AT least 15 Cebu-based small and medium enterprises (SMES) have been registered on the online shopping site Lazada, a top official of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said.

DTI Cebu Director Ma. Elena Arbon said that since the agency’s pilot trainings on eCommerce last year when they trained at least 50 SMEs, 15 of these startups have gone on board with Lazada to jumpstart their journey in the digital economy.

“These 15 SMEs that registered with Lazada will now be selling their products like food, fashion accessories and housewares online,” said Arbon. “However, the training or programs don’t stop there. By getting on board, we would now know the right market of these SMEs.” She noted that the 15 SMEs who registered on Lazada have complied with the ecommerce’s requirements like business name registration, FDA licenses (for food) and other permits.

Launched in 2012, Lazada is an online shopping and selling destination present in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Lazada said it is helping more than 135,000 local and international sellers as well as 3,000 brands serving the 560 million consumers in the region through its marketplace platform, supported by a wide range of tailored marketing, data, and service solutions.

The Lazada Group is majority-owned by Alibaba Group Holding Limited.

Arbon said eCommerce status in Cebu still has a long way to go and that the agency will continue to push SMEs to build their presence online.

“We will keep on informing our SMEs, and encourage them to go into the digital platform because right now, we have observed that not all our SMEs are prepared to embrace the new way of doing business. Hopefully, with these continued programs, we would encourage them to sign up,” said Arbon.

In earlier reports, Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion said the future of retail is in the digital economy, the reason retail giants are slowly positioning themselves in the online selling sphere to capture the expanding base of online shoppers.

He said Filipino SMEs must consider spreading their wings and consider this disruption into their business roadmap.

Selling on Lazada allows SMEs’ products to reach more than 55 million unique visitors per month.

Sellers can list as many products as they have ready on stock. They are also in control of their price and stock, which they can update daily.

Likewise, the online site assured its sellers that there are no listing fees, no maintenance fees and that they have free access to category experts and marketing campaigns.

As a continent, Asia achieved the biggest increase in e-commerce globally in 2017, with 44 percent growth, according to Kantar Worldpanel’s fourth annual “Future of E-commerce in FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) report.

E-commerce now contributes to a record 36 percent of global FMCG growth, and the top six contributors to FMCG e-commerce growth are led by two Asian power economies- China and South Korea. (KOC)