eBay recognizes the power of Filipino women

EVERYONe wants to be the “boss”—from entry-level clerks to top executives. But let’s face it, no matter how hard you work and get promoted, the only way to truly be the “boss” is if you own the business yourself.
Starting a business, however, is no walk in the park. Aside from the initial capital, inventory and other start up concerns, there is always a big risk that only a few are willing to take, not to mention the tons of paperwork involved.
Online venture
Maybe that’s why a lot of people have turned to the Internet to start their businesses. Not only does it require less capital and eliminate the need of having a physical store, there is also less paperwork involved. You can even start your business in as fast as 30 minutes!
One of the most trusted online businesses today is eBay. Founded in September 1995, eBay.com has become a global online marketplace where anyone can trade practically anything. It has a global presence in 39 markets with approximately 94.5 million active users worldwide, trading $2,186- worth of goods on the site every second.
“As the world’s largest eCommerce Community, our sellers have access to all our markets and consumers across the world,” explains Abhimanyu Lal, business head of eBay Philippines. “This presents a lot of opportunities for those who want to start their business,” he adds.
In the Philippines, eBay has over 750,000 registered users from all 12 metropolitan areas in the country. At any given time, there are over 400,000 live listings on eBay Philippines (www.eBay.ph) across 2,000 categories of products.
Lal says a lot of entrepreneurs have used eBay to overcome geographic and other challenges to access a global marketplace. “In fact, as many as 3,000 entrepreneurs in the Philippines, many of them women, now earn their livelihood from their eBay business.”
Women power
Reaffirming its commitment to fostering local entrepreneurship and to show its support for women, eBay has dedicated 2011 as the “Year of the Women Entrepreneur.”
At press conference Greenbelt’s M Café, eBay Philippines presented three women entrepreneurs who have successfully made the transition and maximized their earning potential via the online marketplace. They are Maria Rowena Pimental, Joanne Lim and Peapie Ponce.
Smell of success
Joanne Lim (eBay id: jlim88) started selling designer fragrances on eBay in 2006. Back then she said her only intention was to just help dispose of their excess inventories.
“After a few months, however, I continued getting more orders,” she recounted. She said she eventually had to find wholesale sources in the US to meet the increasing demand and sell her perfumes at a much cheaper price.
Joanne shared, “When I got started, I didn’t really intend to make a business out of eBay. Then I realized its potential in becoming part of my life. Thanks to eBay, I am actually able to work at home, and I have met many individuals from almost every province, some of who have become very good friends of mine.”
“The good thing about eBay is that you don’t have to be a computer wiz to start your business. All you have to do is fill in the blanks, take a picture and write a brief description of the item you are selling. It’s really just post and pray. Because everything is just a matter of timing,” she related.
Gadget girl
Rowena Pimentel (eBay id: agsbeagle) has been a passionate eBay seller since 2006. She was introduced to eBay by her husband and got started when she was completing her MBA. Pimentel primarily sells gadgets including digital cameras, laptops and iPods to buyers across the Philippines.
Pimentel says she was not that enthusiastic about eBay at first, but just after a year, she says they’ve gotten so many orders that they began looking for suppliers abroad and started importing their gadgets. Because of their success on eBay, Pimentel says they were able to put up a physical store in one of the famous shopping malls in Metro Manila with plans of expansion within the year.
Pimentel believes that they would have had a more difficult time had they gone through the traditional way of business and put up a store first. “If you merely rely on walk-in-customers, it would be hard enough to just break even, unlike in eBay where the customers are the ones looking for you.”
“Selling online has a lot of potential and I tell all my friends and relatives, that if you just spend some time on eBay you could actually earn an entire month’s salary of a regular employee in just a day.”
Perfect timing
Peapie Ponce (eBay id: iloveporkie) has been selling watches on eBay since 2006. Her most popular products are Technomarine watches.
A former call center agent for seven years, Ponce says she was looking for a way to supplement their income after the US company she was working for was struck by the global financial crisis.
“I was working from home back then and was always online, so I decided to try eBay,” Ponce narrates. Since she and her husband were into watches, she tried selling a few watches they originally bought for themselves. “After a few months, I was able to attain the status of power seller, so I thought this could be the business I’m looking for—and I was right.”
Useful tips
To be successful on eBay, Lal shared a few tips. First, he says is that you have to create a niche and bring something unique. Being responsive is also important as online customers appreciate prompt responses to their queries. Next is to make sure you post at least one to three good quality pictures of your product and offer some freebies to entice more customers. Lal also stressed the value of cross promotion. “If the person buys an ethnic skirt, they are also likely to pick up jewelry and accessories that would go with it. Finally, make sure you have a reliable shipping partner as customers would want to receive their item within two to four days.
Log onto www.ebay.ph to start your online business today.

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