Women in marketing, media, and technology enterprises are increasingly embracing the reins of their respective organizations. This connotes how women are excellent, not only in management but as well as handling business transformation. 

In this podcast episode, we are featuring two industry leaders who are ‘Empowered Women’ in their own way, handling top management and executive level of leadership at Society Pass.

This episode will discuss topics focusing on the career journey and leadership of Arbie Pagdanganan, Philippines country manager & vice president of product development and Pamela Aw-Young, chief operating officer at Society Pass as well as their insights on the recent announcement of SoPa to transform the Philippine market with the strategic purchase of an online grocery platform as part of their Southeast Asian expansion. 

Society Pass Incorporated is a Southeast Asian e-commerce loyalty platform that will transform how consumers and businesses in the region engage with one another. With their society points, they are generating long-term client loyalty by adding value to every transaction.

Expansion to the Philippine market

Filipinos have embraced e-commerce like a fish to water, and the market has flourished tremendously over the past years. By 2025, the Philippines’ e-commerce business is predicted to generate $7.67 billion in revenue. Following the SoPa’s $28 million IPO on the stock market, the company has decided to expand to the Philippines.

The announcement comes at a time when the Philippines’ internet economy is predicted to rise by 24% from US$17 billion in 2021 to US$40 billion in 2025, accelerating the rapid growth of delivery services in the country. To date, Pushkart.ph has amassed more than 125,000 registered members, 35,000 social media followers, and more than 20,000 mobile app downloads in the Philippines. For the company to commence operations in the Philippines, acquiring e-commerce based businesses is a necessary first step.

SoPa’s VIP (Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines) regional expansion strategy includes the Philippines as a significant component. By using SoPa’s capital, Pushkart.ph plans on expanding its food delivery services to more people and businesses in the Philippines, starting with Metro Manila.

To further serve its clients SoPa can now provide consumers with even greater value by letting them purchase whenever and wherever they choose, without having to deal with any hassle, through Pushkart.ph. A major objective of the organization is to make it easier for local businesses in the Philippines, both established and start-ups, to expand their reach into the internet marketplace.

Commenting on this strategic step Pamela said, “Philippines is an exciting space for us with a population of 112 million economic growth forecasts 6% new young median age of 26 that represents the future for us. It has a high Internet penetration rate of 67%. What we would like to do is give opportunities to entrepreneurs to grow their businesses, integrate platforms for users, and create efficiencies in this ecosystem.”

SoPa’s aggressive new plans for Pushkart.ph, which include expanding its network of hubs in key cities and regions and boosting its workforce, make this acquisition of this company extremely important to the end customer. By 2022, SoPa hopes to increase the number of registered users to over 300,000 and the number of app downloads to over 150,000 by expanding Pushkart.ph’s technological capabilities. Using Pushkart.ph, Metro Manila residents will be able to get their purchases delivered the following day in 19 cities.

Creating an interconnected loyalty program

Building a reward system that stands out in the world of customer loyalty programs is a huge undertaking for any organization, and it can be a game-changing opportunity if done with care and accuracy.

At its core, SoPa’s primary goal is to keep clients abreast of the most recent goods and services. It is possible to increase customer retention and revenue by building emotional connections with customers and developing long-term relationships with them.

On the subject of SoPa’s priorities and programs, Arbie discussed during the ‘Empowered Women’ interview, “[Because of the sheer number of orders], delivery, and loyalty programs available for virtually every type of business or service, customers are becoming increasingly disenchanted with online shopping. In addition, it is time-consuming and cumbersome to utilize multiple applications or reward programs for different purposes and at different points in the purchasing process. So our business on the consumer-facing side, we aim to integrate everything that you need into just one ecosystem. This is where consumers can easily search books or order anything they want or need, through our values interconnected that works.”

We also asked Arbie on what are the most important verticals that SoPa needs to revisit in terms of customer loyalty and programs, she discussed, that she would revisit food and beverage and as well as lifestyle verticals.

Arbie highlighted, “So in theory, rewarding the customer’s loyalty is a great way to boost customer interaction and engagement for a business. So we do think that this is one way for them to be a frequent customer, right. But actually, from the customer’s perspective, sometimes it’s challenging to redeem the points awarded to them. Take restaurants, for example, the only time a customer can redeem points is when they return to the restaurant that awarded the points to them. And normally, a person does not eat at the same restaurant every day unless they have limited options.”

“Furthermore, most loyalty points have an expiration date as well and this withholds consumers to maximize or enjoy their points. So I believe that for a loyalty program to be effective, it has to be interconnected and accessible. Like the number of points I earn at store A, I can also spend it at store B,” Arbie adds.

Pamela also shared her tips for brands when it comes to creating loyalty programs, “Think beyond value creation. Consumers always look for choices and variety as Arbie said earlier. But connecting with other like-minded businesses, you can grow your business faster and drive efficiencies. This is what our ecosystem is all about.”

SoPa as a female-dominated company

Alongside SoPa’s expansion is its commitment to promote equality and diversity for women in the organization. With the two highest positions occupied by a female, it tells how SoPa is a company that values gender equality.

We also made sure not to miss Arbie’s take on how SoPa came to encourage gender equality and diversity in the workplace.

Arbie underscored, “To be transparent, we are a very diverse and inclusive organization. And we believe that it creates a huge impact on our productivity and success. So take, for example, in a male-dominated industry, like tech and operations, we don’t exclusively really look for men, nor do we seek women actively. But of course, it’s a breath of fresh air if a woman applies, like, for example, for a tech position, because that doesn’t usually happen. But really, all we care about is if the candidate shares our vision, passion and mindset.”

Meanwhile, Pamela discussed the importance and influence of women in marketing decisions, she shared, “Well, there are two forces driving the retail landscape, women and technology. Women drive 80% of all consumer purchasing decisions and are great influencers. Even before the time of social media. Women are great at spreading information through word of mouth, e-commerce combines retail and technology which makes it interesting. Who understands women best? It takes one to know one.”

During the conversation with Arbie and Pamela, we asked them about their advice to those who want to become part of SOPA, Arbie said, “In terms of what advice I can give for them to have an edge to be selected. Actually, we equally value technical skills with both soft skills and attitude. So having an entrepreneurial spirit with a clearer sense of ownership, and if they have our results and data-driven and being able to adapt it to a fast-paced environment, will give them the upper hand. And also we would love to work with people with the ‘right now’ mindset [or simply being diligent and persistent].”

Arbie emphasised, “Our culture at SOPA is something we are incredibly proud of, we get to spend our time collaborating with warm, talented and motivated colleagues. So what we are currently looking for is expanding our marketing. So that includes digital marketing, search engine optimization, and content managers, for example. And we would also want to expand our business development and customer support teams.”

Listen to the full conversation of Arbie and Pamela over at Spotify, where they deep-dive about loyalty marketing as well as the recent announcement of Society Pass entering the Philippine market – and the qualities that they are looking for in those who want to become part of SoPa. You can also view the video highlights of the conversation on our YouTube channel.

If you are a marketing or tech leader who wants to share your industry journey and insights, email us at [email protected]