When shelter-in-place orders came down on Zapopan, Mexico, in March, Rubén Castro Plascencia was determined to adapt his business to meet the changing needs of his community. As an essential business, Plascencia’s store Mini Super Rubén is allowed to stay open to provide locals with groceries and cleaning supplies. Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Mini Super Rubén has endured a marked decrease in foot traffic, so Plascencia turned to digital options to keep his business thriving.
While the demand for his products remained high, customers were afraid to venture to his store. Plascencia found a solution with a combination of online selling and home delivery. He joined Wish Local in January of 2020, and during pre-pandemic times enjoyed an estimated 10% increase in foot traffic and a 50% conversion rate in sales from Wish customers. When shelter-in-place orders began, Plascencia was in a good position to use Sell on Wish, a program that allows small retail stores to upload their products directly onto the Wish app. He says, “Yes, I use Sell on Wish.” He continues, “It is a very good time to start uploading cleaning and personal care products to reach all those people in your community who need them… My experience is good. It is very nice to see that I can sell my products on this platform while doing other things. Even while I sleep.”
Rubén is sensitive that many of his customers are fearful of leaving their homes to pick up supplies. He bravely volunteers himself to do home deliveries of products to protect vulnerable residents he serves. “It is very gratifying when you receive the thanks and smiles of those people who are in confinement for being high-risk, for illness, or for age. Nothing compares to the satisfaction of serving my community.“
Rubén has owned and operated his supermarket for 12 years in the central Mexican city. When he learned his store could stay open he rose to the challenge despite being concerned about his own health and safety. “I’m happy to be able to serve and help my neighbors in this pandemic. I feel committed to my community and to society in general,” Plascencia told us.
It’s possible small retail businesses may never operate exactly the same again after this pandemic. Business adaptations and innovations made now will be advantageous for years to come. He offers this advice to his fellow store owners to help stay afloat during these turbulent times, “The future of my business and that of many others will change forever after this situation. Online sales have catapulted, it’s time to grow.”