Online Retail on the Rise in the Philippines

Posted by James Dantow, VP for Worldwide Support and GM for the Philippines, NetSuite

It’s easy to rush to the nearest mall or call your travel agent to book the best package available for a trip but more and more Filipinos nowadays are choosing the most convenient, most affordable and the safest way possible to purchase products and services—online.

Online retail has experienced steady growth in the country, boosted by the flurry of steep markdowns such as discounts of up to 70%. Sites like Lazada, CashCashPinoy, Zalora, Groupon, and LivingSocial have brought excitement to ecommerce and have helped to build a growing market of online buyers.

Yet, according to comScore’s Southeast Asia Digital Future in Focus 2013 study, the Philippines still has the lowest online retail reach in the APAC region at 53%, compared to the leader Vietnam at 76.7%. Interest in online shopping is on the rise, promising bright prospects for the sector. Specifically, local visitors to Lazada swelled dramatically, up 46% in 2013 due to an expansive portfolio of bargains for even the traditionally priciest items.

Now more online retail sites have begun to emerge in the Philippines to tap local and global markets. One case in point is Island Rose, considered the largest flower retailer and wholesaler in the Philippines, which opened an ecommerce site in 2000 ( This online retail shop lets consumers from all over the world purchase gifts, from fresh-cut flowers to mouth-watering confectioneries, and have them delivered to their loved ones anywhere in the Philippines. As its name implies, flowers are the company’s main product. It’s been a leading supplier to wedding coordinators, florists, hotels and restaurants since its establishment in 1983 but has since expanded its product line to stuffed toys, jewelry and other accessories.

The challenge of maintaining online retail operations can be daunting for start-ups and even seasoned retailers, especially in building and maintaining the solid yet costly infrastructure to support it. Island Rose overcame this challenge by bringing key online retail business applications to the cloud with NetSuite.

NetSuite’s order management functionality is crucial in Island Rose’s operations, automating the processing of 75,000 shipments to locations across the Philippines, from the data encoded and payment processing in its online site to deployment through logistics providers, such as LBC and DHL. NetSuite enables Island Rose to efficiently handle orders during peak demand, particularly on special gift-giving seasons, such as Christmas, Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day.

“By using the NetSuite cloud, we are leaner and stronger organization better fit to serve our customers,” stressed Dustin Andaya, founder and marketing director of Island Rose. “We need not focus our attention on how to maintain and operate our data infrastructure and instead strategize on keeping our customers happy with the experience buying from our online store.”

Island Rose also maintains hundreds of thousands of customer records in NetSuite, leveraging its CRM capabilities, with registered customer profiles for building relationships and marketing. In addition, key operational processes are being enabled by NetSuite’s line of cloud-based Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software, such as financials and inventory management, all executed on the cloud.

Having such systems in place, Island Rose is dead-set on expanding its retail business online and contributing its share to the growth of online retailing in the Philippines.

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