Homegrown e-marketplace Blibli.com has opened the first retail store for its grocery brand BlibliMart as it aims to establish an offline presence to complement the rapidly growing BlibliMart online grocery store.
The brick-and-mortar store offers a cashless and cashier-less shopping experience as it caters to millennials’ fast-and-cheap shopping preferences. Using the Blibli.com app on their smartphone, customers can scan the product barcode and pay using the self-developed Blipay digital payment service or the GoPay payment app developed by technology decacorn Gojek.
“Sixty-six percent of shoppers are omnichannel shoppers, shoppers that use both online and offline platforms for their shopping needs. That’s why the retail store will hopefully bring us to these omnichannel [consumers],” Blibli.com senior vice president of trade partnership Fransisca Krisantia Nugraha told reporters on Tuesday during the grand opening of the store, which is located at the Sarana Jaya building in Central Jakarta.
The store adopts a similar shopping experience used by United States-based convenience store Amazon Go, which offers cashless and cashier-less services at its retail stores, allowing customers to purchase groceries and other goods without any cashier checkout or clerk interactions.
Francisca said that in its closed test run that started in November last year, the retail store had recorded more than 1,000 orders daily.
The BlibliMart retail store shopping experience, however, is not as seamless as the Amazon Go stores, as the former's customers still need to check out their purchases with a shopkeeper to prevent theft. “Because there is currently no applicable technology solution [to prevent theft] in Indonesia,” Fransisca said.
The shopkeepers also assist customers with their purchases as they still need to adjust to a cashier-less shopping system. “There are still a lot of questions from the customers, and there are a lot of connection problems too, so we provide free Wi-Fi for the customers,” Francisca said.
Aside from Blibli.com, other e-commerce companies in the country has also established retail stores, such as JD.ID-X mart from e-commerce JD.ID, which also uses a cashierless system much like BlibliMart Store and Amazon Go, but only allows credit card payments. Consumer electronics e-commerce Bhinneka.com has also established several retail stores to accommodate offline consumers.
Blibli.com uses its online consumer data to determine the product preferences of consumers near the store to ensure suitable product selection and stock availability, according to the company’s vice president of development Sherwin Sasmita.
“We can identify the market segment. We can identify what people in Jakarta buy from our online data, what people in the area [of the store] buy,” he said.
Francisca said Indonesia had a US$200 billion grocery market opportunity, with 1 percent, or a $2 billion market potential, forecast for e-commerce.
With the addition of retail stores, the company aims to triple the 313 percent order growth and double the 227 percent gross merchandise value that BlibliMart recorded last year, according to Fransisca. It also aims 600 percent product growth this year and 82 percent merchant increase annually.
To achieve the grocery service growth, the company will also strengthen its online service by providing scheduled delivery, product subscription, and in-store pickup services through a partnership with third-party retailers.
In July 2019, Blibli.com chief executive officer Kusumo Maranto said the BlibliMart grocery brand recorded the fastest growth out of the 16 product categories available in its online marketplace, beating consumer electronics, fashion and digital products. (mfp)