#Asia Stop selling websites to micro, small, and medium enterprises


Are business websites still a priority? In this day and age, social media might be the best place for micro and small businesses to sell

Please stop telling MSMEs that they need a website to sell. They don’t.

These companies saying you need them, would tell you — “Uhm, 60–70 per cent of Filipinos are online, you should too, you need a website!”

The question is where? Yes they are online but they are on SOCIAL MEDIA! Not on websites.

Internet Connection sucks! Attention span is decreasing tremendously. The more you send them away to one site to another or another platform, the more likely you lose business.

Lots of studies have shown that a slow loading website greatly affects your bottomline.

Also Read: For content-driven startups, speed (or the lack of it) can kill

Social media engagement

Facebook is practically FREE in the Philippines. Tell them to visit your site to buy is just like telling the guy, you can’t afford my products if you can’t even f*ckin afford a data plan.

Websites are like robots. People respond to people more. Period. Most do not even understand how websites work. What’s a cart? How do I check out, etc.? Ask yourself this: How many times did you call a company hotline only to be talking to a machine? How was the experience vs. talking to a real person right away? How many times you actually waited to just talk to an agent because the bot just can’t understand you or the options are limited?

Also Read: From chatbots to intelligent things: Here are 5 exciting industries startups can focus on this year

Stop telling lies! Telling people that this is the future is bullshit! They need the money now! They need to sell now! Unless these guys heavily rely on clients outside the country, then they don’t need a website! Just tell them the truth! Start selling on social media.

Cash still preferred

Credit card penetration is so low, most people doesn’t even have a bank account. E-commerce sites mostly tell people they need a card to transact. They won’t even bother to check if you offer other payment methods. The stigma is already there, unless you go to Lazada where they offer COD. Remittance centers are still by far the most widely used payment method in the country. So if you are big business, try offering remittance centers as a payment method, and I guarantee you can double your sales.

So please, if you happen to know companies offering these services, please tell them to stop — unless perhaps if the MSME is offering something for export, as I still believe that a decent site attracts more foreign clients. But if they are just selling locally, then just focus locally and stop paying for websites.

Now if you are a company who happens to offer this as a service. Then better shift focus on social media marketing, as I will not stop convincing people to not use your service. 🙂

I just saw a video today from a bank trying to help MSMEs grow their business by making them a website and be part of their marketplace. They even have partnered with a courier company. Watching the video makes me cringe. This guy is saying exactly as I told you in my first paragraph — “60–70 per cent of Filipinos are online!!!!”

Then when asked, how you can stand out amidst all the clutter in e-commerce, he said “Well it’s how social media comes into play…” (not verbatim). So now I ask: Why don’t you just tell people to sell on social media and focus there? Well, we all know the answer to this.

I even just had meetings with Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and they’ve been saying exactly the same thing. They want MSMEs to build their websites. Argh!

A change of mindset

Again, I’m not against it all. But people should start their business NOW and sell. Social media should be their main focus. Not websites or apps. We should be showing them how they can grow their business first, and get the money rolling before they start investing into websites. Maintaining one is no joke: It requires dedication, and worst, a dedicated tech staff whom you have to pay monthly. If you are offering this solution to a mom-and-pop shop without any technical background, then it’s doomed to fail.

By teaching the MSMEs the true power of social media, you encourage them that technology isn’t designed to compete, rather promote inclusion. The tools we should be teaching them should be the same tools they already use everyday: tools that when explored in its maximum potential, yield so much more than the tools you want them to pay monthly without a guarantee, anyway.

Education should be for free, and so should technology. It should be inclusive, not divisive. Let’s stop telling lies.


Disclaimer: This article would apply mostly to the Philippine context. The author operates a company called MyDivisoria PH, where it teaches members the power of social media to start their own business without or limited capital.

The views expressed here are of the author’s, and e27 may not necessarily subscribe to them. e27 invites members from Asia’s tech industry and startup community to share their honest opinions and expert knowledge with our readers. If you are interested in sharing your point of view, submit your post here.

Featured Image Copyright: gmast3r / 123RF Stock Photo

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