In relative terms, the Philippine e-commerce industry is still in its early days, arguably having only hit critical mass when the COVID-19 pandemic forced a mass adoption of online business models. The newness of doing business online has caused many entrepreneurs to ask hard questions. For instance, can Filipino businesses still build good reputations in a purely online environment?
Hard-won lessons from the past few years suggest that it is possible—provided one is willing to put in the work. Fortunately, the process of building a strong reputation is repeatable across different niches and is often measurable. Let’s explore eleven actionable steps that small businesses can take to build a stellar reputation and thrive in the Philippines’ burgeoning digital landscape.
1) Prioritize Data Privacy and Security
The Philippines still faces serious issues in terms of data privacy and security. As a result, many consumers prefer to shop offline or deliberately choose more established online businesses, leaving little space for new players with no reputation to grow their customer base. Knowing this, fledgling online businesses should try to demonstrate their commitment to protecting their customer’s data to build trust.
To do this, businesses should not only comply with privacy regulations but also implement technologies that safeguard customer information. Choosing the best online payment processing solutions and using SSL encryption is a great start, as is using security methods link multi-factor authentication during checkout.
2) Deliver Exceptional Customer Service
In the greater scheme of things, online and offline customers want the same things. They want to be heard immediately, they prefer personalized assistance, and they want their issues resolved effectively. Unfortunately, many local businesses choose to ignore customer concerns online, damaging their reputation.
Thankfully, these businesses’ shortcomings can open up opportunities. By going the extra mile to ensure customer satisfaction, your small business can distinguish itself from the rest, creating positive experiences that contribute to building a solid reputation.
3) Make It Easy to Buy from You
Not offering certain payment methods or a coherent checkout process is not only potentially fatal to a site’s conversion rates but it can also spell trouble for its ability to build a meaningful reputation. After all, how can customers properly trust your business if they’re unable to buy what they want from your website?
To create a positive brand perception, businesses have to address customers’ pain points throughout their interactions with their websites. Fortunately, sites built on popular e-commerce platforms now have a wealth of ready-to-use options to facilitate customer journeys. For the Philippine market, for example, fintech company Maya—a trusted online payment processing company—offers a wide range of online payment solutions, like Maya Checkout, Payment Links, Maya Invoice Payments, and Maya Plugins for Shopify and WooCommerce, all of which small businesses can use to ensure a seamless customer buying experience.
4) Deliver Quality Products and Services
Of course, a smooth online buying experience won’t help a business’s reputation if it does not truly deliver the goods. To better earn the trust and loyalty of customers, businesses have to consistently meet or exceed customer expectations. By paying attention to small details, investing in product development, implementing reasonable pricing, and continuously striving for excellence, any business can eventually set itself apart from its competition.
5) Encourage Customers to Give Honest Reviews and Testimonials
Requesting feedback from satisfied customers and encouraging them to leave reviews or provide testimonials can convince others that you’re on the level. Display these reviews prominently on your website or social media platforms. Positive reviews and testimonials are powerful tools for attracting new customers.
6) Cultivate a Positive Social Media Presence
These days, it’s no longer enough to have a social media presence. To stay relevant, businesses must maintain an active presence. By engaging with customers, responding to comments, promptly addressing concerns, and sharing valuable content, businesses can foster a sense of community and build trust, creating a stronger reputation along the way.
7) Build Strong Partnerships and Collaborations
To succeed in the Philippines’ current online climate, you may have to consider influencer marketing. Try to foster collaborations with other reputable businesses, online influencers, or organizations that align with your brand values. By associating yourself with entities that are respected within your target market, you can enhance your reputation and potentially benefit from your partners’ networks as well.
8) Provide Valuable Content and Resources
It’s one thing to be associated with influencers, but trust in your business can reach a different level if it is a recognized entity within its niche. If you are the “face” of your business, you may want to consider establishing yourself as an industry expert by creating and sharing valuable content.
Publish informative blog posts, create useful how-to guides, and offer educational resources that address common customer pain points. By sharing valuable knowledge consistently, you will eventually gather valuable consumer awareness and position yourself as a trusted authority.
9) Offer Transparent Pricing and Policies
Hidden fees will almost certainly harm your reputation. To prevent misunderstanding, be transparent with your pricing, shipping fees, return policies, and any other relevant information. Clear and honest communication eliminates customer doubts and avoids nasty surprises, fostering trust and framing your business as one that deals fairly with its customers.
10) Actively Seek and Implement Customer Feedback
Many of your customers are willing to help you succeed. Regularly seek their feedback and use it to improve your products, services, and overall experience for other site visitors. Actively demonstrate that you value your customer’s opinions to avoid being seen as dismissive towards their concerns. With time, your business will be known as one that truly cares about its clientele.
11) Maintain Consistency
None of these other suggestions matter if you can’t do them consistently. Your consistency, after all, is the foundation of your integrity. Deliver on your promises, uphold ethical standards, and maintain your brand identity across all customer touchpoints. When you’re consistent with these, you’ll eventually reinforce trust and create a reputation for dependability.
Regardless of your niche, building a great reputation is a long journey that requires consistent effort and a customer-centric approach. Following the examples of other successful online businesses at home and abroad, Filipino entrepreneurs can cultivate a reputation that opens doors to new opportunities and sustainable patterns of success.
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