Blurb from the author: It is safe to say that Malaysians are spoiled for choice when it comes to food delivery. We have so many apps to choose from, we probably downloaded several of them to check prices for the best deal in terms of total meal cost.
Packed, a grocery delivery and pick-up service, was developed to make it easier for street vendors to deliver groceries.
The idea for Packed was developed during a casual Saturday meetup about burgers. Cha En and Amirrul found that food vendors faced some problems when delivering food.
"We have found that most street vendors use WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger (which is cumbersome) to manage their orders and make the payment in cash. Sometimes customers may end up not appearing and retailers will have to bear the loss," said Cha En, who Co-founder of Packed.
"We believe that we have a responsibility to provide a working solution that can support the business of small and micro food suppliers."
Exclusivity is not welcome here
When you think of street food, think of street vendors selling homely dishes like kuey teow and chicken rice, or street stalls selling local favorites like cendol, apam balik or ramly burger.
However, when I scrolled through the mobile app, I had the impression that some of these restaurants do not fall under the category that you normally see as street food.
Packed's restaurants include small cafes, Boba tea shops, western-style steakhouses and burger bars.
"For us, we try not to limit or maintain the definition of street vendors," Cha En said.
“You could be a seller at home selling grilled chicken noodles from home, a street vendor or a small café start-up owner. The rough idea is that their operations are small and can benefit from packed. "
Some of the street vendors already using Packed / Image Credit: Packed
To be part of Packed's delivery service, restaurants must first go through a registration process that confirms important things like reviewing their business, whether they have had food training, and whether they have had a medical exam.
There are around 120 providers working with Packed, and the team plans to do more by spreading awareness through social media and individual interactions.
"But aren't there already established delivery services for food like Foodpanda and GrabFood?" you could ask. "What is special about Packed?"
Indeed, the food delivery industry in Malaysia is fairly saturated, and the aforementioned actors are also able to meet the demand for street food.
In addition, many new players are entering the market, and logistics and car sharing startups also want a piece of the cake.
However, Cha En believes that Packed's uniqueness stems from the benefits its providers enjoy.
“With Packed, providers can take over their grocery business. Edit the menu from your smartphone, temporarily open or close operations and activate the call reminder notification, ”he said.
- Vendors are given autonomy to decide what to do with their online shop / Image Credit: Packed
- What a provider's dashboard would look like if he adjusted his menu / picture credits: Packed
This means that providers are not dependent on the platform itself to update the required details and that updates can be shown immediately and without delay.
Unlike the 30% sales commission fee that larger platforms may charge, Packed charges a 5% sales commission fee plus a 3% online payment processing fee.
For new merchants who register during the RMCO, Packed offers a 0% sales commission (excluding the online payment processing fee).
Packed does not operate its own fleet of delivery drivers, but outsources deliveries to third-party logistics startups such as MrSpeedy and soon also to BungkusIt.
How the order looks in the app
Therefore, the shipping costs for customers can be slightly higher than for Foodpanda or GrabFood.
We anticipate that this could actually be a big problem for Packed when it comes to customer acquisition, especially for the target market of Malaysians who want cheap street food.
If I would use the app to order groceries that are under 10 RM and I am affected by a delivery fee that is equal to or greater than the cost of my meal, you can bet that I would not make the purchase.
Based on what we've seen so far, Packed offers an attractive offering, but not every customer may benefit from Packed's services.
If Packed cannot win customers, the providers will ultimately have none of it.
Better offers for providers and customers
Packed is currently focusing on converting its user base (mainly in the Klang Valley) into beta testers who can give feedback on how they plan to use Packed.
Hopefully this will give the team more insight into how the customer experience can be improved.
Despite the challenges that Packed faced due to the saturated market, Cha En also made firm plans to move forward.
"Packed is also keen to help local F&B retailers increase food and store sales by introducing a discount list called Packed Promo%," said Cha En.
"Business dealers can offer their meals as a free discount with us, while nearby users can search for deals and get discounts on food."
Bottom line: Although Packed's motive is good, I think they have to put in a lot of effort and work to stand out from the other food supply companies. As a customer, it is good to be spoiled for choice, but it can also be overwhelming and I may just fall back on a service that I am already familiar with.
- More information on other Malaysian startups can be found here.
Selected image source: packed