digital inventory management

BPI e’Nay App is Revolutionizing the Sari-Sari store Business in the Philippines

BPI e'Nay App

In June 2023, BPI Direct BanKo, a subsidiary of Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), introduced an app called e'Nay, which aims at revolutionizing the way sari-sari store owners operate, bringing efficiency in business processes and offering digital financial services. More than 70,000 users were onboarded in the last months.

More efficiency in orders and payments

On the financial side, the app provides access to e-commerce and standard basic deposit accounts (BDAs) that do not require maintaining a minimum balance. To start using the app, store owners must open a BanKo PondoKo account and register in the app, indicating the address of their store and choosing PondoKo as a payment method.

The PondoKo account is pivotal in the business side of the e’Nay app, that connects micro-retailers distributors and wholesales, radically transforming the way sari-sari store owners can order, manage, and pay for their inventory using an online platform. The whole business process is streamlined and relies on the PondoKo account to settle transactions in real time, allowing for immediate delivery.

Orders are delivered the same day

Sari-sari store owners can select the items they want to buy, review the order details, and then check out: the payment is authorised using the PondoKo MPIN code. Orders made before 2PM will be delivered the same day, thanks to partner distributors located within a 8 to 10 kilometers radius. Ultra Mega Supermarket was the initial partner, and BanKo plans to collaborate with more retailers as it expands to new areas, providing sari-sari store owners with easier access to inventory restocking.

To encourage more Filipinos to open bank accounts and become part of the formal financial system, store owners currently do not need to pay for delivery fees on the app.

«As a trusted financial partner of the masang Pilipino, we are on a mission to provide them with affordable and easy access to financial solutions. We aim to empower sari-sari store owners through the use of technology, enabling them to have an efficient order and inventory management systems, and better and faster payment transactions with distributors and wholesalers», commented Jojo Ocampo, BanKo Chairperson.

The role of sari-sari stores

A sari-sari store is a small neighborhood retail shop that caters to members of that community. The store usually carries basic goods such as canned food, instant noodles, coffee, soda, and other things that Filipinos get on a daily basis. They can have literally anything commodity the community needs. Sari-sari stores nowadays also become your go-to prepaid mobile loading station, thanks to the popularity of smartphones.

These one-stop shops can be found on just about every street, shining like a beacon of hope in the dead of night and wee hours of the morning when everything else is closed. The name comes from the Filipino term for variety (sari). Those stores are typically owned and operated by a mother whose sole purpose for putting up the store is to augment their family income.

Most Sari-Sari stores become a small family business, with other members of the family pitching in. It’s this combination of convenience and community service that separates Sari-Sari stores from convenience stores like 7-11 and Ministop.

We can compare the sari-sari to the local version of the better known Japanese konbini. The main difference is that Sari-sari stores tend to be family-run and privately owned, operating within the shopkeeper's residence.

Today, they have become an integral part of the archipelago's everyday life. However, many of these stores fail to stay in business for long due to many factors such as the inaccurate monitoring of stocks and profits. And the situation got worse after the pandemic outbreak: and now e’Nay could help them reach sustainability.

Boosting Financial Inclusion

«e’Nay was created with the nanays (hard working mothers who run a combini, Editor’s note) in mind. We wanted to know their pain points and discovered that sari-sari stores are disjointed and disorganized in their supply chain.

They don’t usually have an inventory management system and the sari-sari store owners buy merchandise based on gut feel. We wanted to address that through the e’Nay app which is easy and convenient to use even for those who may not be tech-savvy», said Rod Mabiasen, BanKo Business Head of Financial Inclusion and Microfinance Solutions.

Mabiasen also reported in the near future the app plans to introduce "special loans", allowing users to order and purchase inventory using a credit line of up to ₱25,000 (around 43 US Dollars). BanKo envisions disbursing at least P15 billion in loans to around 250,000 clients through the e'Nay app by the end of 2024.