News and developments in the community.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

E-Commerce Talk at Ateneo

I'll be at Ateneo de Manila University this morning (9 am) to talk about "Doing E-Commerce for Real" at Ching Tan (SOM111). The event is organized by MIS seniors, in collaboration with the SOSE Sanggunian and ASES.

This event is a mini E-Commerce Convention that intends to benefit the BSO Network - a non-profit organization that provides assistance to MSMEs in the Philippines and with a greater vision of alleviating poverty through social entrepreneurship.

The students involved in the project are currently working on e-commerce site packages and an e-commerce primer where knowledge on e-commerce tools and other necessary information are incorporated.

I was also asked to give a message to be included in the primer. Here it is.

As we now live in the time of uncertainty, this presents an opportunity for us to innovate ourselves and improve the way we do business. What used to work before in our respective fields are suddenly in peril because our customers are belt-tightening.

As more entities want to spend less than usual, the challenge for each of us entrepreneurs is to ensure is that they will opt to continue doing business with us. Another way of looking at it is encouraging them to consider us as an alternative provider of products & services.

Price is only one factor in making that decision. The quality of service and relationship we invest in it is also another matter.

Being online is a big challenge as we can be easily judged by what they see online. In the end, it is not about how beautiful our websites are. It is more about providing the information that the customer needs - the moment they are looking for it. This can include the type of products and services, pricing, unique differentiation, ordering process, and transaction terms.

With so many sites competing with each of us online, customers are now selective and give due regard to those who come in as transparent right away with what they have to offer.

Entrepreneurs who are reluctant in competing head-on, take risks, and be aggressive are just wasting their time and resource for building a site online. Because there will always be someone out there who will be more inventive, creative, passionate than you are and they will get the business.

So to the BSO Network and stakeholders of this project, I commend your efforts for taking this initiative. And I hope that time will come that I'll be able to extend my congratulations as well as soon as we start hearing success stories from members who have benefited from this project.

Remember that being able to provide the service is one thing. The willingness of the entrepreneurs to take their business to a higher notch, even revised their offerings as a result, and be determined doing business in this new medium will be critical to its success.

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