While e-commerce has garnered mainstream acceptance in developed economies, online selling and auction sites still defer to bank transactions and personal meetups in the Philippines. Here, not everyone has access to a credit card or verified PayPal account. Without a secure and easy-to-use e-commerce platform, online retailers will usually opt for free services, although these are quite limited, and there is the trust factor (or lack of it) in using free services.
Checkout.PH is among the latest in a set of local startups that cater to the online checkout market. Run entirely by a team of Filipino developers and managers, Checkout.PH is currently in closed Beta launch, and has been bootstrapped since it started. The service is run by a five-person team, although only co-founder Luis Vega works on the project full-time. The other team members have full-time day jobs and contribute to Checkout.PH on their personal time.
The main advantage of Checkout.PH is that it does not charge service fees on top of transactions. According to the FAQ, only additional costs are fees added by the payment gateway. The service earns money from subscription fees, which are considerably reasonable: PhP 450 per month or PhP 150 per week.
In an interview with The Bobbery, Luis says the focus of the service is to offer an easy-to-setup e-commerce platform so that users will not have difficulty with tracking their inventory and revenues, among others.
“We noticed that some of our friends had some difficulties in selling some of their products online, such as inventory tracking and revenue monitoring. Existing online e-commerce applications were either too confusing or cluttered. As a team of technical and business-minded people, we wanted to build something that would provide value to people, something that could solve problems. That’s why we developed checkout.ph. We believed we could develop an application that was not only useful but also very user-friendly and affordable.”
Checkout.PH has the following features, and the team is currently fine-tuning the service to offer more.
- Simple product upload UI
- Advanced options, including shipping fees, taxes, comparison shopping
- Payment methods, including PayPal (other methods are being worked out)
- Inventory tracking
- Revenue and order tracking
- Custom analytics
- Notification system
The service also integrates social networking services, which makes it easy for sellers to market their goods virally through Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. Sellers can either promote their products on their own sites, or through a storefront under a checkout.ph subdomain.
Interested sellers that sign up for the beta program can get two months’ free service. For now, the Checkout.PH team says they plan to further improve the service with better security and safety measures for transactions and shipping.
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