On October 20, 2018, Globe myBusiness in partnership with Globe Labs hosted Elevate 2018, an event for various owners of financial businesses, from pawnshops to rural banks. It was full of industry insights and useful tips for attendees, which got everyone in the room excited and looking forward to boosting their business operations and success.

The event’s roster of speakers included the Head of GCash partner outlets Ms. Lexie Eala, HTP Clothing owner and founder Ms. Ricca Del Rosario, and Xend Group VP for partnerships and business development Mr. JT Solis. Their insights and tips, however, were for more than just businesses in the financial field—they were tips that could help businesses of all industries maximize the benefits of today’s ever-evolving digital world.

Here are some of the top insights we gathered from Elevate 2018:

Ms. Lexie Eala drove the point home when she discussed how technology has reimagined every sector of business by presenting various statistics that detailed how Filipinos use the Internet. A few of the most important statistics included:

How, then, can business owners adapt and make the most out of these digital trends? As Ms. Eala says, it can be done by having the most relevant business operations, making sure that operations are optimized to the best they can be, and meeting customers where they are, which is online.

Ms. Eala continues on to state that there’s a difference between having people click on your page, and having them engage with your business. In order to make the most of digital marketing, you need to build an ecosystem.

There are three kinds of digital channels:

GCash has recently grown a lot by expanding their services to online shopping, bills payment, money transferring to bank accounts, hyper growth through technology and innovation, offline payments, and offering discounts and cashbacks.

With the help of Globe myBusiness, entrepreneurs and business owners can ride on the growth GCash has been experiencing and support the cashless economy by utilizing QR-code payment at their online or offline stores, and becoming a cash-in partner to expand their business horizons.

HTP Clothing’s Ricca Del Rosario has a story that’s both inspirational and aspirational. More than just a unique way to start a business, her account also details how business owners can leverage on an online presence to grow their business.

She started her business on Instagram and quickly established her name on the platform by selling pre-loved clothing at cheaper prices, before deciding to create her own line of brand-new clothes and set up her own website. She knows all about the ups and downs of selling on either platform, and she can say with confidence that it’s very much possible to maximize your business on social media.

What sets HTP Clothing apart from all the other brands out there is the story Ricca shares with each piece of clothing. Her customers feel close to her and many of them even become her friends. She treats her Instagram account like a personal blog, where she shares insights about her clothing and her life. Her online shop itself also has a personal touch.

Finally, the process she used to start her business in the first place—a first-come, first-served basis for staking a claim on the clothes she sells—is a process she hasn’t stopped using even now that she has her own shop. It’s become part of her brand’s identity, and it gives her customers the rush of adrenaline they’ve enjoyed since the beginning.

Xend’s JT Solis shares their expert service strategy that has kept their business going and growing through the years—RED: retention, expansion and diversification.

Throughout the day, attendees discovered many key insights from the speakers, and one that stood out the most: with technology, progress can be made possible and within reach for businesses of all industries. From starting your business with a product and a story like HTP Clothing, to keeping your customers and expanding your growth like Xend, to growing with the wave of digital through partners like GCash, technology is at the forefront of all kinds of positive change, and is truly the key to success.

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Half the Price Clothing began during a very challenging time in the life of its founder, Ricca Del Rosario. Having just had her first baby and while she was out buying diapers and milk, she was devastated to discover she’d lost P3,000 from her wallet, with no hope of getting it back. Inspiration struck in the form of a suitcase full of old clothes, and Ricca decided to put up an online store.

HTP started as an Instagram seller providing secondhand yet trendy pieces at prices anyone can afford. Today, they’re a go-to brand for many Instagram shoppers looking for a good deal, selling their own original pieces while looking towards creating their own online platform for the brand. This is their story.

