Salvation has come for Pinoys who detest but resort to panic-buying every year-end.
Breathe your sigh of relief ninang, ninong, ate, kuya, because iTrueMart.ph will make Christmas shopping convenient and hassle free—if some of the heads of the new online shopping website iTrueMart.ph are to be believed, that is.
iTrueMart.ph was launched this Nov. 13, with online shopping initially available in Metro Manila and Luzon. (It will open for the VisMin area in early 2016.) On hand for the launch was Sanjeev Saluja, chief marketing officer of Thailand-based Ascend Group, which is now venturing into online businesses in Southeast Asia.
The Philippines is its first venture outside Thailand, which led Ascend CEO Punnamas Vichitkulwongsa to quip that “Manila traffic and Bangkok traffic are not much different.”
“But what digital does is, in one place, in the comfort of your own home, your office, or on the road, you can actually go and look at products,” said Saluja.
When shopping for gadgets, among other products, many of us look to blogs, social media and Web forums for reviews. iTrueMart.ph gives you the option to shop right after reading customer feedback.
“It’s very exciting,” said Vichitkulwongsa. “It is all about connecting the buyer and seller in the Internet ecosystem.”
In Thailand, iTrueMart is dealing with 17,000 orders per day this month for over 700 brands. It delivers items to consumers within one-three days; it has 12.7 million followers online and 2.5 million on Facebook.
The company is banking on the youthful segment of the Philippine population to replicate that success here.
“In the Philippines, more than half of the people are less than 30 years old,” said Vichitkulwongsa said, with many of them connected to the Internet.
Many big names in online shopping have yet to harness that potential, noted Dean Krstevski, regional COO of e-commerce for Ascend, who will oversee operations in the country.
For Vichitkulwongsa, aside from having to endure the dire traffic, there are other commonalities between Thai and Philippine shoppers: “Time is of the essence… We want to buy things at a great price and at super convenience, so we can share them immediately with our family.”
The web site also allows the Pinoy concepts of “tawad” and “sulit”—there are promos, vouchers and great discounts (hoverboards at 37-percent off). The EverydayWow promo offers daily discounts on designated items.
For those who don’t have credit cards, other payment options are available, like cash on delivery and over-the-counter payments at convenience stores like FamilyMart, MiniStop and 7Eleven.
Krstevski said “All the products and brands that we work with are local brands, distributors of international brands here in the Philippines,” so expect your orders to arrive in two to three days, free of charge.
While the website carries mostly mobile phones and gadgets this year, it will expand to consumer electronics, computers and laptops, health and beauty and products for moms and kids soon.
“We’ve got a great story in Thailand… I do not see why we cannot do the same here,” said Saluja. “Our dream is to see Filipinos in the remotest islands be able to buy great things at a great price, from their mobile phones, and deliver these to their doorstep between two and three days.”