Philippines— The influx of new technologies is changing the game for many industries, most especially in the retail sector. With the power of the internet and the advancement of mobile technologies, anyone can now do business online. And while it is good for all aspiring entrepreneurs – whether big or small – it poses a threat to traditional micro-retail stores in the Philippines known as sari-sari stores.
There are approximately more than a million of these sari-sari stores – hole-in-the-wall shops that sell basic goods and commodities – in almost every nook and cranny of local communities all around the Philippines. Because of their widespread presence, they play a major role in bringing products and services, even to the most remote and poor of communities.
Believing that sari-sari stores can step-up in the face of increasing competition and change, Hapinoy, a social enterprise with a mission of helping micro-entrepreneurs, partners with these sari-sari stores to empower them to compete with bigger convenient stores and even online businesses. Hapinoy does this by providing training, linkage to microfinancing institutions, and new business opportunities using mobile technologies.
Instead of seeing technologies and innovations as threats, Hapinoy views them as opportunities for sari-sari stores to transform and level up. And in partnership with Qualcomm Wireless Reach – a program of Qualcomm to bring advanced wireless technologies to underserved communities globally – it has developed Hapinoy BizMo, a mobile-based micro-franchise that enables sari-sari stores to offer new products and services to the communities that they serve.
“Ang gusto kasi natin, iyong technologies na ginagamit ng mga malalaking negosyo ay magamit din ng mga maliliit na negosyo tulad ng sari-sari stores,” said Mark Ruiz, Co-founder and President of Hapinoy.
(We want small businesses like sari-sari stores to be able to use technologies utilized by huge enterprises.)
Promoting the use of mobile technology in doing business, Hapinoy designed the BizMo mobile application, which provides sari-sari stores the means to do airtime loading, money remittance, selling of microinsurance, and mobile commerce. Soon it aims to add bills payment and ticketing services as well, making every sari-sari stores a one-stop shop.
“Sa bawat dagdag natin ng produkto na maaring ibenta at pwedeng i-offer ng mga sari-sari stores sa customers nila, nasisiyahan sila hindi lang dahil sa dagdag kita kung hindi dahil level up na ang tindahan nila”, shared Floyd Evans Macuha, Hapinoy BizMo Product Development Manager.
(Sari-sari stores are grateful to every additional products and services we create, which they can offer to their customers. They are happy not only because it generates additional income but also because it upgrades their stores.)
Among the services readily available in BizMo App, Hapinoy is most excited for HapiShop, its mobile commerce platform. As everybody goes online, HapiShop enables sari-sari stores to sell appliances, gadgets and entertainment packages without having inventory in the stores.
More than the additional income it generates, HapiShop also boosts the self-confidence of the micro-entrepreneurs through increased savviness with technology. It gives them the pride in expanding their business while serving their communities.
“Ang lakas ng naging confidence ko lalo na noong nagkaroon ako ng HapiShop kasi mas nakilala ako dito. Yong tipong pupuntahan ka nila dito na sasabihin nila na ate pwede bang maka-order sa’yo”, shares Mayreen Artes, Hapinoy BizMo Agent in Laguna.
(I gained more self-confidence since I started HapiShop. People get to know me more. They come here [in my store] to order from my online shop.)
To continuously equip the sari-sari stores in venturing to this business opportunity, Hapinoy also designs and implements trainings on best practices in business operation, mobile literacy and mobile commerce.
Two years after Hapinoy developed the BizMo Microfranchise, it now operates in different areas such as Laguna, Quezon Province, Rizal, Metro Manila, Samar and Leyte and looks to expand further out to more and more communities. As it continues with its mission in empowering microentrepreneurs, Hapinoy and BizMo are geared to realize its vision of being present in every barangay of the Philippines.