Since the start of the community quarantine, e-commerce websites have gained a new purpose for many Filipinos. With mass closures of business establishments and employment layoffs, these platforms have generated new opportunities for them to keep their families supported.

“E-commerce has made a profound impact on our lives, and especially so this year,” says Martin Yu, associate director of Shopee Philippines. “We are fortunate to be at the forefront of this transformation in our region, and we want to continue creating livelihoods for local sellers and entrepreneurs, ways for people to shop and connect, and new paths to success for businesses.”

Online shopping platforms helped thousands of entrepreneurs, from SMEs to top brands, by creating more avenues for them to reach their consumers better, even keeping the country’s economy on a good state. Based on the analysis of Google, investment company Temasek, and consultancy firm Bain and company, the Philippines garnered a 55 percent growth in its digital economy that offsets the declines in travel and transport.

This time, these online shopping websites are paving the way for the Filipino tradition of Christmas shopping alive even during this uncertain time. While taking the Yuletide retail therapy online proposes a much accessible, convenient, and safer way to go through your holiday shopping, there are still internet threats consumers need to watch out for. From getting the most out of their purchases to protecting themselves from online scams, here are some of the basics of safe online shopping consumers should take note of. 

Keep an eye on your target item

Getting informed when online sales are happening is essential, but knowing what you are buying and bookmarking these items will make a difference. Generally, product postings are updated as soon as the sale dates kick in and present their marked down price. Doing this shortens surfing time and gets you ahead of the other online shoppers. 

Use their prime platform

Getting more out of your money is the ultimate goal when shopping online. One way to do this is by shopping directly on their apps. Customers can earn more points for their e-wallets, which can be used for future purchases. Plus, avid online shoppers say that discounts codes, coupons, and shipping vouchers are best applied during bigtime sales.

Be inquisitive and alert

When talking to an online seller, never be shy to ask specific questions about the product you’re about to purchase. Also, be wary of red flags such as inadequate product information, wild claims, and unresponsive sellers. Knowing that the products have gone through government regulatory agencies assures that your purchases are safe to use and consume.

Visit other platforms

Looking at other e-commerce websites and comparing prices is an option to consider. Also, local tiangges and flea markets like Taytay Tiangge, Tutuban, and Dapitan Arcade are adapting to digital shopping in order to help their longtime merchants, which make them worth visiting and supporting. For luxury goods, better get them from trusted websites like Store Specialist Inc.’s or via Rustan’s e-commerce store.

Use secure and safe payment channel

Even though the country is under a much relaxed health protocol, doing contactless payment is still encouraged to keep the virus from spreading. According to Stay Safe Online, an organization dedicated to cybersecurity, “Using a credit card is much better than using a debit card. There are more consumer protections for credit cards if something goes awry.”

Most online shops accepting credit card payments use Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption to ensure secure transactions. A website must have SSL installed and its URL should start with https instead of http. It is also advised to use third party payment services, like Paypal, GCash, SmartMoney, and DragonPay, that allow consumers to transact without giving valuable information. 

Source: Manila Bulletin (