E-commerce enabler Etaily announces its acquisition of US$1.6 million in seed funding, with investments from leading businesses such as the Ayala Ventures, Foxmont Capital Partners, Magsaysay Shipping & Logistics, the Boston Consulting Group, and other renowned angel investors.
The funding is expected to spur the growth and development of Philippine e-commerce, while preventing the breakout of a “retail apocalypse” similar to what has been happening in the U.S. and Europe.
This forecast of the future of Philippine e-commerce was discussed in the recent webinar, “Breaking The e-Retail Ceiling In ASEAN” hosted by Etaily, an e-commerce enabler that provides brands with end-to-end omni-channel solutions while integrating their offline and online retail processes and services. This unique approach will provide traditional retail companies a lifeline into the digital world and continue to connect beloved Filipino brands to their consumers.
Etaily has generated more than 1 million transactions, made more than 50,000 unique products available to the entire country and beyond such as Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore. It has managed more than 20 brands across all online channels, activated more than 10 offline retailers for online capability, and has a gross merchandise value revenue projected for 2021 to be USD 10 million.
As Alexander Friedhoff, CEO of Etaily, put it, “We will not allow the retail apocalypse that happened in the US and in Europe because we are giving traditional retailers the digital fighting chance to compete for the local as well as regional market. We are connecting online brands and retailers to ASEAN consumers by integrating their business offline and online. The most important thing there is one winner, the final consumer. And we are happy to give them a fighting chance and to support end-to-end throughout their journey.”
Etaily was launched on March 2020 at the height of the pandemic, leveraging on the quick but massive migration of consumers to the digital marketplace and online shopping. It has helped traditional merchants find their place within the brave new world of e-commerce, and used digital tools to guide them through the changing and overwhelming markets. Using its front-end-to-back-end capabilities with multi-channel solutions, and seamless integrations with SEA-leading online channels, established businesses and upstarts can scale their brands.
Toti Wong, CCO of Etaily, explains how their platform and processes make e-commerce user-friendly even for newbie companies who want to scale, and not just survive. He says, “I think most Filipino retailers are quickly learning that e-commerce is becoming more complex. The marketplaces in 2017 were totally different than the ones today. In the coming months and years, this will not get any simpler. As an e-commerce enabler, Etaily’s role is to navigate these complexities for sellers and for brands so they don’t have to learn all these things themselves. They can then focus on their core business of brand management, distribution, and retailing.”
Meanwhile, Tatiana Cziormer, COO of Etaily, said brands can also leverage on their data to gain a more thorough understanding of their customers, strengthen their client relationship management, and increase their platforms’ buying power. She emphasizes that today’s tech can make the transition of brands to digital seamless, effective, and yet user-friendly: “As e-commerce grows in SEA and the Philippines, we know it will become more complex. The SME’s will have to be on different stages and we have to provide solutions for them. We need to innovate and create new technology for them. At the end of the day, we hope Filipino brands and retailers will become competitive especially in the global market. We want to bring down the geographical and commercial barriers, so that we can introduce to the global market brands that Filipinos love.”
Amor Maclang, Convenor of Digital Pilipinas, pointed to the advantages that an established e-commerce ecosystem can give Philippine companies: “More than just e-retail and e-commerce, the Philippines is leading on many frontiers when it comes to technology. We are one of the pioneers in fintech and payment in the world, and all eyes are on us. We want to continue to champion those even in the nascent asset classes like crypto and tokenization. Our journey in e-retail, eMSME’s, and e-commerce is not going to be far behind. We really thank platforms like Etaily who have taken the heavy lifting out of the way and are creating ecosystems that will allow the retailers in the Philippines a true fighting chance.”
Alberto M De Larrazabal, the CFO, CR, and Chief Sustainability Officer of Ayala Corp. also spoke of their support of e-commerce growth through their Etaily partnership, saying that it “continues our journey of prioritizing the digitization of retail. The biggest winner here is the Filipino as we believe e-commerce is the answer to many of our challenges. Etaily makes products available to the whole country, and we are here to promote digital retail and equip our country for a sustainable future.”
Jesse Maxwell, COO of Magsaysay Shipping and Logistics, described the integral role that logistics plays in building Philippine e-commerce, “The Philippine logistics structure is challenging to work with. We are an archipelago—and moving these goods at the pace that we want to see from e-commerce will require more investments in this space. We need to invest a lot into warehousing, technology, trucks, and last-mile capabilities, to ensure the customer experience [for] consumers … [who] will continuously support this massive new adoption.”
Finally, Franco Varona, Managing Partner of Foxmont Capital Partners, added that Etaily’s new funding can accelerate the growth of e-commerce in the country. He pointed out that the 112 million Filipino users on social media, who are also buying and selling online, can prove to be attractive to foreign investors like Singaporean investors. He said, “We are seeing actual e-commerce websites that Etaily helps—they started from zero and are now moving Php20 million of goods per month. There is really a large quick growth in the Philippine market. If Singaporean investors are noticing that, we will then be on the same path as Indonesia 10 years ago—we will catch up at a fast pace. We are basically as connected as Indonesia and waiting for outside investors to realize the outside potential of this market.”
Friedhoff reaffirmed that the Philippine’s e-commerce future is one “where the Filipino wins. Etaily stands for Filipino brands. We integrate both offline and online channels as the digital tools that serve them the best. That is why we focus on the entire retail journey.”