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Jakarta Post

Local businesses shift to selling vouchers, coffee by the liter to survive pandemic

  • Eisya A. Eloksari

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, April 22, 2020   /   12:18 pm
Local businesses shift to selling vouchers, coffee by the liter to survive pandemic People wait for orders at a McDonald's fast-food outlet in Bandung on Feb. 3, 2020. (JP/Arya Dipa)

Local brands, especially in the food and beverage business, are selling vouchers, ready-to-cook meals and coffee by the liter to keep their business afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some of them have joined an online platform called supportlocalbrandsID initiated by TADA, a customer retention application, digital cashier application Moka and ride-hailing giant Gojek, which provide a website where local brands can promote their vouchers.

“We created this platform so local brands can retain some of their income,” said TADA managing director Antonius Taufan in a written statement on April 20. He added that the three companies had the idea for a collaborative platform after listening to the complaints of the local brands about the effect of the pandemic on their businesses.

The Indonesian Retailers Association (Aprindo) said its 150 members had seen a fourfold increase in transactions using online applications or delivery services, while visits to physical outlets had gone down.

Visits to retail and recreational spaces such as restaurants and shopping centers in Indonesia have dropped 43 percent in the first week of April from January-February, according to Google’s Community Mobility Reports on global movement trends during the pandemic.

Antonius went on to say that, through the platform, customers could buy e-vouchers from hundreds of local businesses in beauty, food and beverage (F&B), fashion, hotels and other services. The vouchers are valid for one year and can be redeemed once the stores are open for business again while store owners can retain their business income through the voucher sales.

Moka CEO Haryanto Tanjo said the start-up encouraged its local brand clients to participate in the platform so the businesses could stay connected with their customers and maintain their cashflow during the pandemic.

“Hopefully this initiative can support the sustainability of Indonesian brands in this tough time,” said the head of third-party platforms at Gojek, Sony Radhityo. He added that consumers could access the platform through the website or a shuffle card in the Gojek app that would be available until June.

Local brands can join the platform for free, and all the revenue from voucher sales will be transferred directly to the business owners.

One F&B business that has joined the platform is local dessert store Puyo. The company’s cofounder and CEO, Adrian Agus, told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday that it had to close 75 of 93 stores throughout Java since the coronavirus outbreak in March.

He went on to say that, since joining the platform, the company had recorded fewer than 200 transactions for the vouchers.

“Hopefully the platform can raise awareness about the pandemic effect on local businesses, especially the people working there,” Adrian said, adding that Puyo planned to use the revenue to pay employees’ salaries.

Other local brands have opted to sell ready-to-cook meals through e-commerce platforms. Local steakhouse Holycow, for example, has been selling marinated beef that consumers could grill at home, while vegetarian food chain Burgreens has been selling frozen food on Tokopedia since last Friday.

Tokopedia COO Melissa Siska Juminto said on April 17 that the e-commerce platform had been seeing a new trend of offline restaurants selling frozen and dry foods and cafés opening online stores in the marketplace.

“One interesting thing is that we are seeing a new trend of cafés selling coffee in 1-liter quantities on our platform,” she said. “People used to hang out in coffee shops with friends and family, so they want to bring that activity home with coffee for the whole family.”

Tokopedia recently launched the #SatuDalamKopi (#UnitedInCoffee) campaign to promote local coffee sales, such as the 1-liter coffee, ground coffee and coffee beans, on one page of their website.

Dua Coffee is one of the local cafés that started selling its products through Tokopedia since the pandemic. The café’s cofounder Omar Karim Prawiranegara said 80 percent of the coffee shop sales now came from online orders.

“Moving our business to online sales is inevitable and online sales is now our business’ backbone,” he said.