Viber honors Pinoy entrepreneurs on World MSME Day
Viber, one of the world’s leading apps for free and easy communication, is celebrating World MSME Day that recognizes the valuable contributions of the micro, small and medium enterprises to their communities, industries, and economies around the globe.
According to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), MSMEs comprise 99.5% of business establishments in the Philippines, and are employing approximately 63% of the workforce. These numbers only emphasize the crucial role of these businesses in the country’s growth and more importantly, in the post-pandemic recovery.
At the height of the COVID-19 crisis in 2020, online sellers turned to Viber to keep their business afloat or launch a new one. The app has given small online entrepreneurs an opportunity to harness the power of conversational commerce and reach out to engaged consumers through their chats and strengthen their relationship with them. As a trusted partner, Viber has allowed online entrepreneurs to access safe, reliable features that can help them keep conversations going and improve their businesses.
One of the online seller-approved Viber features is the Communities. Dubbed as a quarantine star, Viber Communities have connected small online entrepreneurs to certain hyperlocal or specific interest groups. This allowed them to focus their efforts on consumers who are most likely to make a purchase from their business without having to spend on ads just to make it through the algorithm. As a response to this, Viber has created its official food directory, FoodPH. It’s a chatbot where users can search for a specific type of food or cuisine, or look for a dish based on location.
To further help online entrepreneurs, the messaging app has introduced Channels, a feature that like view-only Communities where only admins and Superadmins can post, keeping their chats clutter-free without sacrificing engagement since they can include a comment box per post.
Communities and Channels have helped the likes of Vivian Aguilar of Cookie Vives that offers handmade old-fashioned cookies boost their reach.
“Being a part of a Viber Community or Channel like FoodPH has helped me a lot in promoting my cookies outside my sphere of influence and in getting customers who are completely strangers,” she shares. “Because it is easy to use, it allows old-fashioned people like me to compete against digitally savvier homebakers.”
The multi-purpose app has also embarked on partnerships, collaborations, and programs that aim to help these entrepreneurs survive the pandemic and thrive thereafter. It has partnered with GCash to give businesses on FoodPH first dibs on QR codes before it became available for all users. It is also working with Globe for the Viber Negosyo Serye webinars that aims to equip independent online sellers with tools and know-how on bolstering sales and strengthening their customer relationship.
Viber has also recently launched Raket Mo ‘To and Da Best of FoodPH programs that intend to give small online entrepreneurs the boost they need to find success in their own business. Through the RaketPH and FoodPH channels, the app is currently looking for small online entrepreneurs who want to take their business to the next level. By joining the program, they will have the opportunity to showcase their business to a larger audience and share their inspiring story to aspiring online entrepreneurs. At the end of the programs, Viber will choose entrepreneurs who will win cash prizes and other prizes from our partners.
Charlotte Vengco of Banana Goodies that sells kakanin points out that Viber’s efforts have been a big help for home-based entrepreneurs who don’t have the luxury of a physical location.
“As we are slowly transitioning into the new normal, it’s been challenging to us to attract new customers since we don’t have a physical store. With the help of Viber, it’s become easier for us to reach out to customers through the Communities and Channels. They have also become like an outlet where we can freely promote our products,” she says.
The same is true for Andre Feliciano of Cocina Oragon that provides premium quality Filipino products. He emphasizes that ultimately Viber is an important tool for MSMEs because it is the Filipinos’ main communications platform.
“Apart from calling and messaging, Viber also got features that can help us streamline our operations,” he explains. “For instance, allowing us to share our location is one of the best features for me as a hands-on business owner since it saves me time when handling pickups and deliveries, which are vital processes in my business.”
As COVID-19 begins to lose grip on businesses worldwide, it’s imperative to ensure that online entrepreneurs should never be left behind in the better normal. Their survival and success impact not only the lives of their families and employees, partners and suppliers. Their collective resilience can influence a different kind of health—the economic health of a country whose people are more than raring to get back on their feet and restart the journey to their dreams.