Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

New online marketplace of UnionBank’s fintech firm kicks off with bringing bridal fairs virtually

Manila, Philippines – With the goal of continuing to further tech-up Filipino businesses, UBX, the fintech unit by UnionBank that provides opportunities and access for all by building digital financial solutions for individuals and SMEs, has just recently launched ‘Sentro Build’, to enable the growing community of merchants that gather in well-known marketplaces. 

‘Sentro Build’ is the latest version of UBX’s ‘Sentro’. ‘Sentro’ is an online shop builder for entrepreneurs and MSMEs, while the new ‘Sentro Build’ provides marketplace owners, organizers, and their communities an easily customizable online marketplace.

Merchants can join the ‘Sentro Build’ via an invite to the marketplace from the marketplace owner or by applying to become a seller to the marketplace, while customers can simply visit the marketplace website to look through the merchandise.

Through ‘Sentro Build’, marketplace owners have full control over the appearance and branding of their marketplace through the platform’s easy-to-use administration features. It has a built-in payment gateway powered by Bux providing multiple payment options via over 50,000 over-the-counter channels, online banking, and e-wallets, as well as debit, and credit card payments. In addition, it has pre-integrated delivery services powered by MrSpeedy.

“There are many industries affected by the pandemic. Those severely impacted include the events, expo, and bazaar segments. Traditionally, this industry required physical gatherings which might not be happening any time soon. We have the technology that can now empower companies to create their own online marketplaces,” said Bjorn Pardo, UBX’s head for SME Ventures and Sentro’s lead for Venture.

According to UBX, the events industry was one of the hardest hit during the pandemic, and traditionally requiring mass physical attendance, events, and expos have been severely restricted.

With this, ‘Sentro Build’ has kicked off with Themes & Motifs last 24 July 2021. Behind the launch are the organizers of The Wedding Inspirations Co. and the original Philippine Wedding Expo. The virtual Bridal Fair national roadshow and its online mall dedicated to the wedding industry is called ‘The Bridal Marketplace’.

When asked by MARKETECH APAC how ‘Sentro Build’ helped Themes & Motifs transition virtually, Pardo said, “Themes & Motifs events are primarily done physically in malls and convention centers. Now with their marketplace up and running, they can virtually conduct their own bridal fair from anywhere in the Philippines. Also because of the marketplace we’ve built, customers can easily view and check out their purchases within the marketplace.”

Meanwhile, Sharon Fabian, the managing director of Themes & Motifs, shared that ‘Sentro Build’ allowed them to quickly establish, a comprehensive online mall for soon-to-weds that capitalizes on Themes & Motifs long-standing partnership with big and reputable names in the local wedding industry.

“It provided us with full integration to pandemic-friendly payment methods and a seamless connection to a product delivery system. Also, its easy-to-use e-commerce platform is perfect for our online bridal fair roadshow which showcases different wedding suppliers in different regions of the Philippines,” said Fabian.

Aside from ‘Sentro’ and ‘Sentro Build’, UnionBank’s UBX has also launched other digital platforms, namely, digital transformation package ‘i2i’, end-to-end payment platform ‘Bux’, online lending marketplace ‘SeekCap’, and technologies for visionaries ‘Q Lab’.