In the age of digitalization of financial transactions, sari-sari stores are challenged in keeping up with this trend. Leading community-based digital transactions provider, POSIBLE is committed to making digital financial services available to MSMEs (micro, small, and medium enterprises). With the POSIBLE Business Device, more kantopreneurs (kanto-entrepreneurs) are evolving into all-in-one digital hubs in their communities.
Not your typical sari-sari store
Around the busy streets of Manila, a family’s sari-sari store of 12 years made its name considering its competition against bigger establishments in its neighborhood.
Located behind a mall in Malate, RJames Store started out like any typical sari-sari store. Vicky manages her family business; selling snacks, canned goods and other basic necessities. She recalled its humble beginnings, “Noon isang tao lang kasya sa tindahan. tatlong beses na naming inextend ‘yan (Back then, only one man could fit in the space. We expanded the store thrice).”
RJames store also offers e-loading and e-money padala. Vicky noticed that the demand for e-money padala remarkably grew through the years. She said, “’Yong money padala, ‘yon ang malakas sa ‘min talaga. Nakakaubos kami talaga, like for example, kapag payday, malakas talaga ang transactions. Umaabot kami ng P100,000 sa isang linggo. (E-money padala is our top transaction. For example, it is really a hit during payday. Our transactions reach P100,000 within a week).”
In 2016, Vicky saw the need to upscale her business from being a regular sari-sari store, her family decided to offer more services in their community. With a 45,000-peso investment, through POSIBLE she expanded their business to include bills payment, select government fees payment, banking & financing services, bus ticketing, e-money padala, insurance, mobile loading and online gaming credits, among others.
For its wider array of services, fast transactions and convenient location, RJames Store gained more popularity in their neighborhood. Amidst its competition against bigger stores and mall, RJames Store recorded a 65% increase in its sales. Vicky considers being a POSIBLE retailer as a huge factor to this success. She shared, “Gaya n’yan magbabayad ka ng kuryente mo jan, magpadala ka, s’yempre habang naghihintay ka, bumibili kayo ng merienda (For instance, while you pay your bills, you would also buy some snacks).”
Transforming into an all-in-one digital hub
Sari-sari stores have always been a staple among Filipino communities. According to the Philippine Association of Stores and Carinderia Owners (PASCO), there are 1.3 million sari-sari stores nationwide. Despite the increasing number of malls and convenience stores, they are still the most frequented retail place by (94%) Filipinos, based on a Nielsen study in 2015.
From being a traditional sari-sari store, RJames store has become the neighborhood’s one-stop-shop for their digital financial transactions. There are other options available, but convenience has always been the challenge. Vicky narrated, “Bakit pa ako pipila doon sa mall para magbayad ng bills? Ang haba talaga ng pila doon, i-try natin POSIBLE. Iyon kasi talaga ang needs ng tao rito. Halos lahat magbabayad bills. All-in-one na nga sa POSIBLE. (Why would I want to go to the mall to pay my bills? The queue there is quite long. I thought of trying POSIBLE because it’s really an all-in-one choice for payment transactions).
With its 24/7 operations and convenient location, the sari-sari store can compete against bigger convenience stores, and even a mall. Vicky shared some instances when their neighbor’s water supply was almost cut off because of unpaid bill. “Kahit sarado pa ang mall, pwede na silang magbayad ng tubig dito sa ‘min para hindi na sila maputulan ng supply ng tubig . (Even the mall is not yet open, they can finally pay their water bill to avoid disconnection).”
The 2018 Nielsen Quest for Convenience stated convenience is the top priority of Filipino consumers. Through fintech, POSIBLE continues to make more products/services available in the community by empowering MSMEs.
POSIBLE CEO JG Puzon expressed, “We are pleased to see that our kantopreneurs are being enabled to offer services more than the traditional products in the community. With our innovations, we are seeing MSMEs upscale their businesses and make financial transactions even more convenient for Filipinos.”
Today, POSIBLE has over 5,000 empowered retailers nationwide, making digital financial services accessible to over 500,000 unique customers.