HTP took off at a running start in 2014 after Ricca decided to sell her old clothing. All it took were a few photos of her wearing the clothes, and in the span of just one day, she had sold out all her products. From this, she began to sell more secondhand clothes, upon request of friends and her first few customers. In fact, she got to the point where she no longer had clothes to sell.

To work past this, she turned to her friends for more secondhand clothes and scoured tiangges for outfits she could buy and sell. Thanks to her great taste and eager market, she was able to keep the store open and go from small-time solo-preneur to household name for over 50,000 followers.

With creativity and resilience, she faced every challenge that came her way. Being an online shop, one of her main concerns is competition. With the sheer number of entrepreneurs operating on all digital platforms, it’s tough to make a name for yourself that people will recognize and prioritize above the rest. It can be very hard to secure a spot of importance in your market’s radar, especially on Instagram, which has recently become a breeding ground for e-commerce.

Fortunately, when Ricca started back in 2014, there weren’t too many Instagram sellers yet, which allowed her to form her own dedicated market. But as time passed, competition got tougher and she recognized the need to set her brand apart from the crowd of online shops, which were also selling discounted or affordable clothing.

“Unlike other online shops, HTP is very personal,” she shares. “Customers know what I do, they know where I am; it’s like a life blog, where at the same time I’m selling. […] When I meet customers, I take photos with them and post them on the account. My customers can also make requests through [Direct Messaging on] Instagram or e-mail.”

Ricca credits her customers’ loyalty and patronage to that sense of being open and personal with her market. By sharing her life and her stories through Instagram posts, she’s making them feel like more than just buyers, but her friends. She even has a team on deck to deal with customer care, understanding that it’s one of the most important parts of running a business.

She also takes great care to be consistent with her posting. By keeping a strict schedule with herself to always launch new pieces on Saturdays and Sundays at 8 p.m., she’s allowing her market to form a habit of checking for new deals every weekend, and she doesn’t disappoint them when they do.

Finally, she also credits her success to the exclusivity of her pieces.

“[Limited stocks] make customers feel that the products are exclusive,” she shares. Because claiming stocks on her account is on a first-come first-served basis, with the people quickest to comment also being the ones to reserve the pieces they want, her customers are even more eager to buy from HTP, since they get to be the lucky few.

All throughout her journey, digital technology and the Internet have been Ricca’s best friend in running her business. Because she’s running an online store and wants to keep it online for much longer, she has invested in sponsored posts on both Instagram and Facebook for about a year now, and she’s looking to have her own website sometime in the future.

She also relies on technology to keep up her consistent posting schedule, allowing her to launch pieces and post updates no matter where she is. She’s grateful for the speed at which she can reach her market through the web, and the speed at which they can get back to her. They’re able to reach her anytime, anywhere, and she can respond to their concerns immediately.

“Our reaction time to customers’ needs [is definitely a benefit of having an online store],” she says. “It’s so quick to adjust. For example, if our Instagram store [needs to be improved], it would be so much easier to modify it than to remodel or redesign a physical store.”

Finally, with help from Globe myBusiness, she’s looking into utilizing the RUSH app, which would allow her to provide rewards and loyalty programs to her valued customers, giving them more of an incentive to continue their patronage.

Ricca has learned a lot of things throughout her journey with HTP. Sharing her knowledge with those looking to enter the e-commerce industry, she gives the following tips:

“You have to be different. There are so many SMEs, especially online. You have to set yourself apart from the rest. And don’t be afraid to try and explore. Be open to new learnings; take opportunities to learn. Finally, you have to learn to delegate some tasks. Some business owners are scared to delegate because they’re afraid it will affect the quality [of the work]. But you can’t do everything on your own; you need to learn to let go, so that you can focus on what you should be focusing on.”

Do you have a business or success story that you want to get featured in one of our articles? Share it with us at createyoursuccess@globe.com.ph!

Watch and discover how Ricca Del Rosario, owner of HTP (Half the Price) Clothing,  built her business from the ground up and created success in her own special way. Read all about it here.

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