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The New High-Tech Chapter in Bookselling

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National Book Store enters the digital age with connectivity solutions from PLDT Enterprise

For almost eight decades, National Book Store (NBS) has shaped the nature of Filipino book sales. It traces its history to the Ramos family’s humble shop in Manila during the Second World War. The post-war boom saw them producing greeting cards, and later forging partnerships with international publishers. This marked the emergence of many future product lines and innovations.

Through rare business vision and hard work, the Ramos family expanded and transformed NBS into the network of vibrant stores everyone loves. With branches throughout Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, it has truly become the country’s national bookstore. Today, NBS serves the needs of the Filipino reading public by building on decades of experience coupled with a refreshed perspective based on the newest technological tools.

Enriching Reading Communities

Much of National Book Store’s success is a direct result of how each branch caters to the tastes and preferences of surrounding communities. The bookstore tailors products for each location, and creatively engages customers at every branch. “We stretch the limits of what a bookstore should be,” NBS Managing Director Xandra Ramos-Padilla said, referring to the various creative demos in their art hubs and the “experience bars” where shoppers can try products before purchase. Lately, NBS has even taken the book shopping experience right to shoppers’ devices.

The bookselling giant is now accessible to more readers through the growing reach of technology. Their eCommerce portal allows customers to buy both print and eBooks without having to step into physical stores. Bookworms also enjoy online exclusives, such as titles signed by renowned authors, and pre-order options for avid fans who want their favorite books before they even hit the shelves.

Dial-a-Book

To make the book shopping experience even more accessible, National Book Store recently partnered with PLDT ALPHA for a hotline service with an easy-to-remember landline number: #8888-NBS.

Mrs. Ramos-Padilla affirms that the service is an effective addition to NBS’s growing number of initiatives to engage communities – even from a distance. “We want people to have the same customer experience when they reach out to us through web or phone as they do when they visit our stores,” she said. Queries on available stocks, special orders, product transfers, and even having books delivered to customers’ homes, are now made possible without the travails of traffic and other possible delays.

Shopping Goes Digital

Digital technologies are changing the face of retail, redefining the way they attract and engage with customers. Retail stores are now using predictive analytics, identifying which shoppers are likely or unlikely to purchase again within seven days. Data helps brands determine the correct approach in encouraging buyers to consider their products, as well as the most persuasive incentives to offer. And to track operations and further refine data, retailers are even attaching RFID tags to each item for wireless inventory updates.

These same companies are also using social media engagement to reach more customers, in effect humanizing these brands for customers to interact with. According to AdWeek, 91% of retail companies already have more than one social media account.

A Highly Connected Bookstore

National Book Store customers expect accessible shopping experiences and efficient services. To effectively run a bookstore outfitted for the modern age, NBS uses reliable communications technologies that ensure seamless operations. By enlisting PLDT ALPHA for its Virtual Private Network (VPN) solution, NBS easily connects some of its branches to headquarters.

“Real-time sales reports from point-of-sale (POS) machines are easily sent to the head office through this secure network setup. This ensures timely and efficient leadership decisions, allowing NBS to quickly respond to the swiftly evolving needs of loyal customers,” shared PLDT VP and Head of PLDT ALPHA Vic Tria.

Book Shopping in the Now Economy

With decades of experience under its belt, National Book Store continues its valuable tradition of encouraging active Filipino readers. This time, they are serving a modern market with modern expectations. “We want to speed up the time that we give customer feedback and processing,” Mrs. Ramos-Padilla asserted. “Customers are now more time-conscious. That’s why this service is helpful; they allow us to keep up with the ‘now’ economy.”

This is a vision echoed by FVP and Head of PLDT and Smart Enterprise Groups Jovy Hernandez, stating “We are proud to have equipped National Book Store with voice and network solutions that help boost their customers’ experiences. Seamless communication not only improves the efficiency of service delivery, but also gives more Filipinos access to the products they need, whenever they want it, and wherever they may be.”

Equipped with seamless communications, National Book Store quickens product delivery for today’s fast-paced retail market. Technology has enabled the country’s national bookstore to continue fulfilling its longstanding mission, effectively reaching more readers across the archipelago for generations to come.

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