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How online deliveries and SME initiatives help Grab recover from the pandemic

Written by Khamila Mulia Published on 

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Grab has been rolled out new services for consumers and small businesses that position it for a strong rebound from the COVID-19 crisis.

With the end of the year approaching, the Singapore-headquartered super app Grab is showing signs of recovery. Revenue in the third quarter of 2020 has risen to more than 95% of pre-COVID-19 levels, as reported by Reuters. In an emailed newsletter, Grab’s president Ming Maa said that the company’s food business now generates more than 50% of its revenues.

A Grab Indonesia spokesperson told KrASIA that the transportation segment was hurt the most at the beginning of the pandemic. In June, the company laid off 360 employees or about 5% of its total employees as a result. The firm said the business is now gradually recovering. In Vietnam, the transportation business in July is back to 75% of the volume before the pandemic.

The company has been implementing various strategies to regain customers, including new standards for hygiene and safety, and additional capacities for delivery services that include food, groceries, and logistics, which experienced increased demand during COVID-19. “Strong demand means we can meet crucial user needs while growing new revenue streams,” said the spokesperson.

Grab has expanded delivery offerings and launched two new services earlier this year—GrabMart and GrabAssistant. GrabMart is the fastest-growing on-demand grocery and essentials delivery service, now available in over 70 cities in eight Southeast Asian countries: Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, Myanmar, and Cambodia.

“We scaled GrabMart from two to eight countries within three months to give Southeast Asians a safe and convenient way to access daily essentials during the pandemic,” said the spokesperson, who added that it takes a “partnership approach” with retailers, focusing on the most frequently purchased items in key categories. “In the next few months, we’ll be expanding fresh produce staple categories by bringing more supermarkets and retailers onto our platform.”

Meanwhile, GrabAssistant, the on-demand shopper and concierge service, enables users to tap into Grab’s large driver and delivery-network. It is currently available in Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, and Vietnam. First introduced in June, the service has grown by 80% in Indonesia and currently covers 105 cities.

SMEs are key

Micro, small, and mediums businesses (MSMEs) are critical for the economy, but they are vulnerable in a crisis, and more so since COVID-19 has hit several sectors such as retail, travel, and food and beverage (F&B) with a large share of SMEs.

Aware of this, Grab has added new initiatives to help digitize small enterprises which include the launch of B2B marketplace GrabMerchants, which helps business owners to optimize their operations with support for wholesale grocery procurement and marketing features. The company also started various campaigns in different markets to boost the visibility of its merchant partners.

The company offers multiple workshops, training and classes including “Grab Akselerator UMKM” where it provides 3 months in-depth training for 50 merchants all around Indonesia, as well as #TerusUsaha online classes that are conducted through Grab’s YouTube and Instagram page every week. Since introduced in June, over 10,000 MSMEs have participated in #TerusUsaha classes. Moreover, the firm has partnered with over 30 regional and city governments in Indonesia to co-create hyperlocal digitalization programs for small businesses.

Grab further added new GrabKitchen outlets in Indonesia and Singapore. Today, it operates the largest network of 57 cloud kitchens in Southeast Asia, with the majority located in Indonesia.

“Over 100 Indonesia-based brands are operating out of more than one GrabKitchen today,” said the spokesperson. “F&B players are turning to cloud kitchens to build amore resilient business post-COVID.” As a result, the firm saw a 25% growth in new GrabFood merchant sign-ups from January to July, which accelerated after April when movement restrictions started to ease.

Grab said it will continue to enhance its services after the pandemic, especially hyperlocal delivery to help users fulfil mundane tasks such as buying groceries. “The pandemic has pushed consumers and businesses to think out of the box and try new ways of doing things which will create new habits and behaviors,” said the spokesperson.

Grab’s competitor Gojek also has various programs to support local SMEs. In August, the unicorn launched a new website called melajubersamagojek.com, where SMEs can receive complete guidance on how to start an online business on the platform. Popular SME solutions in the Gojek ecosystem are business management app GoBiz, customer service app Selly, as well as the point-of-sale platform Moka. More recently, Gojek launched GoToko to help neighborhood shops, or warungs, manage their goods and product inventory. The service is similar to GrabKios by Kudo (formerly known as Kudo) that helps warungs digitalize. Kudo platform was founded in 2014. It was acquired by Grab in 2017 and officially rebranded into GrabKios by Kudo last year.

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