MANILA, PHILIPPINES — Market studies show that Filipinos have turned to online shopping during the pandemic (57% increase as of the 3rd quarter of 2020), and point to the fact that many small businesses were negatively impacted due to the lack of access to the market.
In an effort to help struggling SMEs reach a wider market, Publicis Groupe Philippines started Project Lion Cub, a build-operate-transfer e-commerce solution that enables SMEs, in collaboration with various platform partners, to quickly adapt to the digital normal of doing business.
Under the Publicis Groupe Power of One platform, a multi-disciplinary task force across the entire Groupe network of creatives, strategy teams, e-commerce and social specialists from Digitas, as well as Publicis media was formed, and a plan was crafted to help a variety of micro and small social enterprises who supported different communities. The goal was to help set up their e-commerce stores, optimize their digital presence, and create social campaigns to boost awareness. The team worked closely with Lazada and Facebook who gave technical support and media credits.
“We, at Publicis Groupe, are committed and are positioned to help the broader society by bringing our Power of One practice into small enterprises and the communities. Lion Cub is an example of our organization working together driven by a common purpose, a powerful spirit, shared behaviors, great character, and a relentless focus on the communities where we operate,” Ken Lingan, Chief Executive Officer of Publicis Groupe Philippines, said.
Lion Cub selects SMEs based on the type of social enterprise, its scale, and level of technology and talent to work with. In the long-run, Lion Cub aims to scale this model/approach to include the development of packaged direct-to-consumer solutions, potentially with the additional participation of financial and logistics partners.
Two brands have been launched so far, with the Publicis Groupe team designing optimized flagship stores, and creating campaigns to drive the market to the stores.
The first brand is The Soap Farm, a company that works with a community of women in Quezon province producing handcrafted soaps that use all-natural, locally-sourced ingredients. They specialize in a line of delightful pastry-designed soaps that look and smell delicious. The team updated the logo of the brand, as well as its visual identity, which was then applied to the flagship store. The brand was able to join the popular 11.11 Lazada sale with a conversion rate two times higher than the benchmark, with the ads driving traffic to the store with an above-average click-through rate. These efforts have given the brand considerable sales in the 5 months the flagship store has been up, with a 100% positive seller rating.
The second Lazada flagship store and campaign launched was for GW by Great Women, a brand that has collaborated with designers like Christian Louboutin but is now struggling to find a market at this time. Their exquisite fashion and lifestyle pieces are created from traditional textiles handwoven by 40 different communities around the Philippines. Merchandise planning was executed where items of lower cost were initially highlighted, with higher-priced items introduced on sale. GW incremental sales were generated through the new Lazada flagship store in addition to the store’s other online outlets.
The Publicis Groupe Lion Cub team is currently working to help more social enterprise brands gain their footing on the booming e-commerce platform.
“E-commerce has brought challenges to many small and medium enterprises. Lion Cub helps them overcome these challenges by sharpening their marketplace strategy and optimizing the online shopping experience. We, at Publicis Groupe, are committed to delivering end-to-end commerce solutions that will help these SMEs achieve the growth they need to survive and thrive during these hard times,” Isabelle Turpault, Lion Cub Team Head and Digitas Head of Commerce and Programmatic Media, said.