The archipelagic nature of the Philippines, its terrain and its climate pose a challenge to delivering items purchased over Argomall’s website, chief Argonaut Karel Holub said. Yet he sees a promising online shopping market in the Philippines, one that has not yet reached saturation point. There are 65 million Filipinos online, 12 million of whom shop online.
Argomall is one of just a handful of Philippine-grown online shopping sites, with only one non-Filipino—Czech national Holub himself—on the staff.
The best Argomall selling points aren’t the items they sell—though there are many excellent items one can buy on the shopping site. The website sells consumer electronics and mobile digital devices like laptops, smartphones and tablets, but Argomall’s best feature is fully human.
Argomall’s customers “may reach us via phone, email, or chat support on [Facebook] messenger.” Holub said, adding that he and the rest of Argomall’s Argonauts “make it a point to respond to our customers within 48 hours.”
“We are, to a certain extent, the best-kept secret in the Philippines,” he said. “We are focused on holistic service: We build relationships with each of our customers. The entire experience—from browsing our website to enjoying easy and secure transactions, chatting with our sales personnel about which item suits your needs best and comparing specifications, to receiving the items we deliver and getting good after-sales services—should build trust between our customers and Argomall.”
Argomall keeps its customers on its website by offering human support for browsing shoppers.
Not tech savvy? Not a problem. Argomall has staff who will chat with you and assist you: They will walk you through the processes of opening an email account and other online accounts you need to have so you can complete transactions with Argomall easily and quickly.
This includes assisting you in applying for a Home Credit Account, so you can pay for your purchases by installment.
The entire Argomall customer experience revolves around the customer: Argomall offers the best authentic items at the best prices, with several options for payment, including the payment by installment that Filipinos have become accustomed to over the past decades. The delivery process is trackable online and via SMS, with Argomall’s friendly staff ready to assist you throughout the process. You get to talk to people who don’t require a script to interact with you. Ease of transaction is king with this online shopping portal.
“We have people who chat with customers who may not yet have decided which item they really want to buy. We ask what it is they’re looking for in a smartphone, or TV, for example, and do the specification comparison for various items in real time with them,” Holub said.
“We do not want to become a market-place that sells everything to customers and yet is nothing to them,” Holub said. “We want to have a meaningful relationship with our customers.
We have to be true to our brand, true to our values.”
Building trust is central to Argomall’s values and brand. People usually only get a smartphone once every three years, so gaining customer loyalty, in this context, is about building trust. “We want to be the shopping site that our customers return to because they trust us,” Holub said.
“Every product featured in our gallery is always available and can be ordered or pre-ordered,” he added. Argomall offers the widest and up-to-date choices of official and genuine products in any of the categories we serve, thus you may always compare and choose what’s best for your needs, not items sold at large discounts because they come with outdated operating systems or which may be old stock.
Even in this process of selecting the Argomall items that you need, the human touch is very present: Argomall’s very capable staff are available to chat so you can compare the specifications of your chosen item against the other items in its class so you can make an informed choice before you finalize your transaction.
Argomall’s focus is all about “being true to our customers, caring about them and learning about them,” Holub said. “This is the most important thing we can do.”
Making the delivery
When Argomall had just opened shop three years ago, its first employees were also doubling as delivery personnel. This was how the company gained firsthand experience in how difficult it truly is to deliver packages in a country composed of coral and volcanic islands that sits on the world’s typhoon belt.
Argomall has delivery partners now who ensure that the items purchased on the site are delivered in a timely manner and in good condition.
“We don’t hide behind our delivery partners. If, for some reason, something goes wrong with the delivery, we are responsible for that. We chose the delivery partner, we are the people from whom the item was bought. So we do our best to ensure the items are delivered in good condition and, when an item gets lost or damaged, we take responsibility for that.”
When delays do happen, Argomall’s Argonauts maintain close coordination with customers via email, SMS and private message chats on Facebook Messenger.
Delivery personnel are also briefed on the Argomall corporate culture of personalized service. You can expect courtesy and friendliness from Argomall’s delivery partners and their people, too. “There’s a balance between finding a delivery person who fits our culture and ensuring that our items arrive on time,” Holub explained. “Our delivery partners and their personnel are trained on how they should greet the customer. We are still learning from the feedback we get, and we keep working on improving this important part of the delivery process using that feedback.”