Discussion in 'Businesses - Services - Products' started by aldinlapinig, Sep 30, 2016.
Thanks, kelpguy. This is noted. Appreciate your idea.
When I lived in San Diego there was a guy who opened a business delivering from local restaurants which did not offer delivery. That may be a viable option for expanding your business. The only downside to that is it would probably require computer (or at least smart phone internet) access to see menus.
As far as online/text grocery shopping and delivery that may be difficult and take some time to pickup speed in my opinion. One thing is that many of those who likely may be willing to pay for such services likely already have a helper or yaya they could have do it and depending on prices may end up cheaper. Many also have some family member who has extra time to be able to do such errands w/o a real loss.
To have it work I'd think you'd want to find very specific areas where the upper/middle class are to advertise and have setup a system for payment and delivery. Keep in mind many of your clients may not have cash on hand to pay so having a common system setup as well such as gcash, credit card, or other options.
Foreigners *might* be a popular customer as well if you can find a sweetener. A sweetener I may suggest is finding out where locally you can get some of the in demand foreigner items foreigners like because maybe you need to go to hypermart for this, lee-plaza for that, then Robinsons for this other thing, and then can't forget that oddity some small little place has. Another sweetener may be even scheduling a monthly trip to Cebu or Bacolod to visit the local SM and such places to pickup speciality orders for customers but the difficulty with that is how customers can know what is available vs what isn't. Figuring out a pricing for that along with having enough regulars to make it viable would be the trick.
Just do make sure you have your prices and transportation figured out beforehand. You'd want at least a sort of trike capable of carrying 10 bags of groceries in size.
Another good idea I think may be a bit more of a hit would be Midway's idea on delivery from local restaurants. Plenty of times we may not want to go out but where we want food from may not have delivery or we may be a bit out of delivery area. Such could easily enough be done on a motorcycle with a hotbox (like the boxes you see on the back of jollibee's, mcdoc, and pizza delivery places). Easy enough to go around and take pictures of menu's of various restaurants or take-out menu's. Post them on a facebook page categorized. This could be done entirely in cash as well which would save a LOT of hassles of needing to have setup for other forms of payments (after all how many have 500-1kp's in their pocket vs how many carry 3-8k peso's in their pocket). It could even be done off the books or at least to start.
You wont know until you try. And once you get going you'll likely hit a meandering path which places you somewhere much different than where you started. You'll find what works and what doesn't and it's only by getting started that you'll answer your question.
Personally, I would look at similar models around the world to see what your business would have to look like to make money.
Working with low margins requires high volume. High volume services are best scaled digitally (Facebook). High volume and labor intensive is a b*tch and capital intensive. If your idea takes off without hitting scale (there is a demand for it) then you just get eaten up when someone better funded hits the area. At that point you have wasted X years which could have been applied to something else.
Personally, I wouldn't use such a service. Anything I can get at a neighborhood store has never been far from my front door. I may give a thumbs up to convenience, but price will win out. People here generally have more time than they have money, which is why you can even consider paying workers for this service (good luck on the paying customers side).
You're not the first person to come up with this idea. Even in these forums I believe there have been at least a couple of people who have thought of doing this. I recall seeing advertisements but I don't remember where. You would have to succeed where these people have apparently failed. You will have to discover the same problems and work around them or close up shop.
These sorts of things seem to work out in places like Silicon Valley where you have tech workers getting obscene salaries and eager to try shiny new services. Otherwise you face the reality that you have to be impossibly cheap for the masses, losing money in the process (if not by subsidizing your business, then by opportunity costs from passing on things which would be a better use of your time).
You might be better off doing the sorts of things which are high margin but difficult to scale (or that nobody has figured out how to scale yet). I would think that you would be hard pressed to make more money than you could with something like teaching English lessons remotely. That would be miminal startup costs and easy to exit if it's not for you. I bet you could make $20 per hour or more. How many full time running motorcycles would you need running to make the same with making deliveries?
As I said before, you won't get anywhere by not acting. Give it a shot. Maybe it works. Maybe you find that something similar works better. Maybe right now is better timing than the same thing tried in the past.
In additional news I just now got a flyer delivered to my door for JBC Errand Services. They do pickup and delivery be it groceries, bills, laundry, food, transfering services, and various other things. So I guess there is competition out there just so its known. Often though it comes down to who had the better advertising though.
I think it is a great idea. There are a number of people\resorts in Siquijor that order food from Dumaguete and have it delivered as many foods are not available in Siquijor. We usually go to Duma with our truck every two weeks to pickup supplies but there are times I would definitely use your service if you delivered to Siquijor.
