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Philippine DOST’s E-commerce Platform OneStoreHub

Image credits: pna.gov.ph

Digital can link supply to demand in spite of the distance. Unfortunately, many local small and mid-size businesses lack the capacity to market their products online. The Philippines DOST fielded a digital solution to meet such growing demand.

Being able to display one’s product at a physical store is one thing; putting them in an e-commerce store is another. Local businesses in Laoag City, Ilocos Norte have been able to display their locally-made snack offerings in a vending machine in the capital as the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is putting these local products in an OneStoreHub e-commerce store.

Recently, the Ilocos Norte’s small and medium entrepreneurs (MSMEs) got the break they have been looking for: a place to display their products. The local government introduced at the capitol building the area’s first vending machine that showcases locally-made products. The vending machine allows the purchase of a variety of snack foods and beverages and it operates 24/7.

DOST had contributed to the endeavour as confirmed by the Head of the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprise Office (MSMEO), Elma Gabriel, who acknowledged that the machine came as a donation from the department and was part of efforts to achieve a “smarter Philippines”.

Without a doubt, the vending machine has helped both the market and the sellers. For Capitol employees, having an electronic device is a big plus. Now, they need not go out of the building to buy snacks as fresh salads and a host of other snack options are available.

An IT worker at the capitol is happy saying it’s a wish come true for everyone. Still, he’s looking forward to the next step, a cashless version of the current vending machine. Additionally, the local government has inaugurated a one-stop-shop at the capitol building that acts as both a warehouse facility and a selling area for more MSMEs.

As groundbreaking as the vending machine is to both MSMEs and the market, it is limited in scope. Locally-made products can’t be seen by people in faraway places. That’s where DOST’s OneStoreHub comes in. The DOST has established OneStoreHub, an e-commerce platform that aims to help market MSME products even to international markets.

The ‘OneSToreHub’ hosts all locally produced products of Ilocos Norte as these were put together in a site, its price stated, where buyers are free to select and choose their own taste according to their level of satisfaction.

Elma Gabriel, Head, Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprise Office

It’s a big lift for the growing population of Ilocos Norte MSMEs. Today, about 34 of them exist. That number is bound to grow given the support of the government.

The Philippines has been aggressively adopting digital tools in government, with promising results. Digitalisation has become the main driver, for instance, for the country’s top collecting body to be able to do its job and collect even more despite the pandemic. The Philippine Central Bank is deploying Machine Learning (ML) to smoothen its processes and help it better predict the immediate future. Other government agencies such as the Supreme Court are also seeking the same: digital solutions to hasten their case deliveries.

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