Taking the leap of faith – this was how Jhoan Amoranto Bautista and her husband described it when they transitioned from having a ready-to-wear (RTW) business to starting a sari-sari store with her husband’s relatives as partners.
Although earning by selling clothes, Jhoan felt that buying and selling were not enough for her and her family. When her husband started the sari-sari store, it wasn’t all rainbows and butterflies either, as they needed to create and establish a name for it.
“Mahirap kasi hindi naman kami taga dito. ‘Yong kapatid lang ng asawa ko ‘yong taga dito kaya mahirap magsimula kasi hindi nila kami kilala, pero sinubukan pa rin namin. Kaya nagkaroon kami ng free delivery para mas maraming ma-attract. Maliit lang ‘yong una naming target na tindahan tapos pag-aaralan namin kung paano mapalago,” Jhoan shared.
For their new sari-sari store to be known within their community, they tried and offered different gimmicks, such as free deliveries and a house-to-house collection. When the pandemic hit, Jhoan and her husband didn’t lose hope; they instead saw an opportunity to increase their revenues as they were the only sari-sari store near the neighborhood that was open and operating. But it was still a struggle because they did all the inventories manually.
“Maliit lang puhunan namin pero malaki ang balik kasi may softdrinks at alak din kami. Pero after ng second wave ng pandemic, naging matumal. Tapos naging open ‘yong LGU sa public markets kaya yung mga suki namin dati, lumipat nalang don. Isang tumal na nga lang babagsaka na yung negosyo. But, in God’s grace, nagsusurvive naman yung business kahit papano, nahirapan magpaikot pero after ilang buwan, nagboom na ulit, pero manual talaga lahat pinagtutulungan lang namin ng asawa ko.”
From traditional and manual to digitized sari-sari store process
Jhoan took their new business to heart and educated herself on how they would make the process easy and centralized. Until she discovered the Packworks Super Sari Store App through a seminar held by Unilever, it’s an all-in-one store management app designed specifically for micro-preneurs like herself.
At first, Jhoan and her husband were hesitant to join since they were so used to doing their process with only pen and paper inventory and manual calculation. Adding to this is the budget. Since they only operate in a barrio, they find investing in a technology a little too expensive. But, as all businesses say, “the bigger the risk, the bigger the reward.” After a few seminars, they finally took a chance and tried Packworks.
“Umattend ako ng seminar ng Unilever noon para matuto nung parang high-tech calculator dahil nga mano-mano naming ginagawa yung pagcocompute kaya gusto namin mas mapabilis sana yung pagiinventory. 2017-2018 yon from high-tech calculator naging Packworks. Nung una mahal, siguro nasa 25K depende sa bracket na mayroon.”
Growing a business is never easy, but today, Jhoan’s new sari-sari store is digitized and centralized. Before, their inventory listing was like a thick songbook, and all information needed to be scanned through was done manually. They saved more time and were able to serve more customers. Now, with the help of The Super Sari Store App, all order processing, transactions, and inventories up to facilitating customer deliveries are made accessible.
“Malaki talaga ang naitulong ng Packworks samin, lalo na sa inventory kasi ngayon, meron na kaming sarili. Tapos sa pricing naman, hindi na kami nagkakamali kasi mas madali mag edit tapos naggegenerate na rin sya ng sariling barcode kaya sa store, hindi na humahaba yung pila, hindi na naiinip yung mga customer sa kakahintay na matapos kami magcompute ng binili nung mga nauna sakanila, naging mas mabilis talaga yung proseso kas ide barcode na sya.”
The fear of the unknown is normal. Similar to Jhoan and her husband, gambling for something is a big decision. It needed to be seated through, but the reward was tremendous. Never stop learning, talking to the right people, and patience are a few of Jhoan’s advice to those who are still starting their sari-sari store.
“Una, bago magtayo ng business ay icheck ‘yung place na pagtatatayuan, ‘yung capacity, at needs ng community; Kung may pupuntahan sa community na nakakaangat – balanse ang presyuhan dapat; Kapag nasa mababang kakayahan naman or walang masyadong kakayahan para sa mamahaling mga needs – ay dapat nakaangkop din sa pang-araw-araw na pangangailangan ang mga i-ooffer mo.”
Most importantly, embracing technology and choosing the right app that is simple and easy to understand will significantly help. No more traditional inventories, finances not tallying up, and the hassle of coordinating and purchasing new stocks – from analogue to digital, packWORKS for you. Never settle for the status quo; always progress.
Packworks is a startup company that provides a business-to-business (B2B) platform that is easy to use, has low bandwidth, and light footprint that will allow sari-sari store owners to become more efficient in managing their business. Founded in 2018 and started as a solution for multinational companies in the Philippines to connect with neighborhood stores, the platform has now transformed into a way out of poverty for the millions of sari-sari store owners across the Philippines. Packworks empowers the sari-sari stores through scalable and accessible technology, with its team composed of dedicated developers, programmers, and technicians that work to put the power back into the hands of the people at the heart of Filipino communities by providing them digital opportunities previously only available to big companies. By bringing technology-based solutions to one million Filipino sari-sari stores, Packworks is driving toward a more progressive, connected, and inclusive Philippines.
Jae Denise Adolfo | PR Specialist | firstname.lastname@example.org