36 Best Online Business Ideas in the Philippines for 2017


E-commerce will continue to make a significant impact on global business in 2017. Market analysts report global e-commerce is trending toward a US$2 Trillion year in 2016.

The short term forecast is that e-commerce may hit US$12 Trillion by 2020! Online business ideas are your best bet for enterprise in the Philippines for 2017.

Asia has accounted for 39.7% of global online sales in 2016. It is estimated that Asia will generate US$1 trillion in e-commerce sales by 2017.

You also have to consider that the world has become increasingly mobile. People and businesses are depending more on their smartphones to find information and to complete transactions. Online businesses will continue to thrive in 2017.

If you want to set up an online business, there are few things you should get done:

  • Register your business – As a corporation, you gain more respectability and improve your chances of landing favorable arrangements with suppliers, wholesalers, and manufacturers.
  • Set up a website – Invest in a website that is mobile responsive, fast to download, accessible via multi-browsers, fully functional and fully optimized. Don’t even think about using a free template!
  • Set up a merchant account – You cannot transact unless you set up a merchant account.
  • Open social media accounts – Online marketing is a big part of launching a successful online business, and social media is a great way to build your online presence.
  • Build your brand – It takes time to develop a brand. Start building your brand as soon as possible. Your brand will help you find your market.

If you haven’t zoned in on your planned venture, here are 36 of the best online business ideas you might want to consider in the Philippines for 2017.

1. Fashion Apparel

In the world of e-commerce, fashion apparel continues to rule. Since 2013, fashion apparel has been the most purchased item online from every corner of the world.

In Asia, 63% of all online purchases in the US$855 Billion e-commerce industry comes from fashion apparel. The trend is expected to continue well into the year 2020.

An emerging market in fashion is Active Wear which is apparel that can be worn in and out of the gym. Pop stars Beyonce, Rihanna, Kanye West and style mavens Kendall and Kylie Jenner have released their line of Active Wear.

Can you imagine if you could distribute the Active Wear of all of those celebrities? You could have the best online business idea in 2017!

2. Electronics

With life and business under the influence of technology, it should be no surprise that electronics is the number 1 e-commerce item purchased online in Asia. 69% of all online purchases are for electronic items.

These items include smartphones, tablets, portable music players and every other high tech gadget designed to make life more comfortable and life easier.

You should offer categories for brand new models, old models, and second-hand units.

3. Groceries

Does anyone believe there will be a resolution to the traffic problem?

No one wants to spend 1 hour getting to the supermarket and another 1 or 2 hours getting out. Everyone has to shop for groceries, but traffic and poor infrastructure make it very inconvenient.

An online grocery shopping service would be a big relief for many Filipinos who hardly have enough time to relax with family. Perhaps set up arrangements with retailers then hire motorcycle delivery services for handling and transportation.

4. Household Goods

You could also retail household goods that are often purchased such as:

  • Utensils
  • Glassware
  • Plastic ware
  • Cooking ware
  • Cleaning equipment

These items are not perishables and as long as they are stored properly will remain in great condition.

Household goods account for 38% of all online sales in Asia!

5. Office Supplies

This is a good retail segment to get into for two reasons. First, you cater to the different offices that do not have the time or the workforce to buy office supplies.

Second, you will also be catering to the growing home based business market. More people are setting up home offices and becoming entrepreneurs. These are not just workstations but areas where the normal business activity takes place. These home-based businesses also need office supplies.

You can introduce a membership card to encourage users of your service to buy in volume to gain discounts.

6. Gift Boxes

This has been a growing trend in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia. Gift boxes are ornately adorned packages that are filled with goodies which are delivered to a recipient every month for an entire year.

Imagine celebrating the first year of your child by sending him/ her a gift box every month from the date of birth. It will be Christmas 12 months of the year!

Members only need to pay an annual fee to receive the gift box. You can choose the products which include toys, books, clothes and perfume among others.

7. Sporting Goods

Filipinos love sports, so it only makes sense to start an online business that caters to every type of sporting activity. It will also be a big help for families whose child may need an immediate sporting goods item such a set of padded arnis sticks in 2 days!

Offer a wide selection of sporting goods merchandise from apparel to equipment to those not found in the regular mall- based sporting goods store.

