The Role of Sari-sari Store and its Retail Technique in Philippine Culture
The pervasiveness of the neighborhood sari-sari store and its retail technique in low-income residential communities in the Philippines remains an unexplained neoclassical puzzle. How can such micro-enterprises continue to operate despite shrinking market shares from excess competition? What explains the relativity of the traditional-trade stores and its “tingi” system to Philippine culture? Sari-sari store is a small phenomenon of the vast Philippine cultural and economic landscape and one of the most legendary and well known symbols of this amazing archipelago in Southeast Asia. It can be found throughout every city, each neighborhood, at almost every corner of any street, in residential areas and even in the poorest squatter communities. It is the oldest and smallest kind of store in the country. Thus, Sari-Sari store and its retail technique known as “tingi” or sachet system play a unique role in Philippine culture and a common essentiality of everyday life for the Filipino people.
Retailing refers to the sale of merchandise from a fixed location, whether it is a physical location as in a down-town dress boutique or virtual location as in an online computer store. Retailer is the term used to mean those businesses involved in retailing and is often called shop or store. Establishments that distribute services or public utilities to a large population are also called a retailer. Retailing is considered a crucial part of the overall distribution strategy of manufacturing marketers. Retailers buy large quantities of inventory from manufacturers, suppliers, importers, or wholesalers and then resell inventory in smaller quantities to end-users. Hence, they are at the end of the supply chain. Shopping, or the buying of products or services, is a term often associated with retailing. Thus, buyers are also called shoppers.1
1Andrew J. Newman and Peter Cullen, Retailing: Environment and Operations (Singapore: Seng Lee Press, 2002), pp. 5-6.
Retailing is commonly categorized by the kind of goods. Food products are on top of the list. This includes all form of foods whether it is fresh or processed items. Second is the hard or durable goods also known as hard-line retail. It consists of all sorts of appliances, electronics, furniture, sporting goods, etc. These are the goods that do not quickly wear out and provide utility over time. Soft goods which comprise clothing, apparel, and other fabrics are the last category. These are the products that are consumed after one use or have a limited period (typically under three years) in which you may use them.2
There are several types of retail outlets. Department stores are very large stores offering a huge assortment of soft and hard goods; often bear a resemblance to a collection of specialty stores. A retailer of such store carries variety of categories and has broad assortment at average price. They offer considerable customer service. Discount stores tend to offer a wide array of products and services, but they compete mainly on price offers extensive assortment of merchandise at affordable and cut-rate prices. Normally retailers sell less fashion-oriented brands. Warehouse stores offer low-cost, often high-quantity goods piled on pallets or steel shelves. Variety stores - these offer extremely low-cost goods, with limited selection. Mom and pop is a retail outlet that is owned and operated by individuals. The range of products are very selective and few in numbers. These stores are seen in local community often are family-run businesses. The square feet area of the store depends on the store holder. Specialty stores give attention to a particular category and provide high level of service to the customers. A pet store that specializes in selling dog food would be regarded as a specialty store. However, branded stores also come under this format. General store is a...
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