CEBU

Sto. Niño image vendors conduct business online

GOING THE EXTRA MILE. Hit by pandemic or not, business owner Raquel Puno vows to continue selling images of Sto. Niño. She says she always goes the extra mile to keep her customers by delivering their orders personally. / RAQUEL PUNO

IT’S not just restaurants and clothing stores moving their sales online. Vendors selling images of Sto. Niño have also turned to social media platforms to continue earning a living as their physical stores see a decline in sales due to limitations in mobility because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Raquel Puno, a single mother and a vendor of Sto. Niño images, told SunStar Cebu that online sales have been promising.

“I peddled souvenir items before but because of the pandemic and how it affected the influx of tourists, I shifted to online operations. I thank the Lord that I can still manage to sell items online like Sto. Niño images so I can feed my child,” she said.

Puno takes the bus to commute to personally deliver the items to her customers. Some are from Cebu City while others hail from the towns in the province.

She said that sometimes, she travels by sea to deliver her client’s orders.

“There’s a big change in the way we do business now and even in our sales. Some businesses remain open; some closed permanently,” she said.

Despite this big shift under the new normal, Puno said she’s grateful she still makes a living, no matter how difficult doing business these days is.

Virtual marketplace

Merian Dahuya, who’s been selling Sto. Niño images for 20 years, also embraced technology and moved selling online. She joined Facebook Marketplace to reach out to home-based shoppers.

Sales are still low, but she said vendors like her have no choice but to stay online.

“Since people barely come to our physical stores, we decided to enter online markets to reach our customers,” she said.

Dahuya has clients in Bohol and other towns as well.

“Third party delivery apps help us too. Sales are not as high as before, but we’re still thankful,” she said.

Dahuya sells Sto. Niño images for as low as P85 up to P24,000 depending on the size of the image.


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