Sporting goods accounted for 20% of all online sales in Asia.

8. Pet Supplies

Last week one of the major retailers of pet supplies opened its latest outlet. Every time I pass by their store, there are no customers. I asked the store manager how business was doing.

She said business was very good. According to her most of the sales were from online sources. The store functions as a warehouse, product display and to capture walk-in customers.

There is a large market for pet supplies in the Philippines. You should increase the value proposition by including pet care and grooming services.

Pet supplies also accounted for 20% of all online sales in Asia.

9. Luxury items

I am not sure of the statistics, but there is a market segment for luxury items in the Philippines. It may not be huge but you can be rest assured you can have good margins on luxury items.

Luxury items include watches, pens, jewelry and other accessories. You could offer second-hand items at greatly discounted prices for better value. Luxury items accounted for 6% of all online sales in Asia.

10. Publications

Books at 67% were the second most purchased items online in Asia. You could offer second-hand books that cover a wide range of categories such as:

  • Fiction
  • Non-Fiction
  • Children’s Books
  • Text Books
  • Popular References

You can visit retailers such as Book Sale and note it continues to generate good traffic.

11. Supplements

If I wanted to buy supplements, I used to take an almost hour long drive to a retailer who sold them at affordable prices.

It was a great relief to find supplement retailers online. All I need to do is place my order 1-2 days before delivery, and they’ll send it to my house via motorcycle courier.

If you plan to be an online supplement retailer, I advise having chat support services so you can guide site visitors who have questions about your products. It would also be helpful to have a supplements review page available for reference.

12. Food Delivery

A growing segment of the food delivery business is health food. More online proprietors are offering customized healthy food for the health and fitness conscious.

This is a good idea because food cost on healthy food is high. You have to buy from organic or natural sources which are more expensive. By operating from home, you cut down on overhead expenses to lower the retail price without compromising your margins.

Many of these health and fitness buffs order food in bulk. Some will order 25 packaged meals every week!

13. Content Marketing

Content Marketing is one of the most effective strategies for building inbound traffic to your website. With content marketing, you pull people toward your business by consistently crafting great, relevant and engaging content.

To pull off successful content marketing, you need amazing writers who have a working knowledge of keywords. Blogs and articles need keywords at the right density to be found online.

Blogging is the cornerstone of content marketing. Businesses are constantly outsourcing content marketing because they do not have the expertise to do this on their own.

14. Educational Assessment

One thing I hope they would introduce in the Philippines is online educational assessment which is prevalent in Australia. Students sign up then submit their homework, test results for the online teachers to review and assess.

Online tutorials are done, and recommendations are given out. Most of the tutorial centers here only focus on Math and English. Online educational assessment can include other subjects as well.

15. Personal Shopper

Traffic is just getting worse, and with Christmas just a few months away, you should expect the drive home to take longer.

An online personal shopper will be an early Christmas gift for those who do not like pushing through queues or driving around looking for parking space.

You can do this by making arrangements with leading department stores. I believe they will be receptive to extending discounts because you will be encouraging more people to shop.

16. English Tutorial

English Tutorial services continue to grow in demand in the Philippines. A friend of mine has been doing this for four years now, and he has upped his income from 30,000 Pesos to 50,000 Pesos per month! Not bad considering he only works 4 hours in the day.

He is thinking of setting up his home-based center by hiring English tutors and focusing on the marketing aspect instead. Most of his clients are from South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan.

A good idea would be to offer two options: one-on-one instruction and classroom instruction. Throw in the educational assessment program to improve your value proposition!

17. Accounting Services

Accounting is a necessary aspect of business. I’ve heard many businesses close up simply because they did not track the flow of funds going in and out of their coffers. But accounting can be time-consuming work.

You don’t have to be a CPA to run an accounting service online business. You need good encoders and account managers who are meticulous in detail.

Offer bookkeeping, payroll preparation and accounts/ inventory management among your services. Preparation of financial statements and tax accounting would entail separate charges.

18. Transcription Services

Transcription remains a stable online segment. There are several transcription jobs you can find online. These cover legal, medical, business, close caption and educational.

You do not need to be a certified transcriber to become successful. It is more important to be proficient in written and spoken English. You should know when to use punctuation marks, especially in legal transcription.

