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How Philippine retailers are embracing an omnichannel approach

Tuesday, February 02, 2021
Digital transformation in the Philippines has been relatively slow-paced compared to that of more developed markets.

Among the many effects that the pandemic has had on the local FMCG industry, however, has been a rapid shift to a more omnichannel marketplace, as retailers have begun dealing with increasing volumes of orders from new sources – including e-commerce platforms and aggregators such as Grab and FoodPanda. In such times, dynamic POS systems are essential in keeping up with this accelerating pace of change, especially those solutions that can be integrated with existing systems.

ANSI Information Systems has found itself well placed as a POS provider capable of quickly adapting to the new normal, given that it has been encouraging clients along digital pathways since the cash register age. Its ready-for-the-moment systems are now being applied to a broad range of industries within the territory.

The firm has been operating in the Philippines since 1987, when the company founder observed that switching to the kinds of POS systems popular in the US and other countries could help local retailers reduce theft and checkout errors, as well as generally improve their business processes. They began by selling imported systems before developing their own platform and collaborating with partnering hardware vendors such as EC Line to provide complete localised solutions for Philippines businesses – systems that are now being used in a number of overseas locations too. ANSI now works closely with Grandtech Intl Ent Corp – the exclusive distributor of EC Line – in exploring further business opportunities, given the perfect fit in the positioning of EC Line to the local market. It is currently deploying a major rollout to a key player in the pizza food retail industry as of the third quarter of last year.

Perhaps what has most distinguished ANSI’s development over the years has been its readiness to tailor its software to better cater to specific industries. While the firm started out by trading in straightforward POS systems for supermarkets and department stores, enquiries began rolling in from fast food businesses that required a different approach to the standard. The firm developed a mobile extension to the system that allowed cashiers to take orders from queueing customers before they reached the head of the line, significantly reducing the wait time and improving the speed of service. ANSI now offers a mobile queue-buster solution for supermarkets as well, allowing shoppers to pre-scan items and simplify the check-out experience.

In recent years, ANSI has developed specialised industry solutions under the WinVQP brand for fine dining operators, pharmacies, hardware and petroleum vendors, which has seen their software evolve into full retail management systems in the process. Each solution incorporates features specific to a particular industry – as in pharmaceuticals, for example, where trained pharmacy assistants need to have a handle on medicines in stock as well as the availability of generic alternatives.

The beauty of ANSI’s system has proved to be the degree to which it is able to offer support to clients. In case of software glitches, the firm is able to connect remotely to the store or server and fix the problem – something that has greatly facilitated its installations in foreign markets. Hardware issues can be efficiently dealt with by engineers available to offer support on site.

The disruption to the market presented by the pandemic environment has proved a demonstration of ANSI’s ability to adapt quickly to market changes. Integrating ANSI’s POS solutions with platforms run by aggregators took just two months during the lockdown period, at which time the firm also partnered with Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing solution to allow services at scale.

As the global economy proceeds into new digital territories in the wake of the pandemic, ANSI is seeing its existing customer base expanding their POS solutions while new businesses are seeking to take advantage of the flexibilities of its systems to keep pace with developing norms.

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