Social Commerce in a World of Social Distancing

Posted on 2020 April 8th.

COVID19 Pandemic has put governments down their knees and were forced to quarantine its citizens in their homes. Only essential businesses related to food, medical and logistics are allowed to operate under strict Social Distancing guidelines.

There are at least 900,000 small businesses in the Philippines that employs at least 4.3M Filipinos as of 2017 according to the Philippine Statistics Authority. More than 4.3M Filipinos in the workforce will be provided PHP 5,000 to PHP 8,000 aid from the Philippine government but this is nothing but a band aid solution, 900,000 small businesses in the Philippines need to figure out how to get back on their feet during or after the quarantine period or we will have face 4.3M jobless Filipinos.

It seems like all the odds are against the small business community but we should not give up just yet. We must make a stand by counting on what are our options and that is why we have listed options for small business owners to survive COVID19 Pandemic with the help of online technology. This is the time for small businesses to adapt or die. This is the time for them to make their business available online.


If you are in the food & beverage industry, you have to be enlisted in Grabfood. Merchants in Grabfood are currently overwhelmed with online orders that even Jollibee had to make their Chicken Joy available in the groceries so families can cook it themselves. They have maxed out their kitchen capacity and the demand still keeps going. It was a smart move by Jollibee to make Chicken Joy available in the groceries. However, there are 2 challenges that you have to conquer - get yourself enlisted on Grabfood As Soon As Possible and Grabfood only has limited number of bikers who could deliver food to your customers' doorsteps. Grab as a company must have thousands of applications to be a Grabfood Merchant and you might be caught up in its own system. We also experienced getting notified that there is no available biker in the area at certain times. This will lead us to the next option which is Lalamove.


This company provides courier and delivery services. In order to fulfill your online orders from your homes, you need a reliable partner like Lalamove to complete your transactions. You may prepare your dish in your kitchen and have Lalamove transport the order to your customer's doorstep. Just like Grabfood, Lalamove also has limited number of drivers who could fulfill your delivery needs. This leaves you to the next option of having your own e-commerce website.

e-Commerce Website

Having your own e-commerce website is great but it will cost you from PHP 250,000 up to PHP 250,000,000 depending on the scope of features you want. There could be cheaper cost than PHP 250,000 but we also have a saying If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys. You need to be financially prepared to have this investment and next step. You must have a reliable tech partner who can take care of the design, development, test, deployment, maintenance and support of your e-commerce website. You also have to invest in your catchy domain name, SSL certificate and a reliable cloud platform for hosting. It's a new asset in your company that could bring in more revenue and it needs professional management.

Fortunately, we can be your tech provider for your e-commerce website. Our standard rate is PHP 5,500 per hour and we can have a standard e-commerce website up and running within 24 hours. Once your website is up, all you have to do is pay its monthly cloud platform and its monthly maintenance and support bills. Our standard dedicated monthly maintenance and support time is at most an hour. Anything beyond the standard dedicated monthly maintenance and support time shall be billed with our standard rate per hour.

Not everyone is ready to make an investment in an e-commerce website. Fortunately, there is a more affordable alternative which is tapping the Social Commerce market.

Social Commerce

Everyone is familiar with e-commerce nowadays but not everyone has heard of social commerce. Social commerce is just e-commerce happening in social media. You could see it everyday, people posting what they are selling and people posting what they are looking for on Facebook. Good news is, Facebook has more than 60M Filipinos as users and ready for you to tap. You just need to be more organized and systematic when doing social commerce using your Facebook Page by training a chatbot to manage all your online orders and payments. One neat way to do that in the Philippines is integrate your chatbot with Paymongo so it can accommodate payments using debit or credit cards, apps like GCash and Coins PH, and over-the-counter options in 7-Eleven, MLhuillier and Cebuana Lhuillier.

Training a chatbot is more affordable than developing your e-commerce website because you do not have to pay monthly a cloud platform provider because Facebook does the hosting for you for free. You just have to pay your chatbot developer's hourly rate and whatever miscellaneous cloud fees are going to be included in the mix such as Paymongo fees.

However, you will be limited in the Facebook ecosystem. This means you have to abide with all the terms and conditions of Facebook. You are not in complete control of the direction of the technology your business is running on. Unlike an e-commerce website, you have complete control over the technology and its direction because you own the intellectual property of the e-commerce website.

Resabal Data Labs OPC specializes in training Facebook chatbots. Our hourly rate is still PHP 5,500 per hour and we can have your Facebook chatbot up and running within 40 hours. This already includes the payment gateway integration such as Paymongo.

Since we are in the middle of a pandemic, we have provided an alternative to small business owners by waiving our hourly rate in training a Facebook chatbot in return of charging a 5% admin fee for every successful online payment. A sample transaction is provided below.

Sample Transaction

Payment Mode: Visa Credit Card

Products/Services Subtotal: PHP 100

Admin Fee: PHP 5 (5% of PHP 100)

Paymongo Fee: PHP 18.50 (3.5% + PHP 15; Fee is determined based on the payment mode.)

Total: PHP 123.50

Admin Fee plus VAT: PHP 5.60

Waiving our hourly rate allows a small business to have its social commerce up and running with 0 costs. Resabal Data Labs OPC values long term business relationship and we would like to grow together with our clients and that is why we have provided them options of whatever works based on their current situation. If you are interested to engage with us, please book an appointment with us through the Contact Page of our website.

We hope this blog is helpful in this difficult time. We wish you all the best and stay safe!