E-commerce in the Philippines is here to stay, with the market reaching a valuation of $17 billion in 2021 and with a market outlook of $24 billion by 2025, according to the International Trade Administration.
One emerging e-commerce trend is the rise of conversational commerce, or c-commerce. C-commerce is how brands use messaging and conversational technology to talk to consumers in a more natural and personal way, as if they were talking to a friend. This approach allows brands to create tailored recommendations, help with orders, and give further assistance even before and after a transaction.
Leading communications app Rakuten Viber has in fact recorded a 30 percent year-over-year increase in enterprise business accounts created and a 34 percent year-over-year increase in delivered business messages in the Philippines in the first half of 2023, proving that c-commerce is a potent tool for improving customer service. As a longtime champion of micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), Rakuten Viber is also equipping budding businesses with new ways to harness c-commerce and personalize customer experience.
While strengthening its core messaging and calling features, the popular conversational commerce app also initiated MSME-focused channels such as RaketPH and FoodPH, where they can engage both with online businesses and potential customers. It also hosted two editions of Pinoy Dream Negosyo by Rakuten Viber, a grant program that aims to empower MSMEs to launch their business or scale their side hustles up.
Now, Rakuten Viber has taken it up a notch by introducing a business account solution solely for MSMEs, allowing budding entrepreneurs to have an official Rakuten Viber business profile that’s separate from their personal accounts. The new business toolkit features a searchable public profile, 1:1 customer chats kept inside a dedicated folder, and a product catalog, solutions that Filipino MSMEs believe can help them future-proof their businesses.
Foodpreneur and the first Pinoy Dream Negosyo winner Mon Cabsag says Rakuten Viber has been instrumental in spreading word about his business. “The Bistro Box started out on the FoodPH Channel when we were all on lockdown, and I got the financial boost I needed when I joined the Pinoy Dream Negosyo. Rakuten Viber has opened a lot of opportunities for me as a small business owner,” Cabsag explains. “The app’s starter business account for MSMEs has allowed me to reach more customers with my business’ searchable Rakuten Viber profile.”
Online food business owners and champs of Pinoy Dream Negosyo season two Zee Pono and Rhea Calooy credit Rakuten Viber for improving their customer relationships. “As business newbies, Rakuten Viber enabled us to provide the best service at every step of the customer journey with its reliable calling and messaging features and the channels they created for MSMEs, and through the business training programs they offered to us,” Pono shares.
“We’re excited to see how Rakuten Viber’s new MSME business account can elevate our business. Having a dedicated folder for our chats also helps us respond to their inquiries as quickly as possible, making sure they know that we’re serious about catering to their needs,” Calooy underlines.