Too Many Group Buying Sites Not Enough Online Shopping Stores

We have well over 40 if not 50 group buying websites in the Philippines. I think that’s crazy.

I may have only tried this 3 times (2 from then Beeconomic, 1 from DealGrocer which I haven’t even used) but I’ve often wondered: with all these group-buying sites sprouting like them milk tea shops, is that super convenient online shopping experience almost here?

I know we’ve had Multiply (even before it officially focused on its Marketplace) for a while now, Shopinas most recently and to name the popular ones, but none of them make me really want to buy anything online.

And although I really appreciate the fact that they’re out there helping the e-commerce industry, it’s just that I find their categories disorganized, they lack inventory or I feel a bit iffy buying from another person instead of an actual company. So I’d rather go to the mall.

It would be nice to have something like Amazon or Zappos in the Philippines. Where the product pictures aren’t taken in the seller’s living room (with bad lighting and harsh flash), you can zoom in to see fabric or item details, and the image thumbnails are big enough to see even from the main page.


If we get more merchants selling online and the buying process streamlined, who knows, maybe it could lessen the people in malls and even reduce traffic every payday!

In Japan and Korea, 92% of them prefer online shopping than visiting malls and this was in 2010.

I thought about it some more and realized how the biggest roadblock to this is that Filipinos are still skeptical of buying anything online. We don’t trust technology that much yet.

How many of us Filipinos really use online banking to pay for our cable, phone and electricity bills? I don’t know a lot of people (outside of the tech-inclined) who do this yet but maybe you do.

The popularity of group-buying sites here is supposed to help pave the way for better e-commerce in the Philippines. But with scams and bad experiences happening with these online purchases, it really doesn’t help make that dream happen any sooner.

For those interested, here’s a good interview article on why India’s e-commerce growth was slow back in 2008. This one I feel applies to us:

“Whether it was the iPod when it was first launched or satellite TV when it was first unveiled in India or the recent shift towards grocery shopping in organized retail chains – all of them have these two things in common – a clear value to consumers and a strong promise around quality execution. Without these two things, it is very difficult to change customer’s behavior, especially when the customers already have a fairly decent alternative. eCommerce adoption is no different, and it has not yet hit the tipping point because of these very factors.”

It’s been 3 years and here’s a good read on how they’re doing now: E-Commerce in India – The Second Coming.

I understand it’s like comparing apples and oranges but it’s something to consider anyway.

Do you know of any good online shopping stores here aside from those I’ve mentioned above?

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