RUSTAN’S could be a guiding star for gifts this season, announcing store renovations and an expanded personal shopper service during a press conference last week.
Rustan Commercial Corp. Bienvenido “Donnie” Tantoco III appeared on October 6 on a Zoom call with a portrait of his grandfather and namesake, Rustan’s co-founder and former ambassador Bienvenido Tantoco behind him. Senior Mr Tantoco died at the beginning of the year at the age of 100. (https://www.bworldonline.com/rustans-founder-bienvenido-tantoco-sr-100/)
“How wonderful it is to be together again. I believe that after everything that has happened that we have all lost in the last 20 months, such a togetherness … one as real, but also as imperfect as the family and community that is so gathered together … for the rest of our days granted, ”said Mr Tantoco.
With the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic preventing most physical gatherings, Rustan’s has adapted by offering contactless shopping and other services to help its customers celebrate Christmas with family and friends despite quarantine restrictions.
First, Dina Tantoco, Marketing and Communication Manager at Rustan Commercial Corp., introduced the expansion of her Personal Shopper program.
The gift list management service enables customers to send their gift list to Rustan’s Personal Shopper, who can search for gift selection, help with the transaction process, and schedule delivery to the buyer or recipients at home.
Rustan’s also offers Assisted Shopping Services, where customers can schedule an appointment with a store staff to assist them during their physical visit to the store. On the other hand, customers can also opt for a virtual store tour, during which they can view the items found in Rustan’s stores via video call with a personal shopper. At the moment, Ms. Tantoco says they currently have more than 117 personal shoppers. A media guest on the Zoom call had tried out the service and explained how a personal shopper helped her choose a Christmas tree via video call.
Rustan’s also unveiled its Christmas Village, a one-stop shop on May 5thNS Layer of Rustan’s Makati with Christmas trees, ornaments, lights, wreaths, garlands, pillow cases, napkins and other Christmas items. Rustan’s flower shop also offers a wide range of festive decorations. The specialty store also offers grocery boxes made in collaboration with Gourmet Garage and Marks & Spencer. Theo & Philo, Ferrero Rocher and Moet & Chandon branded items are also available for purchase. The Christmas Village is now open until December 31st.
Mr Tantoco admitted that the boom in online shopping has been challenging since the introduction of quarantine restrictions. “We kind of stumbled,” he said at the beginning. But there have been improvements to their online shopping infrastructure, which he proudly said 95% of purchases were delivered within two days; and some of them were delivered to customers in less than 24 hours. “He fixed it,” he said, speaking of his cousin, Rustan’s vice president of store design and expansion, Michael Huang. “We currently have a very, very good logistics and fulfillment system.”
“We’re not going to stay silent … we’re going to try to get better,” he said.
Rustan’s Makati, the company’s flagship store, is currently under renovation. The renovated ground floor will be ready by the end of next year, the remaining floors will follow. Mr. Tantoco stated that his aunt, Zenaida Tantoco, chairman and CEO of Rustan Group, and Michael Huang are leading the renovation work. “[S]it makes the shop much more exciting. It’s the experience that will bring you out, ”he said. – Joseph L. Garcia