Shopee platform network. Transactions are also done safely and with ease.
How to Ship via SIP
The process of shipping goods via SIP is also simplified. First, the international online seller is allowed to post and promote its goods or merchandise in a localized Shopee platform in the Philippines. Upon getting an order from a Shopee customer in the Philippines, the seller gets a notification and advice to send the ordered item to the Shopee local warehouse in his or her country (in this case, Singapore).
When the parcel gets to the local Shopee warehouse of the seller (Singapore), it then gets processed to be shipped overseas to the customer’s location in the Philippines. When the item reaches Shopee Philippines, the local e-commerce platform will then take care of delivering the parcel to the buyer’s local address. If a need to return or even refund arises, it will be Shopee that will liaise with the customer directly through its local customer service support.
Online Shopee sellers from outside the Philippines are advised to treat orders from the Philippines similarly to how they process orders in their locality. The parcel must be shipped in time to be able to make it to the committed time to the Philippines upon order.
How to join SIP
However, SIP is available only to international Shopee sellers who get the invitation to sign up for the program. Top brands, key sellers, and distributors that regularly generate high sales via Shopee are usually the businesses invited and pre-qualified to join the SIP.
Shopee is also particular about some qualifications when screening businesses to get into SIP. It sets a minimum monthly order completion and requires a shop cancellation rate not exceeding 10% for an international Shopee seller to qualify for SIP.
International sellers who intend to sell and ship to the Philippines via SIP but are yet to receive an invitation from Shopee to sign up with SIP (and those who qualify) could apply for it by filling out an online form.
Other than SIP, international online sellers can also sell and ship goods to the Philippines through third-party fulfillment providers that ship to the country. This could be the option available for Shopee sellers in other countries like Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, and South Korea (even those in Singapore that are not part of the SIP program) who intend to sell and ship goods to Shopee customers in the Philippines.
Shipping via Third-Party Partner
International Shopee sellers who could not opt for the fulfillment services offered by Shopee via the SIP program can consider managing their fulfillment through third-party logistics providers such as LOCAD, which offers logistics solutions to businesses sending parcels to the Philippines.
- Finding a shipping partner for PH
For cross-border shipping, be prepared to undergo several quick processes. First, there will be first-mile delivery that facilitates shipping of the parcel to a logistics warehouse and from there to the port (sea) or airport (air). Second, the parcel will undergo customs clearance in the seller’s origin country. Third, the shipment is transported by sea (which takes longer) or air (faster but more costly) going to the Philippines.
Upon reaching the Philippine port or airport, the parcel is subjected to customs clearance. After passing through clearance, the shipment is delivered to the provider’s domestic distribution center or warehouse, where it will be sorted to be assigned to trucks, vans, or other transport forms for last-mile delivery. Lastly, the parcel is moved from the distribution center to the Shopee customer’s Philippine address.
Take note that last-mile delivery might take another day or two to complete if the customer’s address is outside Metro Manila, the country’s capital. The local logistics provider will again have to ship the parcel via air if it is bound to far-flung provinces (the Philippines is an archipelago and most islands require air or sea shipping).
LOCAD’s end-to-end solution will take care of the entire process from the moment the parcel is received from the sender. This is why it is among the most trusted providers by various international sellers and brands that ship orders to Philippine customers.
- Packaging the parcel
It is a standard practice to package the item using the right packing materials especially as it will undergo cross-border shipping. Logically, your shipment will be subject to harsh handling during its journey to the Philippines.
It is advisable to use extra packing materials like packing peanuts or bubble wrap to provide additional protection inside the box. Doing so will prevent breakage of the item no matter how rough handling could be during the long shipment process.
With LOCAD’s end-to-end warehousing and fulfillment capabilities, parcels are expertly picked and packed from distributed fulfillment centers.
- Choosing the right service level
When choosing a logistics partner, you should also consider the right level of service for your shipment to the Philippines. In this stage, an international online seller should look at the different tiers of shipping services offered. Take note that the more service features offered by a shipping partner, the costlier the shipping fee gets.
An online seller could opt to choose features that are applicable and that suit the budget and logistics needs. Among the most important considerations are the delivery time, the parcel weight, real-time tracking of the shipment, packaging service (optional), and on-call customer service. It will also help if there is a feature that will compensate for the loss of shipment, but it could add up to the overall shipping costs.
- Providing accurate shipping details
It is important to provide the right shipping details and necessary documents as these are required to pass the Philippine customs. Make sure to include the following information: online seller’s (sender’s) name and address, Philippine recipient’s complete name and address, the product’s manufacturing origin, declared value of the item (in US dollar as well as seller’s and recipient’s respective currencies), system code, description of the item, the quantity of the item, and weight/dimensions.
The shipping services provider could fill out the customs declaration form (or the seller could do it) and perform shipment labeling. It is important for the seller to always check for the completeness and accuracy of the details provided. Incomplete or inaccurate documentation may cause issues in customs or incur extra shipping charges. Fines could be incurred for under-declared valuation of the item on the commercial invoice.
Other than the shipping costs to the Philippines, a parcel may incur additional charges for duties and taxes in the Philippine customs if the item value exceeds US$200. The tax cost could be equivalent to 32% of the shipment’s valuation.
- Passing the parcel to the shipping carrier
When the parcel is ready, the seller hands it to the chosen carrier (LOCAD), noting the selected service level. The online seller could opt to have the package picked up from his or her address or have it delivered to the logistics provider’s address. If the track and trace feature is selected, the seller can monitor the shipment’s journey to the Philippines the moment the LOCAD receives the parcel.
The process of selling and shipping to Shopee customers in the Philippines is now simplified and made faster and safer. Online sellers could enjoy the great potential this discerning market is offering. Filipino customers could be loyal patrons if they get satisfactory products and experience a smooth delivery process.