By Stephanie Tumampos
THE Department of Science and Technology (DOST) recently launched 1,154 products of its assisted micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) via the oneSTore.ph, an online platform dedicated to address the goal of marketing these products through the worldwide Web.
The oneSTore.ph is a project initiated by Science Secretary Mario G. Montejo and supported by the department’s regional offices. It aims to provide an e-commerce platform for high-quality Filipino products from the DOST-assisted MSMEs and sell them to a larger audience and in a faster way through the Internet. The online web site was officially launched on February 16 in General Santos City.
For many years, Filipinos have been shopping online. Most products range from clothes to accessories, shoes, gadgets and appliances. The DOST-assisted MSME products, meanwhile, range from food, furniture, handicrafts, metals and agricultural products.
According to Science Assistant Secretary for Countryside Development Urduja Tejada, the online marketing platform was developed in the first quarter of 2015 and had a soft launch during the 2015 National Science and Technology Week (NSTW) in July 2015.
“This built-in online-marketing system was aimed to cater to the DOST-assisted MSMEs with the support of the regional offices in the country,” Tejada said in an interview with the BusinessMirror. Tejada added that there are 1,154 products featured in the site, and the agency aims to upload more products at the end of April. “We are modestly starting and have uploaded 1,154 products and target 10,000 products to be uploaded by the end of April. We have to work double-time,” Tejada added.
There has been a good distribution of uploaded products from the different islands. In Luzon, 412 products have been uploaded. The Visayas has 418 products posted online, while Mindanao has 324 products ready to be ordered and shipped.
How it works
OneSTore.ph works almost the same as the top online shopping stores used in the Philippines. From the DOST-Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (DOST-SETUP) MSMEs, a flagship program by the DOST that helps small and medium enterprises utilize and adapt technological innovations and scientific processes to improve product quality and business, thousands of products are yet to be put on a bigger market because of lack of exposure. Some entrepreneurs also have limited access to consumers.
“There are about 50,000 products that were produced by the DOST-SETUP and we aim to upload 10,000 products from the different regions in the country,” said Christopher Musni, technical manager of the OneStore.ph project in an interview with the BusinessMirror.
Musni said oneSTore.ph is like a convenience store, and all its products are locally made. The majority of these locally produced products assisted by the DOST still have little market. The oneSTore.ph project is a breakthrough for the DOST in helping advertise and market these products.
Since it is a nationwide store, the challenge to meet demands from anywhere around the country has made the DOST create oneSTore hubs. These are physical oneSTore outlets where entrepreneurs can drop the products ordered online and the oneSTore hub can process it for delivery.
“We aim to have a physical oneSTore hub in every region and we’ve seen the possibility of having five of it per region,” Musni said. He added that “most of the entrepreneurs like this platform because they don’t have to advertise their product. We handle the advertisement through oneSTore.ph.”
From its soft launch at the 2015 NSTW up to December, oneSTore.ph already had 121 successful transactions worth P500,000. This was already less the shipping fee since this was done manually. They even had international transactions, yet, capabilities were still not at hand at that time for the project, which was why during the official launch of oneSTore.ph, the DOST also tapped Air21 as the official product courier. “Through our tapped logistics partner Air21, they have the facility to process orders outside the country,” Musni said.
By the use of credit card and PayPal payment scheme online, customers can order and pay right away. Asked if there would be more options for payment, Tejada replied: “By next week or the end of this month, we will ink an agreement with the Land Bank of the Philippines as partner for online banking payment and pay portal.” Tejada said through the different pay portals and the logistics partner, the products would be delivered at the doorsteps of customers faster.
Although Montejo, the initiator of the oneSTore project, wants to address the aspiration of MSMEs to bring competitive products to the worldwide stage, Tejada stressed that the plan to go international can be done later. “We’re still trying to populate the local market and put all products online.”
The DOST is looking into the possibility of partnering with different stakeholders in its flagship program, oneSTore. Stakeholders such as the Department of Trade and Industry, local government units and the Department of Tourism are being considered as next partners to help improve and promote these products.
Tejada also assured that more trainings—such as in the area of packaging, maintaining the quality of products, assistance to technical services like good manufacturing processes and food safety—will also be given to the entrepreneurs to keep the quality of the products at a competitive level.
Image credits: Stephanie Tumampos