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Janette Toral (PH): Digital and Social Insights for COVID-19 Affected Local Businesses

Last Update: Aug 16, 2022 @ 5:10 am

Janette Toral reports that e-commerce has been and still is a major growth driver for the last decade and, thanks to the growing economy of the Philippines and the increasing amount of online consumers, it is set to continue over the approaching years.

In this VirtualPreneur Summit of 2020, we tackle the actions entrepreneurs can take when facing a crisis. This online conference offers solutions and insights for struggling or entrepreneurs who are seeking a shift in perspectives from other digital marketing professionals.

The Speaker: Janette Toral

Janette Toral is one of the keynote speakers of the summit and is also regarded as one ASEAN authority in digital marketing and e-commerce. At her highest value, she provides independent insights through unassuming mastermind coaching sessions. 

Janette is also the digital influencer and leadership coach behind DigitalFilipino.com which is her personal website that started last September 17, 1999. Her site has served as a platform for numerous online experiments in the area of e-commerce, Internet research, Philippine Internet history, and blogging.

What Can You Learn from the podcast:

  • Why the Philippines E-commerce encountered a fall in the economy (1:35)
  • How Filipinos consumers and entrepreneurs are opening up to the notion of shopping online (3:07)
  • Groceries: Innovating with the Lockdown and ECQ (8:48)
  • COVID 19 lockdown: The best time to take online courses (11:10)
  • Social Media : Filipinos Online behavior to COVID 19 (10:35)
  • Making Good Use of Social Media during COVID 19 (10:50)
  • Entrepreneur’s suggested plan of actions for COVID 19  (15:10)
  • Entrepreneurs: Making proper use of their extra time (22:03)
  • E-commerce: It shouldn’t stop with COVID 19 (26:40)

Connect with Janette Toral via FACEBOOK, LINKEDIN or through the WEBSITE.


Janette opens her presentation with a question: How do we move forward as businesses and entrepreneurs whose operations are halted under the COVID 19 pandemic?

Janette mentions that in 2018, the Philippines’ E-commerce encountered a fall in our economy because of two reasons. First was the influx of foreign goods. Second, the country is also experiencing heavy traffic in metro areas.

The influx was mainly because of the official Customs Administrative Order (CAO) 02-2016 which will implement Section 423 of the New Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA) signed into law as Republic Act (RA) 10863, of the Bureau of Customs which states that “no duties and taxes shall be collected on goods with freight on board or free carrier value of P10,000 and below.

In simpler terms, any orders overseas that are below 10,000 pesos are non-taxable in the country.

And with the implementation of RA 10863, Filipinos have ordered plenty of things online. The influx of foreign goods has also affected local tradings but the market has adjusted to the demands of online consumers by making dropshipping widely available in the Philippines.

READ ALSO: Anthony “Boss Ton” Leuterio’s Strategies for Businesses Affected By COVID-19 Pandemic

Online Shopping

In 2019, the challenges of the previous year were strongly recognized in forms of the growing cash-on-delivery improvement and logistic services made available for the Filipinos.

“We’ve seen a lot of logistic services startups, some of them have come strong and some have also disappeared in the process,” says Janette.

These services have allowed Filipinos plenty of options to choose when shopping online. Local entrepreneurs have also been encouraged to grow their functions with the Facebook marketplace, carousel, and other e-commerce friendly applications of which they can easily sell their products and services. 

For 2020, however, E-commerce is under threat of the COVID19 lockdown from different parts of the world. While the travel industry was heavily affected by this, we also see a rise in online groceries and pharmacies. Video conferencing services have also received plenty of attention.

“DigitalFilipino.com has also been affected by COVID 19 but with every problem, there is a challenge and an opportunity,” says Janette. “In moments of uncertainties or crisis, you can either hold on to your resources for as long as you can to minimize spending.”

Online Courses

Janette also believes that there is no better time to invest in online courses or other materials to improve your skills than during the Enhance Community Quarantine (ECQ).

“You can find plenty of free courses these days but after the COVID 19 pandemic, it won’t be so easily available anymore,” reminds Janette to the listeners of VirtualPreneur Summit 2020.

But of course, not everyone is making that decision since we are still in the first month of the enhanced community quarantine. 

Changing The Way Digitalfilipino.com Does Business

Even in its first month, the ECQ left a trail of paralyzed or closed shops and services and it is changing how entrepreneurs are doing their business just to keep on earning and striving to stay open. 

“Rather than remain worried that our scheduled event will not push through we decided to use this chance to create learning events every week,” says the mastermind behind DigitalFilipino.com

The website provided resources and webinars that discussed the State Of The Ph: Social Media And The Behavior Of Its Users Online. 

In their own way, they’ve assisted entrepreneurs to remain and continue developing themselves as a leader. And to keep them focused on the bigger picture.

