MANILA: The growth of ecommerce in the Philippines is being held back by a lack of expertise and logistical support, a leading industry figure has said.

Frédéric Levy, chief executive of CashCashPinoy, a product flash sales site, told the SGE website that ecommerce was "still a pioneer industry" in the country. "There are still a lack of partners adapted to e-commerce's flow," he said.

He also argued that many of the usual marketing tools had not yet developed sufficiently. "One of the keys for e-commerce is affiliation," he observed. "As of today, there's no established affiliation platform."

The issue of logistics was another factor that needed to be addressed, said Levy. It was not a problem in the main urban areas, where widespread competition ensured smooth and cheap delivery services. But delivery in the provinces was dominated by just three large businesses.

"Until recently, the most important logistic players didn't see the need to match e-commerce needs," noted Levy, but he saw this situation starting to change. And he added that while several smaller players claimed to be e-commerce friendly, "not all of them are really able to support the flow and volume."

CashCashPinoy's solution has been to develop its own logistical network with a number of kiosks where provincial consumers can pick up the items they have purchased.

For Levy, this was an important development for the future of the business, as he remarked that consumers in Iowa, not New York, were the people who had made ecommerce viable in the USA.

"They're the ones who were looking for more options and choice due to the lack of offers near them," he said. "You can be sure history will repeat itself in the Philippines."

A recent TNS survey found that Filipinos were increasingly researching products online via mobile devices, but remained reluctant to commit to buying online, with security a major concern.

Levy said that CashCashPinoy offered over 20 payment options, with credit card and over-the-counter payments being the most popular.

Data sourced from SGE; additional content by Warc