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.”
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The challenge for many local, home-grown businesses is not just competing with big fast food chains. There’s also the need to stand out to get recognized and be remembered. Innovation is a key factor.
Bigg’s Diner, a 34-year-old family-owned business established in Naga City in 1983, is one of the oldest local fast-casual restaurants in the country.
When Carlo Buenaflor, current chief executive officer of Bigg’s Diner, took over the business in 2005, he realized the changing trend in the local restaurant industry. Customers were looking for a restaurant where they could hang out. What’s more, they wanted a place with good internet connection so they could be in constant touch with family and friends, and post updates on social media.
With foodies taking their dining experiences—where they go or what meal they are having—and sharing them on various social media platforms, there was an immediate need for internet access.
With several branches already established in the Bicol region, Buenaflor saw the need to incorporate digital technology in their day-to-day operations.
With the help of the digital technology provided by Globe myBusiness, Bigg’s Diner was among the restaurants that offered FREE WiFi to their customers early. Thus, loyal patrons now had a new reason to hang out at Bigg’s Diner and enjoy its delicious burgers, fries, and other offerings.
“We wanted to offer a superior dining experience like what you get from a fast food chain. And with a good internet connection, customers are able to share their meals on social media,” Buenaflor said.
In addition to this, Carlo also used chat apps to keep tabs on all branches of Bigg’s Diner, reducing the need to call all branches and check emails to get daily updates and to issue instructions.
One of the most productive innovations Buenaflor applied in the operations of Bigg’s Diner, with the help of Globe myBusiness, was the use of Restograph. With this solution, the manual monitoring of their sales and status of inventory in all branches was digitized and became easier.
“All our transactions are linked to our sales inventory. Tracking our sales, stock levels, and all our menu items are easier to monitor and in real-time,” Carlo said. “Best of all, we avoid food spoilage by knowing exactly which items are selling the most and what items we need to push more.”
Bigg’s Diner’s intends to consolidate its success with Globe myBusiness by establishing its own unique direct line for deliveries, bypassing area codes across the Bicol Region. By doing so, Buenaflor hopes to establish Bigg’s Diner as the first restaurant chain in Bicol to streamline its delivery service.
According to Buenaflor, the restaurant’s partnership with Globe myBusiness is one of the best moves they have made in putting Bigg’s Diner on the right track and giving customers the dining experience they are looking for.
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.
Bigg’s Diner CEO Carlo Buenaflor talks about how his restaurant managed to find success amid the tight competition in the food-serving industry. Check out how Bigg’s Diner won the hearts of its patrons and managed to trample over competitors here.
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