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Jakarta Post

Shop from Home program revives traditional markets affected by COVID-19

  • Dzulfiqar Fathur Rahman

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, April 2, 2020   /   12:49 pm
Shop from Home program revives traditional markets affected by COVID-19 A vendor works at her stall at Gondangdia Market in Central Jakarta on Tuesday. (JP/Seto Wardhana)

As economic activities continue to get battered by the effects of COVID-19, 38-year-old vegetable trader Endah “Betty” Widiarti has found a way to survive despite having lost customers at her shop in Rumput Market in Setiabudi, South Jakarta.

Although her shop is not pulling in the revenue it usually does on normal days, Betty has managed to maintain enough sales thanks to city-owned market operator PD Pasar Jaya’s recently launched Shop from Home program.

The market operator provides a list of traders’ telephone numbers on its website and Instagram account, which allows customers to make purchases via telephone call or text.

The program, which involves traders from at least 50 traditional markets across the capital, gives Betty’s customers the option to buy vegetables via WhatsApp.

“My customer sends their grocery list. We will look into it. If we do not have the goods, we search for them at other shops,” Betty, whose shop was established by her mom in 1975, told The Jakarta Post in a telephone interview on Wednesday.

“When everything’s ready, we make a confirmation. The customer then makes their payment via bank transfer and we will have the goods delivered to them.”

Betty prefers using ride-hailing services Gojek and Grab as oppose to conventional forms of transportation to deliver orders because of the lower fares.

Read also: Jokowi relaxes loan settlements to help small businesses cope with COVID-19 effects

Sales for most micro, small and medium businesses have been hit hard ever since the coronavirus broke out in Indonesia, as residents have opted to stay at home, as instructed by the central government and the Jakarta administration.

A state of emergency was declared by the Jakarta administration through to April 19, with calls being made for residents to stay at home. Schools and offices have been temporarily closed and events and religious activities have been postponed or canceled.

Jakarta, the national epicenter of the outbreak, has recorded at least 808 confirmed COVID-19 cases, nearly half of the country’s confirmed cases in total, and 85 fatalities.

In normal times, Pasar Jaya, which manages 105,223 stalls at 153 markets across the capital, records around 2 million visitors per day at all of its markets, according to the firm’s website.

The market operator’s president director, Arief Nasrudin, said during a press briefing at City Hall on Tuesday that he hoped the Shop from Home program could fulfill “Jakarta residents’ needs and keep the small traders’ economic situations in good shape."

Read also: Neighborhood authorities help curb COVID-19 spread

Hesti Setyarini, a 30-year-old private employee currently working from home, recently used Shop from Home to buy vegetables and spices at a shop owned by a trader named Sapri at Rawamangun Market in Pulo Gadung district, East Jakarta.

Unlike Betty’s service, Sapri rides his motorbike himself to deliver orders straight to his customers, including Hesti. He delivers goods a day after payments are made so that orders can build up, allowing him to maximize delivery efficiency.

“I was satisfied with the service, but perhaps because at first I had low expectations,” Hesti told the Post in a telephone interview on Wednesday. “The seller was responsive and the vegetables were fresh. The prices were not so different than those of the vegetable seller near my house. This is a helpful alternative.”

Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan said the program was aimed at encouraging residents to stay at home and avoid contracting the virus in public places.

“We have to take this measure as we extended the state of emergency in the capital for the next two weeks, which means certain needs will be impossible to fulfill without reaching out to the markets,” Anies said on Tuesday.