‘E-commerce regulation a must to boost online transactions’


THE Philippines needs a regulatory framework ensuring the safety and security of online transactions to boost its e-commerce market share, a strategic advisory firm said.

YCP Solidiance Philippines Inc. Country Manager Anna Rellama said in a recent event that the consuming public needs reassurance that their digital purchases are done in a safe manner to enhance confidence to e-commerce transactions.

“There’s still needs to be reassurance,” Rellama said. “Maybe, perhaps, we would need some regulatory framework or some assistance that whatever you do online is a governed transaction that is safe, that is secure, and is not a scam.”

Amid lockdown measures to stem Covid-19 infection, more consumers have been transacting through digital marketplaces for their purchases due to mobility restrictions. Retailers and other enterprises, meanwhile, have shifted or improved their business models to cater to changing consumer behavior.

Rellama said that the country’s e-commerce market share still appears to be “small” given that the country is consumer-driven and has over 100 million population.

“This only means there’s a lot more room for e-commerce and digital solutions that will be supporting that to actually grow,” she said.

The YCP official explained that the country’s digital economy, however, could be bigger if all online merchants can facilitate all the processes of a purchase via digital platforms.

“In the Philippines, we still see a lot of people coordinating on Facebook for transaction, but still doing the transaction offline in a way. That’s good because we have that first step of doing the initial outreach and connection online. But the next step is actually doing the payment transfer, that booking, that purchase online directly,” she explained.

This is why there is also a need to urge more businesses to shift to online platforms, she said, but they need assistance like capacity building. Doing so can help fill in the gaps in the e-commerce sector, she added.

“They [merchants] can be aware of the solutions, but if they don’t have access to the needed funding, they need connections that can facilitate this,” Rellama said.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) recently released a draft of joint administrative order (JAO) aimed at enhancing consumer confidence in e-commerce transactions. It is open for comments until October 15.

The proposed JAO seeks to instruct the online merchants and e-commerce platforms to adhere with the relevant laws, including the rules and regulation on the sale, distribution, production, importation, marketing, sale and transport of products.  This is in in addition to improving protection for consumers transacting with online merchants.

Earlier, the trade department said that it aims to increase the contribution of the e-commerce industry to P1.2 trillion by 2022, which is equivalent to 5.5 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.

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