THE MANILA TIMES
Business Times p.B5
Monday, December 8, 2003
LEARNING AND INNOVATION
By Moje Ramos-Aquino
Divisoria cuts across the market divide
I’VE been to Divisoria thrice to shop for some Christmas gifts. And really, the prices of goods sold there are amazingly low and affordable. Plus, the variety is wide-ranging.
There is no place in Metro Manila that offers such diverse and low-priced products. When you are in Divi, you don’t think of the peso as equal to $55.40. It is a place where you could literally stretch your hard-earned money.
They normally quote two prices, one for retail and another for wholesale. If you get three or more, you get the wholesale price. But with some lambing, you could get one piece for the price of wholesale.
My experience is that the best time to go there, especially nowadays, is in the morning. Some shops open as early as 7 o’clock. If you go there by noon or in the afternoon, you could hardly walk around because the place swarms with people, goods, and vehicles.
While in other places, businessmen are taking advantage of the season and the generosity of people, Divisoria prices remain as low as can be all year round. No wonder people enjoy going there notwithstanding the hassle. Go there in walking clothes and shoes minus your trinkets.
The shop owners at Divisoria are real entrepreneurs. They have the hearts of their customers in their minds. They know the latest trends in toys, clothes, footwear, decors, foods, gift items, etcetera, etcetera. I enjoy checking out the goods they sell and how they go about their business.
As Elaine Dundon, author of Seeds of Innovation says: “The most innovative organizations are focused on high impact projects that strengthen their competitive advantage.”
They say yes to projects that support their unique strategic direction and say no to “low impact” projects that waste valuable resources that could otherwise be applied to more important projects. Strategically speaking, they know that it is better to focus their resources on the completion of 5 high impact initiatives rather than on 15 medium or low impact projects.
As Sun Tzu once advised, “You need to narrow your focus in order to be strong.”
Elaine asks: “In this connection, has your team determined which projects to fund and, importantly, which to discontinue?”
“Has your team determined which products and services should receive maximum support and which to eliminate; which customer groups to support and which to ignore; and which regions to support and which to ignore?,” she added. “Or, is your team trying to do too much and, in doing so, diluting the effect(s) of its efforts?”
The Divi entrepreneurs do not pretend to offer high-end products nor do they deliberately attract the moneyed class. But it is not surprising to find people there from all economic strata standing shoulder-to-shoulder engage in the wonderful game of haggling unmindful of each other’s economic, social, political and other status.
Most shops in Divi are production capacity/capability-driven. Anything that they could sell in their stall, averaging 3 meter by 5 meter, they sell. The idea is to offer as many products or variations of the same products and keep on replenishing their display to attract customers.
My friend is arguing that these Divi entrepreneurs are driven by market or user type. But looking at their product offerings at, say Divisoria Mall, they answer to a variety of needs of a variety of customers, not just one category of customers.
You don’t hear the word suki anymore. They don’t seem to want to cultivate customer loyalty as an area of excellence. Neither do customers want to go back to the same store again, with a hundred other stores offering the same products at the same or, maybe lower prices.
They maximize their profits by filling their stalls with all sorts of goodies and selling them as quickly as they could.
Tara na sa Divisoria.
Moje enjoys Christmas and endeavors to keep it everyday of the year. You may email her at email@example.com