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Byline: Camille Erika R. Sarte
With the emerging popularity of social media marketing and at least 29,700,000 Internet users (as of June 2009) in the Philippines, it's a no- brainer for even food retailers to turn to virtual shops rather than actual stores.
Aside from large restaurant chains like McDonald's, Jollibee and Chowking who offer online deliveries, small entrepreneurs are also opting to use the internet as a venue for their business without actually having a physical storefront.
"Having an online shop is a good option for a start-up venture where the risks are much less than having a physical store where basically the overhead is much higher. Even before opening a physical pastry shop, a virtual shop is also beneficial in trying out several product lines and seeing if it will work out before launching it to the mainstream market," Jet Torres, owner of Jettee's Kitchen, told BusinessWorld in an e-mail interview.
Jettee's Kitchen (www.pastriesbyjetskitchen.com) was conceptualized for roughly a month, stemming from a prior endeavour with her husband - Gone Bananas! Pastries & Cakes. "Ideally, planning a business, online or otherwise, normally takes one year. For [us], by concentrating on only one product line and three flavors of cookies when it started made it feasible to launch the business at a much shorter period of time."
Like Ms. Torres, Patti Grandidge, the woman behind Sweet Patti Cakes (www.sweetpatticakes.com), was initially "testing the waters" when she put up her virtual shop. "I didn't want to put up a store initially because I wanted to test out Sweet Patti Cakes and see how the local market would respond to the …