Fashion

How Do Personal Shoppers Work in Different Malls?

Expanded personal shopper systems installed in the country’s network of malls are making shopping easy, safe, and maybe even fun again.  
IMAGE Warren Espejo
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Personal shoppers are not a new concept as they’ve been around for decades, but these dedicated shopping assistants have come into vogue recently because, well, we are having a bit of a problem buying things right now. Because you are deathly afraid of going out in public, sharing air with unknown people, some of whom do not know how to wear a mask correctly (over your nose, please), malls have offered to do the shopping for you, expanding the idea of personal shoppers into a full-blown system that only requires you to dial in and wait at home.  

What Do Personal Shoppers Do?

So what exactly do personal shoppers do? In the past, these lithe and beautiful creatures mostly existed in the realm of fashion, working for luxury brands or high-end department stores to help their very busy or clueless (or both) VVIPs. They had an instinct for fashion, an eye that can spot the unseen, and the genial manner required of people who offer close and personalized service.

We had a memorable run-in with one such lithe and beautiful personal shopper while working on a makeover story many years back. When offered the measurements of our hapless subject, LB (lithe and beautiful) scanned the young woman before her and then declared she did not need the numbers for she knows already. Some minutes later, she returned with plenty of options: dresses and tops and bottoms plus shoes, all expertly balanced on her thin arms.

And after a little finagling about what would suit the needs and wants of the subject best, she presented the result, which, minus the hair (it turned out to be rooster-ish—it was not LB’s fault), was of-the-moment stylish. We can’t remember what it exactly looked like, but we do recall happy smiles and maybe a tear or two. Personal shoppers—their expertise and top-notch service—are amazing.

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Of course, that kind of happiness belonged to the old model of shopping. The pandemic, which has made the leisure activity tricky, has forced malls to create more ways of getting products into your hands, whether via a robust online portal, a pickup service, or these revitalized personal shopping systems. Here’s how they work. 

My Shopper at Festival Mall

Also called Nic, the My Shopper service is available at Festival Mall, the flagship mall of Filinvest Lifemalls. The service, which offers contactless shopping from home, is available from Monday to Saturday (except holidays) from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

How My Shopper works:

1| Visit the Festival Mall Viber community group to access the My Shopper order form

2| Accomplish and submit the form (this is where you order your stuff). 

3| Wait for My Shopper to send your bill and share its bank details for payment. 

4| Pay and send proof of payment on Viber for confirmation. 

5| After confirmation, choose the courier of your choice and send the booking details via Viber for reference.  

How much it costs:

The service itself is free (you still have to pay for the goods, of course) but there is a delivery fee. Until November, My Shopper discount codes for Grab Express and Lalamove are available. 

There’s no minimum purchase required for the service, but the mall advises you to please mind the capacity of your courier. Also, PWD and senior citizen discounts are not applicable to the service as they require the physical presence of the beneficiaries. 

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Things to note:

You can shop from 40 participating stores in Festival Mall. For drugstores, specifically, only over-the-counter products or medicines are available. The only thing you can’t get via My Shopper are perishable items.

The mall also offers a Curbside Pick-Up Station, which is akin to a drive-through in a fast-food chain—but shopping. If you must have the goods in your hands now and are willing to drive to the mall (but not disembark), this is the option.

A few observations:

“The onset of the pandemic has accelerated the demand for online and contactless shopping,” says Denise Lagayan, assistant vice president for marketing at Filinvest Lifemalls. The group observes that, while older customers have found online booking and digital transactions a challenge, they are now adapting to the new mode of shopping. Which is really what Filinvest Lifemalls promotes: a safe, convenient, and fast experience. 

