MANILA, Philippines–The Abenson brand has long been attached to everything that has to do with appliances. Recently, the 45-year-old Abenson chain opened its flagship store beside Ascott Hotel, Bonifacio Global City.
Abenson managing director Winston Lim shares here his thoughts on appliance retailing and the company’s mission to bring the ‘good life’ to Filipinos.
Q: Retailing appliances has many pain points as customers go through a process of information search, face-to-face inquiry, product demo, delivery and after-sales. How does Abenson address customer irritants and annoyances?
A: At Abenson, our mission is to bring the ‘good life’ to every Filipino home. In our 45-year history, we have seen how our customers’ priorities have changed, both at the level of sophistication of the products that they buy and their expectation of what the “good life” is.
Appliance and gadget shoppers want to bring home the best products that fit their lifestyles in the fastest, easiest and safest way possible.
Our newest channel on the Internet—www.abenson.com.ph—offers the same products and services nationwide to those who now prefer to shop online with their credit cards or choose the convenience of cash-on-delivery.
Our network of over 80 stores is the leading appliance store chain and is still expanding nationwide.
A product’s journey from our store to your home is also guaranteed safe by people who have been screened and accredited to provide honest and professional service.
Abenson “Para Sigurado” was our tagline many years ago, and it still rings true today.
Q: How is Abenson differentiated in an environment where many retailers sell almost the same products at the same price?
A: As part of our mission to provide the “good life” to every Filipino and create happy customers, we take particular care in choosing the products that we carry in our stores.
The brands inside Abenson stores are pre-selected to ensure high quality and reliable warranties.
To stay on top of the latest innovations in electronics and appliances, our team attends every year the biggest international trade shows such as the Consumer Electronics Show is Las Vegas and the IFA Show in Berlin.
Q: I notice that you have a different business model for the provinces, where you have joint ventures with local retailers. What is the reason behind this?
A: Our family-led company believes that in growing businesses, you need partners who share your values. At Abenson, we’ve always treated our own employees as business partners; I honestly think that is the secret to our growth and the strong foundation on which we built our group of companies.
As we expand to new areas, it is only natural for us to find the right partners who have the same values.
We work with the leading retailers in each province we expand into because we believe that they know their region’s shoppers best and have the expertise to serve our customers better.
We have been fortunate to find the right partners and families who share the same values and work towards bringing the “good life” to the areas we serve.
Happy customers, great people and a great company—our company vision also serves as a guide in finding like-minded business partners like we did with The Ascott group.
Q: Abenson recently opened a multi-story experiential flagship store at the Bonifacio Global City. Can you tell us why Abenson put up this kind of store?
A: Abenson Global City is our flagship store.
It is the perfect location as the BGC is the premier showcase of what the Philippines can be.
The store is a showcase of all our products and services. It epitomizes our vision of bringing the “good life” to Filipinos and creating happy customers.
And the “good life” for Filipinos now includes a big screen TV with home theater set-up, energy-saving Inverter air conditioners and a side-by-side refrigerator.
Abenson Global City also defines what digital living means with a wide range of handheld products from the world’s top brands. All their flagship models are available with exclusive promotions and offers.
One unique experience that we brought to Abenson Global City is the launch of one the biggest Apple store-in-store displays in Asia. What makes the Apple setup unique is that the display, content, and store experience are directly linked to the Apple headquarters in Cupertino.
Apple visits us regularly to check on the Apple store and keep us up-to-date on the latest developments in their products and services.
We are proud to bring this world-class experience to the Philippine market and are prouder that the Philippine market is given the recognition it deserves as an important emerging market.
(The author is chair of marketing training firm Mansmith and Fielders Inc. For the complete interview and interviews with other thought leaders, log on to www.josiahgo.com)
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