By Jonah May Nueca, UPLB Intern
The pandemic which started in 2020 has affected the economy around the world. Trillions were spent to counter the effect of the pandemic in the health and economy. Millions lost their lives, and those that survived have lost employment. Millions of small businesses have ceased operations. And GlowCorp was not spared.
GlowCorp as a company has been in operation since 2010. For 12 years, it was able to support organic farmers and social entrepreneurs in their marketing needs. When COVID-19 started in 2020, its operation was disrupted because most of its supplies came from the Visayas and Mindanao. When the national lockdown was implemented, suppliers were unable to deliver their products to GlowCorp. There was an increase in sales and marketing expenses such as the shipping and handling costs which include both freight in and freight out expenses. Store visit expenses also increased but most of the time, sales personnel were unable to physically monitor the products in supermarkets because of the restrictions and the unavailable public transportation. There were also additional staff expenses in terms of hospitalization bills due to COVID-19, swab tests, medication subsidies, and food allowances. Furthermore, product returns significantly grew. Merchandise inventories were slowly moving for Ginger 45 Salabat and Triple L Banana Chips. This reflects a market slowdown for these products as consumers are prioritizing basic commodities given the situation brought by the pandemic. Despite these, it was able to increase its revenue by 6%.
In 2021, GlowCorp again beat the odds as its revenue grew from Php88.7M in 2020 to Php94.5 M in 2021, or equivalent to a 6.5% growth rate. Gross profit is recorded at a slight increase of 1.7%. The easing of travel restrictions in the provinces, especially the Bicol and Ilocos regions enabled GlowCorp to deliver its products to the provincial outlets. In the first quarter of 2021, GlowCorp was also able to enter more than 200 outlets of Robinsons Supermarkets. Four variants of Healthy You Rice–black in 2kgs, brown in 2kgs and 5kgs, and red in 2kgs are now available in Robinsons Supermarkets.
According to Ruby Bongot, GlowCorp’s Sales Manager, there are still restrictions on mobility and in negotiating with the buyers. Most of the employees of GlowCorp’s clients are still working from home. It is difficult to discuss issues and concerns with these buyers. There are still windows for organic growth if the business is back to normal. The marketing of GlowCorp products are not yet maximized, despite having active in more than 950 outlets nationwide. With the further easing of the economy in 2022 and the offering of 4 additional products in at least 300 outlets of Robinsons, GlowCorp expects its revenue to significantly increase.
The continuing presence of GlowCorp in more than 950 outlets nationwide and in digital markets has provided the 6,500 farming households access to better markets. More than Php400M worth of organic and processed products have been purchased from these farmers since 2010. The COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 brought in a very challenging year for GlowCorp. Nevertheless, it resulted in the adoption of social media marketing while expanding its market online, upholding its corporate value to diversify and innovate. More importantly, GlowCorp is able to continuously improve its resilience by expanding and strengthening relationships with local partners.