One other item. I wouldn't bother with a website here. Taking calls or texts would probably work better. Facebook is the Internet here, so if you went web based, that's where your effort would go. Try messenger. And FB is a free data service.
I'm a web developer and I would be screwed if I had to make a living off the local web economy.
I added a storefront to DI's web-server with groceries in mind but backed off because it was only foreigners interested and everyone wanted those hard to find products. Too hard to keep inventory on those products and without any interest shown from locals (if it's not on Facebook it doesn't exist to locals) then it was completely pointless. Also, accepting online payment is just downright dangerous in the Philippines...far too much credit card/PayPal fraud in this country (I sold mobile load on a different website in the past and about 9 out of 10 attempted transactions were fraudulent. I would have needed a full time employee just to verify transactions coming in.). I personally wouldn't start a business here that mainly caters to the expat crowd, many (not all) complain to much (expecting service and quality like they get in the West), hold a grudge, talk mad sh*t about businesses to anyone willing to listen at the pubs and think the customer is always right.
If you are thinking of relying on PayPal or other plug-n-play checkout options you need to be very careful. PayPal always initially takes the customer's side, will place your transaction and/or account on hold when a transaction is contested (while still allowing more transactions/money to come in to the account...which you will not be able to touch/spend either) and it is on you to prove that you actually sent the person the product (and unless you are using certified mail to ship the goods that is impossible to prove to PayPal)....but if the customer used a stolen PayPal account you are just SOL and you can count it as a loss. Get enough people making fraudulent transactions and PayPal will lock/close your account permanently (while taking all the money in the account) with absolutely no way to contest that decision without taking them to court....and good luck with that. Sell anything to someone that has been blacklisted from any of the PayPal services and you will be forever questioned and have your account randomly locked and be asked time and time again about why you sold something to that person and what your relationship was to that customer even if you had no knowledge of them being blacklisted (I'm going through this right now with PayPal). Google used to have a checkout option as well and they played a very similar game as PayPal did except they basically had zero customer service available to their users. These types of companies are not banks and do not have to follow any of the banking laws. They can pretty much do as they wish and the only way to contest their decisions is to take them to court. Developing your own payment system will cost a ton of money and you will need some very intelligent IT guys to constantly update that software and keep an eye out for hackers looking for vulnerabilities.
Facebook did just add a "marketplace" (very similar to Craigslist) to their website so if there was anywhere that would be capable of appealing to locals that would be the place to do it, depending on payment options made available. I suspect it won't last long though as it will be flooded with scams and prostitutes in a matter of months. Just my 2 cents.
To the OP's original question:
I answered "Maybe" on the poll. Personally, I would be an frequent customer of an online grocery store only if the products were the same price as the sari2x store just down the road from me (which is generally marked up from the grocery stores)...I would, of course, factor in my fuel/transportation/helper costs. You'd basically have to be selling products at the same price as local mom-n-pop stores and just adding a delivery charge.
One thing I would be VERY interested in would be a "Blue Apron" type of service. You package the exact ingredients for a specific meal (preferably somewhat healthy) with instructions on how to cook it in a box, ship it, then I cook it. As a single guy without a helper (and not a very good cook) I would absolutely love this type of service and I would pay for a monthly subscription that provided one or two meals a day. This could be rather dangerous though as some people have unrealistically high standards or tend to be picky eaters.
That would turn your proposed website into something that's just providing products with delivery (which pretty much any local could do cheaper than you'd be willing to) to an actual service that has some value that takes a bit of thought and talent (which not many locals can do).
If this set-up is aimed at the locals, then you are on a loser
if this set-up is aimed at the foreigners (ex-pats) then you are on a loser
if you run everything yourself (do-it all) orders deliveries invoices etc etc etc , you might break even
if you have to employ locals and more importantly depend on them................you will lose your house and your sanity
Its a total different concept for filipinos as opposed to foreigners. Foreigners see shopping online as a way to save money because the store owner has no need for bricks and mortar and associated costs. Filipinos seem to think if you can afford to have a computer and Internet then you won't mind paying 100 pesos for a bottle of water that a local guy delivers to me each day for 25. (Going by the prices on the video in post 1).
There is no way I would patronize a service like what is pictured in the video. Everything offered there is available from my neighbors in the multitudes of sari sari stores out there. I buy many things on line. I buy things that are cheaper online. I buy things that I cannot find locally. I buy convenience items but the price must be compatible with the competition. For example, given a choice of picking up the phone and calling the guy who delivers Gasul OR pressing my bookmarked web page and clicking "buy" I would use the web page IF the price was the same and IF there was an immediate confirmation email to say the order is in and it will be delivered by . . (whatever time)