PHILIPPINE-BASED technology company Star Telecom Alliance Resources, Inc. (STAR, Inc.) said on Monday it has forged a partnership with Philippine Seven Corporation’s convenience store chain 7-Eleven to introduce an e-commerce business model that seeks to improve online shopping system for customers nationwide.
The partnership will allow customers to order PLAY Lite and PLAY Five through 7-Eleven’s Clicq store, found on Google Play and Apple Store as well as in electronic kiosks and catalogs in-store.
PLAY Lite is a dual-SIM Android smartphone capable of connecting to 4G LTE while PLAY Five is the affordable version. Both devices are produced by Starmobile, maker of quality smartphones and tablets, which was established by STAR, Inc. in 2011
The venture builds on 7-Eleven’s retail partnership with STAR, Inc. which began in 2014, when the convenience store started carrying Starmobile devices in its stores.
“This e-commerce model that gives customers a variety of flexible discovery, payment and pick-up options first rolled out in 7-Eleven stores in Taiwan. It has proven so successful that 35 percent of all e-commerce packages in the country now go through 7-Eleven branches, eventually helping make Taiwan the world’s most developed e-commerce market, with 18 percent share of total retail,” Philippine Seven Corp. Managing Director Daniel Marogy said in a statement.
“We aim to pilot this program together with Starmobile in selected Metro Manila stores starting April 24,” he added.
Star, Inc. Product Development head Michael Chen said the partnership with 7-Eleven “supports our mission to bring our various devices even closer to more Filipinos.”
“Not only are we making the latest mobile technologies more accessible to Filipinos in terms of price points, we are also making them accessible in terms of ordering, payment, and availability venues,” he said.
The e-commerce model also aims to address two “key realities” facing the e-commerce industry in the country today—small retail baskets and expensive fulfilment logistics.
Seventy-five percent of offline retail transactions in the Philippines cost P600.00 and below. However, online vendors can spend up to an average of P150.00 fulfilling these orders, with expenses going even higher when returns and failed deliveries are included. This eats into their margins and discourages them from investing further in their e-commerce channels.
“We are optimistic about this model as this leverages 7-Eleven’s logistics operations—one of the most efficient in the country–and removes the last-mile expense and costs associated with running an e-commerce warehouse by using our stores as pick-up locations,” said Marogy. “In addition, this also reduces failed deliveries by giving customers an incentive to prepay in-store.”
“As we apply this to the local market and learn about Filipinos’ reception to the model, we hope to eventually expand our product offering and store availability,” Chen said. “The more it becomes cost-effective for us, the more we will be able to bring down price points and make our devices even more affordable for our customers.”