There are also customers who are very strict when it comes to the specifications of the items, while others are more flexible so long as the personal shopper shows pictures and gives recommendations. In other words, ask Nic to show you options so you get what you want.

filinvestlifemalls.com

Call to Deliver at The SM Store

The SM Store’s personal shopper service, dubbed Call to Deliver, was introduced in a few stores in Visayas and Mindanao last April to give customers access to essential items. Soon after, the service was made available in all SM The Store locations in the country. Call to Deliver is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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How it works:

There are three ways to connect to a Call to Deliver personal shopper:

1| Call The SM Store’s hotline at #143SM (#14376). 

2Join its Viber community. 

3| Message its official Facebook Messenger group.

After partnering with your personal shopper, place your order, follow the payment instructions, and have your items delivered. Easy.

How much it costs:

Also free. The only costs are delivery fees, which start at P100. Making it even more convenient, multiple payment options are available, including cash on delivery, debit or credit cards, bank transfers, and digital wallets. Call to Deliver also accepts SM Gift Cards and SM Sodexo Gift Passes.    

Things to note:

The SM Store promises fast delivery, with items arriving at your doorstep “as early as the next day.” You may also pick up the goods at your convenience via curbside pick-up points at the malls. Also, the service is dedicated to The SM Store (not the entire mall).

A few observations:

According to Arlene Icban, Call to Deliver's senior manager for marketing, customers and personal shoppers have formed relationships, with clients, who mostly shop for essential goods or work, school, or hobby items, now relying on their personal shoppers to inform them of sales or special offers.

“It’s nice to be able to talk to someone for orders,” says actress Alex Gonzaga, the face of Call to Deliver, who adds how it feels good that someone can answer her questions and make recommendations when she is shopping.

smsupermalls.com

A.N.A. at Ayala Malls

A.N.A.—that’s Ayala Malls Neighborhood Assistant—was established not just to help you shop without worry, but also to provide jobs to displaced workers in the pandemic. The personal shopper service is available in 25 Ayala Malls, with more locations to be added soon.  

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How A.N.A. works:

1| Visit the Facebook page or Viber group of your preferred Ayala Malls location. 

2Order your goods by accomplishing the personal shopper form.

3| Wait for A.N.A. to process your orders and contact you. 

4| Pay for your orders. 

5| Have your goodies delivered or pick them up at the mall’s DriveBuy stations. 

How much it costs:

Unlike other services, A.N.A has a service fee, which may differ for each location. For retail and food items, the fees are P50 for one store, P100 for two to three stores, and P200 for four or more stores, while for supermarket and department store goods, the rate is P200. It’s best to confirm the service fees of your mall’s personal shopper service.

A few observations:

“If they can't go to the mall, we will bring the mall to them,” says Jennylle Tupaz, president of Ayala Malls. “Our well-trained personal shoppers are there to ensure they get an easy, convenient, and worry-free shopping experience.”

ayalamalls.com

Robbie and Rosie at Robinsons Malls

Robinsons Malls recently upgraded its personal shopper service with the launch of Robbie and Rosie. The new concept was introduced in Robinsons Magnolia in October and Robinsons Manila in November. It lands in Robinsons Galleria on December 1.  

How Robbie and Rosie works: 

1| Message Robbie and Rosie via SMS or Viber at 0921 499 2958 and send them your shopping list.

2| Pay the store directly using cashless options like GCash, PayMaya, or online banks. Related to this, only stores that accept cashless transactions are included in the service.

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3| Have your goods delivered or pick them up at dedicated stations in the mall. The pair can help arrange for the courier service of your choice.

How much it costs:

Enjoy free service now as the shopping fee is waived until January 10, 2021. 

Things to note:

Apart from sending photos of your goods, Robbie and Rosie can conduct video calls while shopping. If you’re missing the mall and the thrill of the hunt, this is a chance to live out your fantasy.

A few observations:

As pandemic restrictions are slowly eased, Robinsons Malls reports higher foot traffic in its locations. Nevertheless, the group offers its personal shopper service for people who prefer to enjoy the mall’s shopping and dining options safely at home. 

robinsonsmalls.com

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Clifford Olanday
Editor in Chief, Esquire Philippines
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