Accuracy and timely delivery of text files will assure you of consistent work from clients.

19. Fitness Coaching

If you are interested in getting fit but have no idea of where and how to start, chances are you will sign up for personal training services. But these could be quite expensive.

Why not offer Fitness Coaching online? Some apps offer these services already but having dedicated Fitness Coaching gives the trainee more diversified options.

You can customize training programs, diet and supplement programs. You can help them train at home if they cannot make the drive to the gym. If you plan to do Fitness Coaching, make sure you get certification as a Personal Training. Certification will improve your brand.

20. Virtual Assistance Services

Virtual assistants are alternately referred to as telecommuters, freelancers or home based workers. They are no longer limited to secretarial or personal assistant services.

Today’s virtual assistants can manage more technical services such as accounting, graphics design and CRM administration.

More virtual assistants and agencies offer these services because of rising demand. It is estimated that in 2020, 50% of workforces will be composed of virtual assistants. By hiring virtual assistants, companies save more money without compromising productivity.

If you have organizational skills and have specific competencies, you should consider launching virtual assistance services.

Related: Top 10 Home Based Part Time Online Jobs

21. Customer Support Services

Customer support has become a more crucial aspect of business as the Internet grew in prominence. This is because consumers today are more accessible. If you don’t take care of your customers, another competitor can find ways to steal them from you.

If you want to set up customer support services, you should be familiar with HelpDesk, SupportCenter Plus, SalesForce and other customer support programs. In addition to an inbound/outbound number, you should have chat support.

The most important component can put customers at ease while working toward a quick resolution to issues.

22. Business Consultancy

The majority of enterprises set up globally are defined as a small business. Statistically, only 55% of small businesses remain operational within five years.

If you have a track record of guiding small businesses grow past five years, you should set up a website on business consultancy. You can retail modules and e-books; offer personalized coaching, webinars, and monthly retention packages.

23. Data Entry Services

In this day and age of Big Data, more companies need their data collected, mined and entered. This is work that is popularly outsourced by many businesses. It is time-consuming and can be tiring.

You can set up a team of data encoders so you can capitalize on the volume of work. As the proprietor, you should focus on marketing your services to various companies.

24. Freelance Writing

Writing is one of the first skills we learn as soon as we can hold a pencil. But not everyone can write great engaging content.

As a freelance writer, you can offer writing services for blogs, articles, resumes, e-books, research papers, scripts, social media posts, web copy, marketing copy and other projects that need content.

Your website should have access to your portfolio.

25. Life Coaching

Many people become depressed because they feel lost and don’t know what to do with their lives. They have no outlet because they do not trust their families or friends. Sometimes all they need is someone to talk to.

If you have a degree in Behavioral Psychology and have a great way of dealing with people, Life Coaching could be the online business for you in 2017. Your set up should include an inbound/outbound line and chat support.

In this kind of business, all concerns have to be addressed within 24 hours as patrons may be emotionally fragile. They would not want to feel rejected. You may have to hire 1-2 assistants on stand-by.

26. Events Planner

Everyday events are happening all over your city. Situations notwithstanding, Filipinos will always find a way to celebrate.

I’ve been to many weddings, birthdays and functions and I will say event planning is a crucial component to the success of any activity. I always tell the same thing to friends and associates, “Get an events planner.” It makes everything less stressful and more fun for the celebrants.

To become an events planner, you should be highly organized and have connections with suppliers such as photographers, print shops, entertainers and food retailers. Most of all, you should have the patience required to deal with demanding customers. There are quite a lot!

27. Digital Photography

Photography is an activity with many applications. You can offer your services to cover events, food shots for restaurants, images for marketing collateral and publications among others.

Your website should highlight all of your best works. Your home page should feature what you would consider your “piece de resistance” translated from French means “outstanding accomplishment.”

28. Music Instructor

As a self-taught guitar player, I can say websites that feature transcription is manna from heaven. It’s easier to learn my favorite songs through transcription.

If you have the skills, the chops, and the competence to teach music, you should consider setting up an online music school. You can provide online instruction, subscriptions to transcribed music, one-on-one sessions, virtual jam sessions, retail modules and even your original music.

