Thought Leadership

How to Survive Retail Competition in a Uniquely Filipino Shopping Culture

Jan 29, 2019
With the influx of global brands, rise of online shopping, and persistent traditional retail, loyalty marketing is your best bet to survive. Here’s how.

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The retail landscape in the Philippines – in terms of competition and consumer behavior – is unique.

The top 3 business groups in the Philippines – Ayala, SM, and JG Summit – built their empires at the back of retail behemoths – Ayala Malls, SM Supermalls and Robinsons Malls. Beyond these are ukay-ukay stores and bagsakan outlets that spread through word-of-mouth. Then there’s the rising E-commerce industry fueled by time-starved Filipinos.

In a consumption-driven economy teeming with all kinds of competitors and filled with consumers who shop wherever it is convenient, local businesses need a new kind of loyalty program to thrive.  

Here’s why and how:

Redefine the meaning of customer loyalty

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The modern Filipino consumer is different. Customers want restaurants to incorporate technology to improve customer service and delivery. E-Commerce complement traditional retail because Filipinos love to shop. Millennials – a young workforce with increasingly disposable income – are loyal to brands that reflect their values.  

The same mindset should be considered for loyalty programs. You need to improve the overall customer experience, not just the product or service.  

According to the Retail Loyalty Sentiment Report, among Filipino consumers:

-76% want a store-specific loyalty program mobile app
-86% want the ability to choose between several rewards
-85% want personalized discounts
-85% want product or service recommendations

Invest in lifetime value  

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Traditional loyalty schemes require a huge amount of effort to adjust with today’s consumer demands. They are a set and forget kind of loyalty marketing whose offerings are severely limited by physical constraints – manufacturing and distribution.

A digital loyalty platform places your loyalty program in a device that everyone already has – the smartphone. All you have to do is create, launch and manage a customer rewards program. Also, you can add more features beyond pricing discounts.

This is obviously more efficient in the long-term. Value-added services such as converting points to discounts for future purchases and receiving relevant in-app engagement create more meaningful customer relationships, which is a crucial part of loyalty and retention.


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