By now, most of us have bought something online at least once. Some of us might have even made online shopping or food ordering part of our routines—accessing different e-commerce platforms a few times a day since the pandemic has shown us the ease of shopping using our mobile phones.
In fact, according to a report by Facebook and Bain & Company, some 70 million consumers across Southeast Asia purchased goods and services online in 2020 for the first time.
To meet consumer needs—and to survive—many businesses went online for the first time, compelled to do so as the pandemic shut down their stores and physical movement.
However, transitioning from brick-and-mortar operations to online sales channels would have been a much more painful process without Foodpanda.
Opening the door to new opportunities
As the largest food and grocery delivery network in Asia, Foodpanda is now an essential service partner and digital enabler for vendors and riders.
Throughout the pandemic and during lockdowns, Foodpanda helped digitize nearly 30,000 shops, half of which were SMEs that also included wet markets, neighborhood bakeries, and local mom-and-pop stores. “Given the sudden switch, it has been a trying period for merchants, and of course customers as well, as the ecosystem had to deal with the surge in demand,” said Foodpanda Asia’s CEO, Jakob Angele.
“We had to help SMEs continue to put bread on others’ tables, as well as on their own, and digitalization was the biggest part of it. In fact, we call it ‘digital inclusion’—to make it possible for any merchant anywhere to participate in the new economy,” Angele said.
With a rapidly growing selection of products available at their fingertips, consumers have gotten used to fast and affordable gratification. Digital inclusion is changing how SMEs and private individuals like home-based businesses and chefs earn income. Foodpanda has spurred digitalization and, by extension, helping communities to stabilize their income, adapt to changes, and even scale up their businesses.
Enabling SMEs in Asia to digitize, survive, and thrive despite uncertainty
The number of eateries that joined Foodpanda’s platform rose by more than 1,700% year-over-year in 2020. Similarly, the number of SMEs across Asia that utilize Foodpanda grew by more than 430% between June 2020 and June 2021, making up almost half of the retailers listed on Foodpanda Shops.
Muhammad Asad Ullah, the owner of Abdullah Store in Pakistan, is an example. He felt the need to join Foodpanda to expand his business and build an online presence. Moving online made it possible for Ullah to reach new clients who do not normally shop in his grocery store, at times bumping up his sales volume to previously unattained levels.
The same phenomenon is taking place in other corners across Asia, including highly connected urban centers like Hong Kong. When spending slowed down, neighborhood stores lost sales. “This pushed us to redirect our attention to the e-commerce platform,” said Mr. Chau, who operates Tin Look Bakery. The bakery joined Foodpanda in November 2020 and cites its user-friendly interface and supportive team as reasons for his bakery’s successful transition to growing online orders.
In some countries, Foodpanda expanded its footprint by collaborating with local governments. For instance, Foodpanda Thailand partnered with the Department of Internal Trade and Ministry of Commerce to allocate THB 115 million, or USD 3.75million, to 30,000 SMEs and street food vendors that had trouble staying afloat. The new SMEs and market vendors who signed up for the #support SME40 campaign didn’t have to pay commission for their first month on Foodpanda.
Foodpanda CEO Angele said, “as the demand for food and grocery delivery grows, Foodpanda is helping local communities grow amid the pandemic. Through these local partnerships, we look at many ways to help restaurants earn additional revenue online while giving riders an opportunity to earn a living. For our customers, we are increasing their accessibility to food, groceries, and essentials and delivering it safely.”
Foodpanda’s easy-to-use platform makes it possible for any merchant to utilize its services. “Small shops like ours don’t need to be good at technology. There are staff to help and teach you how to use it from the start. Like the shop itself, both elderly people and employees who are not educated can still use it,” said Khun Tak Taen, the second-generation heir of Aunt Pak Sod, a fresh vegetable stall in Ton Payom Market in Chiang Mai.
“The discount codes that they give away can actually increase sales—they make customers buy things more often,” the vendor said. foodpanda has invested THB 200 million (USD 6 million) in 2021 to help grow Thai SMEs and fresh market businesses as merchants adapt to new economic conditions. Foodpanda also helped mom-and-pop food vendors, like Jun Ming and his father, the owners of Jin Wang Dim Sum. “My father has been receptive to this new mode of delivery via platforms like Foodpanda. I believe that if we don’t evolve, we would eventually be left behind or lose out on valuable opportunities.”
On-demand deliveries—a new way of life
Delivery platforms like Foodpanda offer convenience and a sense of normality for both consumers and SMEs. Consumers can enjoy restaurant-standard meals, groceries, beauty and wellness products, electronics, flowers, and many more items delivered swiftly to their homes. And SMEs are changing their mode of operations to keep up with the times.
Now more than ever, speed is an important consideration under the new normal. Foodpanda is ahead of that curve as well. Same-week or same-day deliveries have been outpaced by on-demand deliveries, which reach their destinations in around25 minutes. The surge in demand for quick-commerce (q-commerce) is becoming increasingly evident. It is the next generation of e-commerce, providing ultra-fast deliveries in small quantities, whenever and wherever needed.
This article was published in partnership with Foodpanda.