Echostore to boost its digital presence

 

By Rose de la Cruz

 

Though very successful in the brick-and-mortar store setting located mostly in posh and classy malls and stand-alone sites, Echostore sees the need to further boost its digital presence, the undeniable track that retailers like it has to pursue for sustainability.

 

 Globally, even famous retailers have marked a 20 percent decline in sales for the year. “These days, you do not see who your competition is,” says one of three Echostore founder, Pacita “Chit” Juan. “They are there in the galaxy of the internet and you have to just surf and find increasing numbers of merchants in your category,” she declares.

 

Though founded by three women already in the midlife stage of their lives, they had to evolve and think like a millennial. “I had to research on what they buy, what makes them want to buy” says Reena Francisco, R&D and merchandise designer. Jeannie Javelosa, the third member concentrated on women-sourced crafts, bags and accessories under the Great Women (GW) brand and soon World of Women (WOW) gondolas. She also writes for their website and has even written a book to chronicle their foray into social enterprise.

 

ECHOstore beefed up its online shopping site called echostore.ph.  With the help of younger consultants, they got into the minds of the millennial who have now joined the market segment ECHOstore belongs to.

 

Health and wellness, love for environment and love for stores with a cause has embraced the younger market who now just buy through their mobile phones, not even setting foot in any of ECHOstore’s “brick and mortar” locations. The younger market also starts off healthier families with mothers going with the “attachment parenting” trend where kids are nursed and carried by young mothers while they do their daily routines.

 

Male market

 

The men have also come to ECHOstore to get their beauty and personal essentials. Men buy from the physical stores because they still want to touch the product and maybe smell the variants first before making a purchase.

 

The men’s products are the biggest growing category and ECHOstore has suggestions for grooming, personal care and even household cleaners. It has helped that the store was featured by Paolo Abrera in his famous Green Living show on cable TV, including Do It Yourself home solutions and surface cleaning solutions.

 

Shopping app

 

Besides boosting its own shopping site, ECHOstore tied up with providers like Foodpanda (www.foodpanda.ph)  for food deliveries around Makati and Taguig City and even for its branch in Cebu. Consumers download the app and then place their orders for ECHOcafe’s popular healthier menu like mushroom burger sandwich and tinapa pesto pasta, all delivered within the hour by a third party provider.

 

Another shopping app for groceries is Metromart. Riders literally shop for and pay for the purchases from several stores with one destination--- whether in Forbes Park or Legaspi Village. The service is available for the Makati and Serendra stores for now and soon maybe it will be available as well in Quezon City where Echostore has a store in Centris Walk, right beside the Siddcor market.

 

Green products

 

Echostore will continue to increase its online presence and discover new and different ways to reach the growing customer base.

 

It is predicted that sales for green and eco-friendly products increase by 20 percent annually, and ECHOstore wants a slice of the green pie.

 

Already they are hooking up with logistics providers who can bring their community products from Ilocos to Manila and onto Davao or Cagayan de Oro City.

 

Meats from Bukidnon to Davao also need not pass through Manila. This logistics approach using a portal will also make their goods more affordable as the freight costs will soon be optimized.

 

Juan said this is the modern retailer. One cannot sit and just wait for the customer to walk in. One must talk to the customer 24/7 and address his or her every need, cater to their queries or lose them to someone else, almost at the same time as someone is also migrating to ECHOstore from another site. Everything is fluid and virtual.

 

Social media rules

 

From Day One ECHOstore already was on Facebook, Twitter and last year started Instagram. Though the followers of each channel may be the younger segment, they try to maintain their digital footprint by ensuring that news of their successes gets heralded.

 

ECHOstore has been written about in the regional and international field-- their inclusion in APEC 50 Leading Companies for Women and ASEAN’s best 50 SMEs, the latest of its accolades.

 

“We are active in the regional setting because we think ASEAN is looking for a similar concept to go overseas,” says Chit Juan, ever the visionary who likes to look beyond the country. Chit also chairs the ASEAN Women Entrepreneurs Network(AWEN) until May 2018 and has a growing following on Facebook and Twitter.

 

It’s social media vs traditional  media. Online vs brick and mortar. And entrepreners who do not do both channels may find it difficult to survive in these interesting times.

 

 

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