How This Successful Entrepreneur Continues to Shape the Local E-Commerce Scene

Macy Castillo girl-bossed her way to make the local e-commerce scene thrive. Now, she’s looking forward to opening her own platform.

According to statistics, the e-commerce market in the Philippines has reached a staggering USD 17 billion (around PHP 965.79 billion) in 2021. This is attributed to the 73 million online active users in the country. More so, revenue from that sector is also expected to have an annual growth rate of 12.42%, which translates to it having a projected market volume of USD 25.96 billion (around PHP 1.47 trillion) by 2027.

Before this, however, the industry was not thriving, as it had only attained tremendous growth in 2020—during the COVID-19 pandemic. In line with that, Statista also reports that the most popular purchases in the country include fashion items, personal care products, food and beverages, as well as consumer electronics. These can be found in e-commerce sites like Zalora, Shopee, and Lazada, to name a few.

What some people don’t know is that behind the scenes of these e-commerce giants is a woman who applied her expertise in order to help these platforms—specifically Shopee and Zalora—grow into what it is today. How? Through her own platform called Enstack.

In an exclusive interview with The Business Manual, she shares more of her story, as well as how she attained success in the e-commerce space.

Bringing Her Expertise to Local Shores 

Back in the early 2010s, Asia was considered a thriving continent even amid a global financial crisis. In fact, the Southeast Asian region and even the Philippines were ideal areas to do business in, despite facing challenges that placed them far behind more advanced places like the United States, Europe, and China. 

Macy Castillo, having spent seven years studying and working in the US and Europe in industries like banking and finance, saw an opportunity to apply what she learned overseas to disrupt the Philippines—in a good way. 

“When I decided to return to the Philippines, it was almost as if I stepped back in time—all those digital conveniences that we now take for granted in the West were virtually unheard of here. Overseas, I was regularly ordering everything online—whether on Amazon or even smaller, independent websites, but e-commerce was a nascent concept in the Philippines,” she shares. 

Not one to back away from challenges, Macy saw the potential for digital growth in the Philippines as something she could leverage as an entrepreneur. “It’s an ever-evolving journey, but it’s incredibly rewarding to be a part of this creative problem-solving process,” she says.

Shaping the Local E-Commerce Scene

Macy was introduced to the founders of Zalora, with whom she forged connections to start the country’s digital revolution. “It was a fantastic moment to witness the beginnings of e-commerce in the Philippines. I started as a product manager, which was the perfect fit for my interests in product design and operations,” she explains.

Among the problems they had to deal with was how they could explain the concept of “Cash on Delivery” to customers back then, as some were unsure if their orders went through. She recalls, “Our customer service team was always flooded with ‘Did you receive my order?’ emails. It was a fun and highly educational journey, introducing the concept of online shopping to Filipinos.”

Soon after, she received another offer to work with another e-commerce company. “Some former colleagues started their Shopee journey and asked me to lead their Philippine launch—by creating the first marketplace that made online selling incredibly accessible. This experience allowed me to grow not only in product development but also in various other aspects of the business,” the entrepreneur recounts.

“I took on multiple roles, from business development and business intelligence to marketing. At that time, there were very few women leading tech companies, and I take pride in leading Shopee to become the number one e-commerce platform in the country within just two years,” she says.

Aside from that, she also joined a fintech startup, where she introduced several pioneering initiatives to the Philippines, including the concept of “Shop Now, Pay Later.” Having headed local operations firsthand, she then built the business from the ground up based on these learnings.

What’s more, by taking various roles, collaborating with merchants, witnessing the transition to digital operations, and applying the lessons she has learned, she was able to effectively lead the expansion across Southeast Asia—particularly in Indonesia and Vietnam. 

Launching Enstack

Macy’s many years of experience then inspired her to launch Enstack—an all-in-one online store builder and business management app that offers comprehensive end-to-end commerce solutions for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

“It’s designed to give entrepreneurs the tools they need to create a strong, independent online presence,” she explains. What sets us apart is the seamless integration of payment and logistics into our platform, making the entire business process smoother. This empowers businesses to more easily identify their path to growth and success with ease while delivering an exceptional customer experience.”

