Pos!ble.net's newest innovation not only aims to turn small enterprises like sari-sari stores and laundry shops into payment centers but into mini “malls”
With e-commerce and digital technology steadily gaining a foothold in the country, innovation is the name of the game for retailers from the small corner store to giant shopping malls.
While supermalls are becoming destination malls, offering several leisure and entertainment options in their properties, sari-sari stores are turning into one-stop shops with the help of fintech companies that turn them into payment centers with specialized devices.
Digital services aggregator Pos!ble.net is one of the fintech companies helping small stores and shops reinvent themselves.
For two years, the Filipino firm has enabled micro, small and medium enterprises to become payment centers through a special point-of-sale (POS) device that can process over 300 services, including remittance transfers, bills payment for basic utilities and insurance products, and bank deposits among others.
Its newest innovation not only aims to turn small enterprises like sari-sari stores and laundry shops into payment centers but into mini “malls,” too.
In late July, Pos!ble.net launched the “Shopback” service on its devices, allowing partners to sell consumer products otherwise sold in e-commerce sites and malls, through its partner stores and shops.
“It’s a catalogue shopping service. So a customer lounging around your store may now order products found in the catalogue through you. It’s like having Lazada in your store,” Pos!ble.net CEO and President JG Puzon told Entrepreneur Philippines.
Pos!ble.net enables micro, small and medium enterprises to become payment centers through a special point-of-sale (POS) device that can process over 300 services, including remittance transfers, bills payment for basic utilities and insurance products, and bank deposits among others
The printed catalogues contain products sold by Pos!ble.net’s partner e-commerce sites and retailers. If a customer decides to order an item from the catalogue, he or she would have to pay to the merchant and wait for the product to be delivered to the store where it would be picked up. Puzon said partners can earn around five to seven percent of an item’s total price as commission.
This retailing concept was popular in the United Kingdom in the 1980s up to early 2000s, when stores found in high-foot traffic areas would showcase thick catalogues that onlookers can browse through. Customers would then go back to the store, days after making an order to get their purchases. But the rise of e-commerce has killed most of these concepts in England with only a handful still open for business.
Still, Puzon is optimistic that the retailing concept can be a “blockbuster service” in the Philippines, especially in areas where there are hardly any malls.
For its initial run, Pos!ble.net is launching the service with four partners: appliance retailer Western Appliances, e-commerce site Mr.Sukimoako and two more unnamed retailers that sell fragrances for men and women. The catalogue remains to be thin for now with only over 100 products, but Puzon said there are around a dozen partner retailers already in the pipeline.
“FamilyMart will also be a partner of the service. Since it has a buying power to purchase items in bulk, Pos!ble.net partners can order fast moving consumer goods such as noodles for example, through them, at a wholesale price,” Puzon said.
The partnership was made possible after Dennis Uy-owned Phoenix Petroleum bought majority stake in Pos!ble.net in May for an undisclosed amount. The Davao-based businessman, who’s been busy acquiring new companies in the past couple of years, also acquired the local operations of Family Mart’s convenience stores last year.
Puzon believes the acquisition would accelerate the growth of Pos!ble.net, which now has over 2,000 partners nationwide as of July 2018, up by 20 percent from 1,600 early this year.
“Our big target remains the same: have 50,000 partners in the next three years. But now we aim to reach a broader audience, including millennials as partners,” Puzon said. “Now that it’s proven that it [Pos!ble.net service] is effective for sari-sari store businesses, then we can now expand to other types of businesses like laundry shops and computer shops.”
Elyssa Christine Lopez is a staff writer of Entrepreneur PH. Follow her on Twitter @elyssalopz