The website also launched a Certified Blog and other Program Scholarships. It was targeted to the 5000 students they’ve trained for the past year since they were already familiar with the process and would likely have a higher chance of success with the lessons.

State Of Ph: How Groceries Are Innovating

Janette casually mentions that because of the developments, the groceries are thriving now more than ever. We’ve seen the rise of “O MY GROCERY” which was previously a B2B platform. Now, it offers pre-packed grocery essentials to consumers since they see the need for it.

It is most useful especially to those who don’t want to go to the groceries waiting in the long line because of the limited amount of people allowed to go in not to mention the risk of exposing themselves to the virus.


Janette also commended Grab’s innovation to introduce its latest service which they call GrabMart. It is an on-demand everyday goods delivery service where the consumer could buy packaged food, beverages, personal care items, and many more all through the Grab app and have it delivered to consumers in targeted areas of Manila in an instant.


“When you look at the crisis, the worst of us and the best of us can come out,” says Janette. Seeing all of these innovations from companies and individuals, it asks you to really try to think of ways to innovate and how your business can offer something new that can help the general public.

How Should We Move Forward With Social Media

Moving forward with social media, Janette elaborated on the importance of helping to Educate, Maintain the Calm, and Reflect on our Perspective when dealing with the people. 


Janette Toral mentions how she has observed a lot of good content being shared from social media. There are a lot of people helping to educate others and if they find it useful they share it.

Maintain the Calm

To prevent panic from happening, it is also our duty to assist the government in keeping the peace and to help other people stay clear and vigilant from false news. 

Although she agrees that we have plenty of reasons to be angry, especially if we see others doing irresponsible actions. But this is the time to help out and be more understanding.

Of course, those who violate the law and set rules are still liable for their legal consequences but we should not make fun of the people who made mistakes. We should not add insult to the injury.


With everyone’s attention on social media, there is bound to be a clash in opinions. Let’s make use this time to reflect and do research on where we stand. While we do have our own biases, it is up to us on how to react to varying opinions that don’t coincide with our own.

This is what brings us to positivity. While we have the right to speak and freedom of expressing ourselves. We should stay positive and raise our concerns using the proper channels. 

We should also be mindful of the things we share as we are also influencing the emotions and well-being of our loved ones and friends. What we post can trigger and affect the people we are connected with.

Suggested Plan Of Action

Janette Toral mentioned four key areas on how we can successfully move forward for the COVID 19 pandemic which is to  Delivery,  Experiment, Connect and Value.


We should focus on fulfilling the commitments we have before the lockdown or enhanced quarantine, we should strive to deliver as much of them as possible.


We should also take this opportunity to experiment and create new products and services and check whether it’ll work or not. 

What may not work during the enhanced community quarantine, may work afterward. One can also get feedback from a lot of people because we have more people having plenty of time. 

Everyone was so busy hearing your messages but now, they have the spare moment to casually answer your questions.


It’s also the best time to reach out to your past customers and keep in touch. You can inspire them to move forward from this current situation. The payoffs are also huge since you can listen to what they want or need and you can address them after the enhanced community quarantine.


Add value to your brand by thinking of ways to collaborate with your customers and improve your relationship with your patrons and audiences rather than simply thinking of profit. 

How Can We Maximize Our Time

Apart from fulfilling the plan of action above we also have to maximize our time and Janette Toral has gracefully laid a plan for us. This is to focus on our Growth, Contribution, Leadership, and Innovation.


We should use this time to keep on growing and not use it as an excuse to be lazy. Instead of focusing on what we cannot do, let’s look at what more we can do.


We also need to look into contribution and collaboration. We should look into what we can do for others with or without returns since this is definitely not the only crisis we will be facing in the future. So if a crisis were ever to happen like this again, you’ll know what to do in order to collaborate and assist those in need.


This is also the time where there is a call for leadership. We all have to step up and lead others in our home, family members and not just wait but take initiative on how to help others. 

There are also a lot of people looking for leaders who can lead them in a direction where they can help those who are greatly affected by this crisis.


This focus questions us on how we can innovate and be more efficient or resilient in making our products and services accessible during these times of crisis. 

Ending Note: Never Stop Working On Your Projects

A lot of things are happening and we are all affected but this does not mean that the world has to stop with it. Janette Toral also invites you to the E-commerce Entrepreneurs Summit Cebu on June 6, 2020, at the Golden Prince Hotel and Suites Cebu City.

Never stop working on your projects, as time will come your products and services will rise above with the situation right now. Make your business model for crisis resilient. 

For our patrons of DigitalFilipino.com whether it is improving your leadership, your influence and branding, keep at it cause we can also impart the same strength to help others. (A. Menchavez)

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