Big room for growth for PH MSMEs in cross-border e-commerce opportunities

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ACCORDING to the “Cross-Border E-commerce Awareness & Perception Report” released by Amazon Global Selling, the Philippines has the highest percentage of domestic e-commerce sellers at 70.02 percent compared to other ASEAN countries—underlying untapped opportunities for Filipino Micro, Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (MSMEs) to explore cross-border opportunities.

Philippine e-commerce is still a relatively new but rapidly developing sector,” said Bernard Tay, Head of Amazon Global Selling, Southeast Asia, in a statement sent to

The surge of demand for online shopping under the lockdown begets the digital model of doing business as part of the new normal, alongside business innovation and technological adoption. Based on our latest report, Philippine MSMEs want to develop more robust capabilities for cross-border e-commerce – from understanding business models and foreign competition to cross-border operations and international logistics. Our first-ever Seller Boot Camp thus comes as a timely opportunity for small enterprises to identify the current gaps in their operations and arm themselves with the knowledge, resources, and connections to sustainably expand their business globally, and maximize their potential with Amazon,” Tay added.

Amazon Global Selling is the program that allows sellers to list and sell their products on Amazon’s global marketplaces. Recently, it held its inaugural 2021 Amazon Expo – Seller Boot Camp to further introduce MSMEs to cross-border e-commerce and how the Amazon global infrastructure and resources can empower them to develop a global business.

The Boot Camp was jointly participated by a wide range of service providers who can support MSMEs on their different stages of going global.  Amazon Global Selling also shared insights on the e-commerce landscape and prospects in the Philippines.

Over 1,300 MSMEs registered for the Seller Boot Camp — a virtual event hosted to equip sellers with the resources needed to overcome cross-border e-commerce barriers.

Over the span of three days, MSMEs attended a series of lectures from industry experts on key topics ranging from cross-border payments, shipping and tax implications to conversion funnels and marketing. The launch of the Boot Camp was a result from the insights released in the Cross-Border E-commerce Awareness & Perception Report, which surveyed 1,600 MSMEs (400 per country) across Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines to resolve the sellers’ pain point of lacking the knowledge required for cross-border e-commerce.

Consumer shopping behaviors are shifting to online quickly. Cross-border e-commerce, which optimizes the process of trade, can help sellers reach global customers directly and represents a global opportunity. Research shows that overall cross-border B2C E-Commerce market value was forecasted to surge by 30 percent from 2019 to 2026. Amazon encourages sellers to explore the opportunity to build a global business, and is also offering innovative programs and tools to help sellers accelerate this digital transformation.

Amidst the opportunities for growth through cross-border e-commerce, local MSMEs cited the following critical barriers when selling globally: (1) difficultly in managing cross-border supply chains and logistics, (2) high operation costs, and (3) the intense competition with international sellers on Amazon.

Difficultly in managing cross-border supply chains and logistics is the most common challenge faced by Filipino MSMEs surveyed with 53 percent citing it as their top barrier. To mitigate this, Amazon has been investing over the years on building a world-class fulfillment and delivery network. Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) can help MSMEs store their products in Amazon’s fulfillment centers for Amazon to pick, pack, ship, and provide customer service for these products. During the Boot camp, global logistic service providers were also invited to introduce how they can support MSMEs on cross-border logistics management to help them better tackle these challenges.

Operation and competition is another key barrier to selling overseas via e-commerce.  About 71 percent admitted that they are not well-prepared to meet the demands and preferences of consumers overseas. However, Filipino entrepreneurs exhibited high awareness for Amazon as a cross-border marketplace compared to their counterparts from Southeast Asia. In line with this, local MSMEs hope to learn more operation guidelines and experiences sharing to better prepare their business for global expansion.

Amazon offers various resources for MSMEs across the world to expand their business to a global level, which complements existing efforts in collaboration with industry and government agencies. Over the course of 2019 and 2020, Amazon has invested more than $30 billion in logistics, tools, services, programs, and people worldwide to foster the growth of its selling partners.

Earlier this year in February, Amazon Global Selling held its first ever online Seller Summit in the Philippines. The two-day virtual conference, attended by over 2,000 registrants, provided educational support for Filipino MSMEs looking to sell on Amazon, building on Amazon’s initiatives on online seller education like their Seller University, as well as providing over 250 new tools and services launched in 2020 globally to help sellers grow their sales in Amazon’s stores worldwide.

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