More and more people are learning the guitar. This could be one of the better online business ideas in the Philippines for 2017.

29. Virtual Call Center Services

One question I get often asked as a proprietor of a business website is the future of BPO given the political and business climate in the Philippines.

I share the opinion of a friend of mine who believes companies will turn to virtual call center services to minimize risk and uncertainty given the unpredictability of the Philippines. I agree with him that companies invest in the talent regardless of what the government says and does. It’s also a lower cost option that will benefit both parties.

A virtual call center is not difficult to set up. You only need the following:

  • Inbound/outbound number
  • Dialer system with auto recording
  • Project management software
  • Encrypted FTP
  • Communication channels
  • Chat services
  • Dedicated e-mail

A program like SalesForce can do most of these for you at very minimal costs.

30. Website Design / Management

In 2017, more businesses will be set up. And chances are fewer than 50% will have websites.

The trend has continued over the last few years; fewer than 50% of businesses have websites. If you want to maximize your sales opportunities, you must have a website especially as consumers have become more mobile.

If you have the skills to design a variety of websites, you should also have connections to a programmer, graphics designer, social media manager and SEO professional to increase your value proposition.

Related: 11 Website Design Mistakes That Can Affect Your Websites Performance

31. SEO Professional

If you are among the 45% who have a website, it will improve your chances of being found if you have your pages optimized by an SEO Professional.

Search Engine Optimization or SEO is a highly specialized skill that works to increase the organic search rankings of your website. The principles of SEO seem basic, but it requires more thought, strategy, and experience. If your pages are not optimized, it will be very difficult for search bots to find and index your website.

If you have the training and experience to render SEO services, you could have a long, sustainable career because more businesses are using Internet- based marketing strategies.

32. Social Media Management

If your business is not in social media, you are undermining its profit potential. There are 2 Billion people on social media; that is 61% of the total number of people on the Internet.

8 out of 10 people you know have a social media account. We’re on social media every day, but that does not make us experts.

If you have digital marketing experience, you could parlay that into a lucrative career as a social media manager or consultant. From the people I know in the business, on average companies pay social media managers US$700 per month. Imagine if you had a few more of those clients?

33. Software App Development

As we head off to 2017, more people will continue to be dependent on smartphones and gadgets. Industry analysts have the global app market tracking toward US$143 Billion in 2016; up from US$53 Billion in 2012.

Apps continue to be in demand as people continue to look for ways to make life and work more convenient. Social media and entertainment apps continue to be the most downloaded apps.

If you have the technical expertise and the right people for the job, determine a need then create a software app for it. With software app, if you hit the jackpot you could make a windfall.

34. Investments Consultant

We all want to maximize our hard earned money but putting it in the bank will only benefit the bank. We’ve read about stocks and mutual funds but what are these instruments and how can they help us cope with inflation?

More people are looking for financial advice given the uncertain times. If you have built a reputable career guiding people in making financial decisions, you can put up a website for investments consultation. You can impart your knowledge on when to buy stocks, US dollars or insurance.

35. Video Production Services

The video is a favorite medium for entertainment and marketing. It’s amazing what today’s video producers can do with technology. In one wedding that I went to, new footage was added and edited into the video in seconds!

Video Production Services will remain in demand for events such as weddings, birthdays and corporate gatherings. It may require some investment but the volume of projects could help you cover your investment in no time.

36. Translation Services

This is a highly specialized field that pays good money as an outsourced service.

Friends of mine who are fluent in Spanish and Japanese claim they are paid 50,000 Pesos per engagement. The rate could go up depending on the extent of the translation.

The requirement for translation services should be at least Level 7 in an International Language school. Level 7 means you can speak, converse, engage, read and write the language fluently.

As outsourcing continues to trend upwards and as we receive more projects from countries outside the US, expect demand for translation services to remain high in 2017.

Pick the best online business ideas for 2017

These are only 36 best online business ideas for the Philippines in 2017. I’m sure you can think of other businesses that you can run online. There’s hardly any business or industry that you won’t find online soon. I have read reports that you may be able to buy gasoline online or real estate property can be processed and sold or bought online in a few years.

As technology continues to evolve, the future for establishing online business becomes brighter and clearer.

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