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Freeman Cebu Business

Retailers urged to adapt omni-channel business model

Ehda M. Dagooc - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - Local retailers are encouraged to brace for a rising competition amid the improving purchasing power of Filipinos.

Philippine Retailers Association (PRA-Cebu) past president Melanie Ng reminded local retailers in Cebu to stand strong in their own market, if they want to stay in the game.

Ng admitted that the entry of overseas brand in the local marketplace bearing competitive price tags is starting to intimidate local retailers, however, sad as it may seem, it is a fact that only those who are determined to go head-to-head against the global giants have greater chances of staying and thriving in the Philippine retail market.

According to Ng local retailers are urged to maximize fully the omni-channel, or a cross channel business model that companies use to increase customer experience.

Retailers who master the optimization of omni-channel retailing these days are seen to thrive regardless of challenging environment, she said.

Although the retail sector in the Philippines, through PRA had been encouraging local retailers to adapt this new paradigm in retail trade, Ng said some, still have to immerse further in the omni-channel highway, the reason that PRA is constantly advocating this strategy.

According to Ng the confidence of giant retailers to come to the Philippines, specifically putting their physical presence in Cebu, is an indication of attractive retail market, thus local retailers should all the more strengthen their market hold in the home-ground.

With the growing number of people who are connected 24/7 through their smartphones, tablets and desktops, it is inevitable for omni-channel retailing to take place, said PRA chairman Frederick Go.

"This is a challenge and we have to embrace it and find ways to leverage it.  Consumers are now more engaged with the retailers. Shopping can be more personalized because retailers can now easily identify the demands of consumers through the different avenues like social media," said Go.

Meanwhile, in his recent visit to Cebu, GFK Retail and Technology Philippines, president and chief executive officer (CEO) Benedicto Villanueva told Cebuano retail players to build an extensive presence online.

While creating presence online is indispensable in the modern retail era, presence however is not enough. Visual presentation, marketing promotions, and innovative baits should be done in the online platform, before a customer could decide to come to the physical store to buy.

The modern retail environment now largely use the internet as its "window shopping" platform. And if a brand or a store is not visible online, it can easily be forgotten, Villanueva said.

Using innovative "baits" to arouse a customer's whim to shop, is also very effective in the online store operation.

 Although, online shopping "per se" is also gaining ground for growing tech-savvy customers, existence of physical stores is here to stay, Villanueva reassured local retailers.  (FREEMAN)

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