News: Netpreneurs reap benefits of Yehey!?s payments scheme -
11 Jan 2008
The new generation of entrepreneurs is starting to realize the benefits of having a presence on cyberspace as local Internet users turn into "cyber consumers."
"Going online is almost a requirement nowadays," said Dustin Andaya of Islandorse.net, the website of one of the country’s largest local rose suppliers, Philippine Cut Flowers Corporation (PCFC). Island Rose started delivering bouquets, harmony wreaths and gift items to anywhere in the Philippines through the Net, with prices inclusive of fixed shipping rate and VAT. Its online basket also brims with reward points and discounts for Island Rose members.
While not a newbie in the healthcare industry, Medicard Philippines found the same need to establish an online presence. "It was in 2001 when we formulated a new IT plan, and our design was really to digitize everything," Medicard’s assistant vicepresident for information technology Lorena Benipayo said.
Both companies have partnered with Yehey.com’s Kaban Internet Payments (www.kaban.com.ph), an online payment gateway system that enables small businesses to accept customer payment through ATM, credit card or electronic cash modes such as Globe GCash.
Yehey!’s attraction to online vendors like Island Rose and Medicard is its over 30 million page views a month and nearly 300,000 registered users, ranking among the top three most-viewed website in the country. "With the onslaught of new competition and a tougher operating environment, you can’t expect to compete as a small business today without using an arsenal of marketing tools," says Jonas R. delos Reyes, eCommerce Manager of Yehey.com, one of the leading Filipino Internet portals.
With Internet usage growing annually by an average of 42 percent in the past five years, the Net now brims with promises for the local papaya soap dealer, the barako coffee supplier or the flower farmer who used to merely ply their trade downtown and rely on their satisfied customers to get the word out that their businesses exist.
"We were like a guinea pig for PayPlus," Island Rose’s Mr. Andaya said, referring to Yehey.com’s service that preceded the newly reengineer Kaban payment system. "And I’ve always worked well with Yehey! It’s secure, and I know their website delivers many hits," he added. Island Rose now has a steady OFW and migrant Pinoy customer base. Along with sturdy ties with major hotels, restaurants and flower shops, the online store serves a strong business lifeline.
Ms. Benipayo said the "very minimal set-up fee" led Medicard towards Kaban. "Unlike other payment systems where we have to maintain a minimum balance, in Kaban we don’t have to pass on the cost to our online buyers," she said.
Medicard developed all back-office system before fortifying its e-commerce strategy. Now, all prospective individual and family clients have to do is visit the site, fill out an online application form, and the accomplished forms will be directed automatically to its underwriting department.
Ms. Benipayo said ecommerce is important in "providing value-added service" and promoting "people empowerment and information sharing."