Setting up shop and finding success in the digital age
MANILA, Philippines – Not too long ago, setting up a business exclusively meant setting up a physical shop, to shell out huge amounts of cash just to make one’s brand known to as many people as possible.
But we all know this is no longer the case today. Various websites and even social media pages allow businesses to thrive even without having to do these two things.
In the digital age, online businesses can become just as successful as their traditional, brick-and-mortar counterparts with the platform that’s best for them.
Lazada.com.ph hosts different types of businesses – from small start-ups to some of the most famous brands in the world.
Here are stories of three businesses that achieved success in this online platform.
Manette Calupitan: Turning passion to profit
Manette Calupitan is a longtime online shopping fan. So when she opened her own store a decade ago, she decided to do so on the same medium.
She named her shop Beauty Magnet Trading after her full name, Maria Magnetta. She calls it her "pride and glory."
“I want to be able to give [my customers] the 'power to attract.' This is Beauty Magnet's tagline. Because I know that the more confident a person is, especially with regard to their physical appearance, the more they attract good things in life,” she says.
To get her business off the ground, Manette worked round the clock and did everything from checking to packing orders to familiarize herself in all aspects of her business.
Her biggest challenge now are competition who drop the prices of their own products in a bid to attract customers.
However, Manette says Beauty Magnet remains in business because it fulfills its promise to deliver high quality, authentic products.
Today, Beauty Magnet has grown from being just a distribution channel for local and imported health and beauty products to also developing its own line of professional skin whitening solutions: Skin-A-Peel and Lumina Skinnovation.
The business remains online, too, as Manette has been selling her products mainly on Lazada for the last 2 years. She credits Lazada for helping her business “a great deal" in gaining exposure among customers.
Lazada is constantly present for customers through its ad placements on different websites. It has estabished a trustworth image among online shoppers, particularly with its cash-on-delivery mode of payment.
Reni Valenzuela: Customer first
Veteran entrepreneur Reni Valenzuela started Fresherb Philippines Enterprises 12 years ago, “a Christian company in the herbal, pharmaceutical, and cosmetic industry” that offers affordable and high quality hair grower tonics and shampoos for men and women. You might have already seen his products during a trip to a drug store, salon, or health shop.
Sales from these physical shops have always been strong. Reni is proud of the fact that he's never had to rely on shelling out millions for advertising or celebrity endorses. Instead, his success is backed by the high quality of his products.
For 5 years now, Fresherb has also offered a money-back-guarantee to assure customers that their products do work as promised. So far there had only been 10 people who have asked for a refund, and only three were actually qualified.
Two years ago, Reni decided to take Fresherb to Lazada. Since then, “things got better for us.”
“I found Lazada to be an excellent platform and effective tool for promoting and marketing products,” he says.
Out of 20,000 partners in Lazada, Fresherb currently ranks in its Top 200. Fresherb is looking into launching new products and exploring a bigger market.
PanManhattan Marketing Corporation: Building a green future
Creating environmentally-conscious solutions is PanManhattan Marketing Corporation’s business.
Haresh Daswani, its general manager for 7 years now, says PanManhattan focuses on research and development, and distribution of innovative products such as water-saving showerheads that reduces water consumption up to 50%, among many others.
All these sound well and good, yet Haresh says one of their biggest challenges is making the public realize that they need practical, eco-friendly products in their everyday lives.
Two years ago, PanManhattan decided to sell via Lazada to make their brand and products more visible across the country. Now, the Muntinlupa-based company receives orders from as far as Tawi-Tawi in Mindanao.
“Lazada takes care of its customers and suppliers at the same time. They are very helpful to the suppliers to make it as easy as possible for us to fulfill our orders for our customers,” Haresh says. “It is hassle free on our end, which means the customers get their orders soon and are happy with what they get.”
PanManhattan fills a need by innovating with products that satisfy its customers. Expansion plans focus on launching more products while creating more job opportunities.
Paying it forward
Now that they’re enjoying success with their respective businesses, Manette, Reni, and Haresh share sound advice to those looking to start their own.
Manette, who provides affordable starter packages and basic training for budding entrepreneurs, says that online sellers should remember three key things: pick products that cater to their personal passion, sell on platforms that can help widen their reach, and to simply be honest to customers.
“It’s easy to make a profit but it’s hard to establish customer trust, which is what you should aim for,” she says.
Reni advises them to just “go for it” and to consider doing these things: sell good products that will make people happy, provide excellent quality, communicate your products clearly to the public, and capture your market with sincerity and concern.
Lastly, Haresh says the road may be tough in the beginning but budding entrepreneurs must remain steadfast.
“It will always keep changing but you just have to ready for it,” he says, noting that emphasis should be put on customer satisfaction, price, and social media promotion. – Rappler.com
Grow your business online. Join Lazada! Visit www.lazada.com.ph/marketplace-new/.