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Fresh Vegetable Markets Bank on Online Shopping to Stay Afloat

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Two fresh vegetable market operators are ramping up their online shopping channels in an effort to stay afloat after traffic has plummeted at their fresh markets because of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Yingcharoen fresh vegetable market reintroduced online shopping for customers two weeks ago. The company paused online services eight months ago because of fierce competition. They also shifting focus to business customers.

“With malls and restaurants closed since March 22, purchase orders from business customers declined by 28%. We resumed our online shopping for customers two weeks ago,” said Ariya Tumwattana, chief operations officer at Suwapee Holding Co, the operator of Yingcharoen.

Demand is relatively high, with 40-50 orders on weekdays and up to 100 orders on the weekend. Orders per bill total about 1,000 baht, up from 800 baht in the past.

Shopping for your Vegetables Online

“We don’t know when the coronavirus pandemic is going to end, but we believe after it does, customers will become more cautious about their spending. However, we will still move to adopt the online channel to keep abreast of changes in customers’ lifestyle,” he said. The company has recruited more staff to support its online shopping expansion.

To make online shopping easier for management, the company reduced the number of products available to 200 items from 800. It also supplied from 128 registered merchants. Customers can shop online via its website www.songsod.com and Line “@songsod” every day between 7am and 5pm. Delivery service is available across Bangkok, with a delivery fee of seven baht per kilometer.

“Online shopping will help both us and merchants survive together during this most difficult time,” Mr Ariya said.

The company also reduced its rental fee from March 22 to April 20 for all 911 merchants at Yingcharoen market by 50%.

Suwapee Holding expects total online sales to reach 60 million baht this year, up from 28 million last year. This will be instrumental in boosting total sales this year by 8% from last year’s 595 million baht.

Of the total, 253 million baht came from rental, with 234 million from sales, 80.9 million from service and 27 million from other businesses.

Providing online shopping

Preeyawat Yoddee, general manager of Number One Land Co, the operator of Number One market in Bang Na, said the company just embarked on its online business last weekend. Allowing consumers to buy fresh products via its Line account; Facebook inbox; and phone numbers 02-740-9500, ext. 100 and 102.

It has 33 different fresh items including meat, vegetables and seasonings.

“We’ve considered the online business for years because of disruptive technology. The advent of the coronavirus pandemic has made business worse. Even more with the number of customers at our fresh vegetable market falling by 50% to 5,000 to 6,000 visitors,” Ms Preeyawat told the Bangkok Post.

“We decided to offer an alternative to customers by providing online shopping to help the 200-300 merchants at our market, and to keep our staff working as usual. The online channel will also help customers to reach us easier in the long term.”

She said the company also revised its plan to spend 100 million baht to modernise Number One market. The renovation plan will be delayed for two years instead of 18 months.

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