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Grab kickstarts growth of digital economy in the Philippines

Here’s how Grab can help small businesses sell more

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For almost a decade, Grab affixed itself as a staple in Filipinos’ lives. The ride-hailing app’s advent revolutionized mobility in the Philippines, making living in the metro relatively convenient.

In 2020, Grab takes things a step further, launching Small Business Booster Program. Moreover, the company partnered with the Department of Agriculture, Department of Tourism, and the Department of Trade and Industry.

Grab is aiming to support local businesses in their transition to a growing digital economy. It seeks to bridge the gap between MSMEs and consumers relying on digital-based services. Furthermore, it kickstarted initiatives that are accessible to small business owners — particularly mom-and-pops or independent, family-owned businesses.

Transitioning to digital services

“Small, independent businesses are the backbone of our economy,” according to Grab Philippines Brian Cu.

Believing that supporting government initiatives will help these businesses rejuvenate the economy amid the pandemic, the Small Business Booster Program strives to provide digital support to businesses, such as GrabMerchant.

This all-in-one platform helps business owners augment their customer base efficiently. Some features include Insights — providing analytics to a merchant’s sales, marketing campaigns, and its customers’ profile and buying behavior.

There’s also an ads creation tool, which allows merchant-partners to create their own advertisements and track performance in Grab’s platform.

GrabMerchant is available to existing Grab merchant-partners as an app. A web portal is already in the works, which will roll out by the end of August 2020. Currently, there are over 78,000 merchant-partners onboarded in the Grab app across Southeast Asia.

In the Philippines, Grab recorded almost 12,000 merchants between March and June 2020, with small businesses seeing at least 57 percent growth in their online revenues. Interested merchants can sign up through this link.

Photo by Grab Philippines

Free, personalized ads

Aside from GrabMerchant’s Ads creation tool, Grab is committed to supporting Filipino merchants with advertising solutions. Most merchant-partners saw up to 300 percent return on ad spend, after placing an ad on GrabFood’s homepage.

Through its “Homegrown Heroes” initiative, Grab will create personalized ads for over 1,000 merchant-partners, featuring their businesses for five weeks on the most prominent spaces within the app. Costs and resources required to produce materials will be covered by Grab.

An easy way to receive payments

If you’re a social seller, take advantage of Grab’s Offline to Online (O2O) Merchant Support Program. Businesses with no online presence can set up their online stores, and utilize an integrated GrabPay checkout for virtual payments through a landing page on Grab.com.

Since the lockdown, people turned to social selling for sustenance. However, online selling plies with tricky payment methods. Grab aims to ease purchasing and receiving payments through its Remote GrabPay link solution, where sellers can hand out URLs to their customers.

These links will allow customers to make direct payments from their GrabPay Wallet, which sellers receive easily. Access the service through this link.

Connecting rural entrepreneurs

Grab is also leveraging its leadership in technology and innovation to help expand livelihood opportunities to Filipino farmers across the country.

It has been actively working with local governments in helping traditional ecosystems maintain their presence in a growing digital economy. Together with the Department of Agriculture’s Kadiwa ni Ani at Kita program and the Department of Tourism’s Philippine Harvest Initiative, Grab seeks to create an avenue for Filipino farmers to earn through the Grab platform. More importantly, their fresh produce will be delivered to customers across Metro Manila.

To learn more about Grab’s response in the COVID-19 impact, check their social report, Grab for Good through this link.

Apps

Imaging Edge Webcam lets you use Sony cameras for video calls, live streams

Adapting to the new normal

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If you’ve been working from home, chances are you’ve attended more than your fair share of video calls. If you have a Sony camera, you can elevate the quality of your video with the new Imaging Edge Webcam app.

Considering we’re months into being quarantined already, Sony sure took their time in launching this product. That said, it should still be a welcome addition for anyone who might possibly need it.

It currently only supports Windows 10 64bit so you might have to wait a while if you’re using a Mac.

When the feature first launched in August 20, 2020, it only supported Windows 10 64bit. Now, it also supports macOS 10.13-10.15. You may download the desktop app here.

The Sony cameras supported are: Alpha 9 II, Alpha 9, Alpha 7R IV, Alpha 7R III, Alpha 7R II, Alpha 7S II, Alpha 7S, Alpha 7 III,
Alpha 7 II, Alpha 6600, Alpha 6400, Alpha 6100, RX100 VII, RX100 VI, RX0 II, RX0, ZV-1.

There are more cameras supported and we’ll update this article once we have the full list.

Quick note for anyone who will use it: The aspect ratio is automatically set to 16:9. It will remain set to 16:9 after using Imaging Edge Webcam, so set it to the previous value if necessary.

SEE ALSO: The Sony A7S III is a low light video beast

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Google Duplex is now letting users book a haircut appointment

Your full-time assistant

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At Google I/O 2018, Google announced a new feature called Duplex. The feature looks straight out of a sci-fi film because Google Assistant can make calls on your behalf and talk to actual humans. So, if you want to book a barber’s appointment, just summon the assistant, tell them your preferences, and it’ll get the job done!

Google Duplex is trying to be your full-time personal assistant and even though it may seem excessive, the assistant can be extremely handy for people who’re low on time and need a helping hand. According to Venture Beat, some users are now actively able to book a salon appointment thanks to Duplex.

The feature was rolled out in 48 US states, UK, Canada, and Australia. You could previously reserve a restaurant table thanks to Duplex. But the hair salon ability wasn’t actively available yet. When Google first announced Duplex, it had shown calling a barber as one of the case studies. However, it never made it to the public all this time.

It’s possible that programming the assistant to take your preferences and talk accordingly was a complicated task and needed time to develop. If you want to try out the feature, just find a place near you and tap the “Request an Appointment” button. It’ll then ask you haircut preferences, date, time, and other formalities.

When Duplex makes the call, it’ll warn that the call is automated and being recorded. If the other person isn’t fine getting recorded, the system will handover the call to an operator and stop recording.

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Facebook finally bans Holocaust denial content

Facebook is very slow for a modern tech company

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After attracting a lot of criticism, Facebook has finally announced it’ll ban content on Holocaust denial. The company said content that denies or distorts the Holocaust will be prohibited.

The social networking company had previously failed to take action on content that denied the Holocaust and further supported the flow of information in the guise of free speech. Two years ago, Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg said these posts shouldn’t be automatically taken down.

The company’s stance on content moderation has been severely criticized by experts, journalists, and even law makers. Amid the looming US Presidential Elections, the spread of misinformation has increased radically and Facebook is indirectly assisting the flow.

Zuckerberg has changed his mind now and said in a Facebook post, “My own thinking has evolved as I’ve seen data showing an increase in anti-Semitic violence, as have our wider policies on hate speech.”

Earlier this year, Facebook banned hate speech involving harmful stereotypes and anti-Semitic content. But Holocaust denial didn’t make it to the list. Holocasut denial is considered to be a major issue because the constant flow of misinofrmation can convince people over a period of time.

Lastly, Facebook said, “There is a range of content that can violate these policies, and it will take some time to train our reviewers and systems on enforcement.”

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