Facebook to PH retailers: Use cellphones as second storefront

By Stephanie Roxas

The mobile phone is no longer just a communications tool and an entertainment device. Thanks or no thanks to the ubiquity and availability of electronic commerce, the smartphone has also become the so-called second storefront of businesses, especially retailers.

Facebook managing director for Southeast Asia Kenneth Bishop

Facebook managing director for Southeast Asia Kenneth Bishop

This is one of several findings of the Facebook 2016 Holiday Study, which was announced during a media briefing on Wednesday, July 26.

“Consumer behavior has totally changed, globally and in the Philippines,” Facebook managing director for Southeast Asia Kenneth Bishop said. And, as a result, the way consumers interact with businesses and brands and discover products have totally changed as well, the executive said.

Based on its recent study, 95 percent of Filipino consumers discover products and brands due to the massive advertising and continuous increase of users on Facebook. And for last year alone, Filipinos who have become mobile-first shoppers have increased by 83 percent.

These figures are borne by recent experience.

Since smartphones have also been used as compare prices and products, Facebook is betting that one in two Filipinos will use their mobile phones once they go shopping for Christmas, a season expected to begin as early as September in the Philippines.

Businesses and brands, foreign and local, have not been oblivious to this trend. Most, if not all of them, have shifted its advertising budgets to digital and mobile.

In an October 2016 study by Starcom, Filipinos have been found to have spent more hours on smartphone (2.90 hours), compared to television (1.40), radio (1.15), and newspapers (0.47).

With these findings, Facebook has urged businesses to go on the social networking platform to promote products during the holidays.

“We can target geography so you can target urban or rural areas. We can also target by device. We use proxies to help advertisers reach the audience they desire to reach,” Bishop said.

Facebook has also shared several tips to grow and strengthen local businesses. Companies should employ multi-screening, pairing its promotions and advertisements with television, the social networking website said.

Since mobile is the new shopping cart, the language of mobile should complement the in-store sale with an e-commerce strategy, Facebook said.

“Mobile should be used as a second store front and starting brand campaigns early is encouraged,” the company said, adding that “screen shopping is the new window shopping.”

Companies using Facebook to drive sales should also take advantage of mobile as a convenient way to drive people to their physical stores. “In a store, mobile complements the shopping experience,” Facebook said. “Christmas shouldn’t be seen as the shopping finish line.”

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