But what were the pain points she sought to address through her business, Enstack? “First, the difficulty in initiating and managing fully functional online stores; and second, the arduous and time-consuming transaction process. These obstacles involve onerous transaction fees for P2M [person to merchant] payments, complexities during business registration, and a reliance on manual, error-prone accounting practices that can undermine financial and inventory accuracy.”

Through this platform, these processes will be simplified to enhance the accessibility and effectiveness of how Filipinos can transition more effectively to digital businesses.

More so, she also aims to foster a thriving culture of entrepreneurship in the country. That way, she can ensure that anyone, especially women entrepreneurs, can effortlessly establish and manage their online stores, thereby promoting female empowerment in business.

Macy launched Enstack to streamline business operations and remove factors and processes that hamper growth and competitiveness, as she believes that those are some of the biggest problems that Filipino SMEs face.

Making Operations Easier for SMEs

How can Enstack make business operations easier? “Our quick store setup process ensures entrepreneurs can set up their online stores easily, reducing the time and effort required,” Macy explains. “We’ve simplified the onboarding process for business owners—allowing them to start shipping orders and accepting multiple cashless payment options with just an ID.”

“Additionally, we aim to have the most seamless checkout experience possible, offering multiple shipping and payment options to our merchants and their customers, while significantly cutting transaction fees and making digital payments much more cost-effective for SMEs,” she adds.

As for what sets the company apart from its competitors, Macy reveals that the company’s “automated transaction tracking, which seamlessly ensures accurate inventory management” is key.

“Through our integrations with payment and delivery partners, we enable real-time tracking of order progress and delivery. This capability empowers SMEs to maintain precise control over their stock and financial resources while delivering the invaluable benefit of transparency and peace of mind for business owners and customers alike,” she further elaborates. 

The girl boss also shares that Enstack resonates well with Filipino values since it empowers SMEs—the lifeblood of the Filipino economy. What’s more, the company’s vision aligns with the country’s strong emphasis on economic independence and self-sufficiency. In doing so, they can reflect the Filipino spirit of resilience and resourcefulness in the face of adversity. 

“It’s high time we also recognized the crucial role women play in the Filipino business landscape which is why we focus on supporting women entrepreneurs,” Macy declares.

Setting Up Enstack for Success

Castillo’s vision for Enstack is as straightforward as it gets. For one thing, she wants it to be a platform— not just for Filipino SMEs—but also for Southeast Asians. That way, they can be catalysts of growth while contributing to their communities. 

“We’re all about empowering simplicity,” she says. “We want to lessen the complexities of business operations, ensuring our digital tools are user-friendly, and providing SMEs with straightforward pathways to success.”

“Moreover, we’re passionately dedicated to unlocking opportunities for SMEs. We’re always staying ahead in the tech game, continuously enhancing our products to cater to SMEs’ evolving needs in emerging markets. We’re also expanding our partnerships to enhance our product offerings and provide our merchants with comprehensive end-to-end solutions.”

“At our core, we know successful businesses can transform lives, and Enstack strives to transform the lives of business owners, employees, and entire communities by nurturing growth and success. We want Enstack to be an indispensable force in SME success and entrepreneurship in the Philippines and the region,” she passionately states.

The Greatest Lessons Learned as an Entrepreneur

Equipped with years of knowledge and experience in e-commerce, it’s undeniable that Macy has learned a lot of valuable lessons in her journey. “You quickly realize that every problem, no matter how daunting, has a solution. It might not always be perfect, but that’s where resilience and determination kick in—you stay focused and keep pushing forward,” she shares.

“Having a strategic mindset is crucial. It’s about thinking beyond the immediate hurdles and keeping your eye on the bigger picture.”

“And then there’s the noise, especially when you’re a female founder. You’ve got to learn to filter out what’s not helpful, tune out the doubters, and stay the course. It’s all about creating a supportive, inclusive environment that values diversity,” she concludes.