Tuesday, March 15, 2011

E-commerce marketplace empowers ?netpreneurs?

Practically anyone who has access to the Internet can now go into business—buying, selling or trading anything of value—thanks to the growing number of online trading communities that have multiplied over the last few years.

More than just a marketplace of ideas and social gatherings, the Internet has, more importantly, evolved into a platform for e-Commerce that allows users to become successful “netpreneurs.”

Abhimanyu Lal, business head for eBay Philippines, believes that an e-commerce site like eBay “democratizes the whole marketplace” by giving equal access to everyone to buy and sell.

In the case of eBay, Lal said during a roundtable discussion that this particular platform could be one of the few Web trading communities where setting up a business online would take less than 30 minutes.

Other advantages of joining the eBay community include not having to pay for retail costs since one does not need to own a physical shop. It also allows users to work practically anywhere for as long as he or she has a computer and Internet connection.

“It’s also an advance payment business so there’s absolutely no concern around collection of money because you will receive your money before you ship your items. Business risks are very, very minimal on eBay,” Lal explained.

Indeed, starting a business on eBay is quite easy. Interested entrepreneurs just need to register on eBay, select a category of products to sell, create a listing and, in a matter of minutes, one’s online store will be ready.

More notably, however, a marketplace like eBay empowers the elderly and those that have retired because they are given an avenue to earn at the convenience of their homes. Such e-commerce platforms likewise allow Internet users from both the rural and urban areas to experience the comfort and convenience of shopping online.

“There are buyers who come from really small towns like the Sulu archipelago, so it really enables access across a whole set of market, a whole set of people,” Lal said.

“Netpreneurs” nowadays are also assured of local buyers as eBay has registered some 750,000 users from more than 300 towns in the Philippines. Add to that, Lal said, the survey done by Mastercard, which showed that nearly 50 percent of Internet users in the Philippines had said that they were looking to buy online in the next six months.

“That means an instant market of at least 15 million,” Lal said.

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