By Camille Anne M. Arcilla
A DIFFERENT kind of adobo is now available in the Philippines.
Adobomall, the Philippines’ first online shopping mall, was officially launched on Oct. 20 at Warehouse Eight in Makati City and went live with adobomall.com on the same day. A brainchild of Walt Steven Young, CEO of 14-year-old technology company Innerworks — headquartered in the Philippines and with an office in New York — Adobomall seeks to bring Filipino pride to the world.
“Adobomall is a vision. In my travels, shopping has been more convenient outside the country. We’ve been developing software products for the company outside the Philippines, so I thought why not develop our own?” Mr. Young said during the launch. “It’s not just a product or a brand that we launched here in the Philippines. This time around, we thought why not create something from the Philippines to be brought to the world?”
He said Adobomall commits to a promise of “real online shopping,” which means a platform that would resemble what a customer sees inside a shopping mall. He explained that Adobomall will revolutionize the online experience by not just providing ease to shoppers, but also rising above the clutter of online shopping, thus, the idea of integrating the physical mall experience with an array of categories such as clothing and apparel, beauty products, sporting gear, gadgets, home and living, tools and equipment, and even food and beverages.
“Those brands, they go to the storefront. What we will see is quite similar to the storefront you see in the mall in line with their identity, which looks like you’re actually going to their stores. It’s a look and feel of the store. It allows them to post their latest products and those on sale,” Mr. Young said.
“What happens is we are integrating our technology to their promos. We are going to give the value to them by having the technology aspect. How? Through midnight sales,” he said. By Christmas, Adobomall will have big sales from midnight until 5 a.m., he said.
Adobomall has an impressive roster of brands on it site including Brooks, Mizuno, Wilson, Lotto, TYR, Folded & Hung, American Tourister, High Sierra, Kamiliant, The Aivee Clinic, Flawless, Aqua Mineral, and Botanifique, to name a few, with more premium brands on the way. There are more than 20 brands now in partnership with Adobomall and Mr. Young said 10 to 15 brands more are in talks with them. By the end of the year, they are looking to close collaborations with around 50 brands.
Mr. Young told BusinessWorld that despite the rise of e-commerce in the Philippines, there is still room for new players to come in.
“Relatively, there’s not too much platform. When we did research, we noticed that not a lot of Filipinos are doing online shopping simply because they don’t feel comfortable yet, or they don’t feel that the platform is right for them,” he said. “But we did not do it because we are competing but because we wanted to bring in a certain convenience to our people.”
He added: “As Filipinos, we still love to shop. That has been part of our culture.”
Unlike other e-commerce sites, Mr. Young guaranteed that everything posted in Adobomall is brand new, there is no gray market, and all items are original. “That’s why I think power branding is real online shopping. It is how shopping should be — real and secure.”
And instead of an online “cart,” customers will be buying with their “bayong” (a woven market bag).
“When we say Adobomall, it’s automatically the Philippines. We did this because this is actually the vision to expand beyond the Philippines. Going global will allow us to carry that name and to talk about Adobo as a Philippine product,” Mr. Young said.
The Adobomall app will be available to iOS and Android users before the year ends, and he added that Innerworks will soon be introducing another online platform, this time dedicated to small and medium enterprises, called “Adobotiangge.”
“There are a lot of small and medium enterprises here in the Philippines and they also need an online platform where they can sell their products. They deserve a spot where everybody else has the option to buy them, not just in a bazaar,” he said.