What started off as yet another added convenience to the public around Klang Valley, quickly became something vital when Malaysia implemented the Movement Control Order (MCO) from March 18, in the country’s effort to flatten the curve during the COVID-19 pandemic. While only the ketua rumah (head of the household) was permitted to go on grocery runs at neighbourhood stores, some households opted to do their grocery shopping online instead. When MyGroser officially launched in September last year, it was as if it had premeditated the oncoming storm. When competition in the industry thins out with the rising demands, the winds of change are even more so in favour of MyGroser; it not only delivers groceries, but also freshly made-to-order baked goods, ready-to-cook meal kits, as well as seasonal ready-to- eat meals from a curated list of partnered restaurants in the Klang Valley. MyGroser’s co-founder and chief executive officer Stephen Paul Francis, alongside co-founder and chief operating officer Michele Malini Mahendra shared: “Our growth has been exponential to date, especially over the second quarter of 2020. We have seen increases in sign-ups from customers who are looking for actual solutions that they can trust.”
What inspired you to start this little venture?
Stephen: We have been working with retail grocery brands and hypermarkets as consultants for several years. That has helped us realise that the grocery space was ripe for disruption. Besides that, we have begun to really question the freshness and the prices that we’re seeing at the supermarkets that we frequent; as it turns out, these are areas that are not being protected as well as they should be, and that we could do something about it.
Michele: Being an avid cook and baker, quality ingredients are something that I look for constantly, and in order to get them, I have to go to various stores. On top of that, the quality of ingredients and produce varies as well during my visits to these stores. It’s very time-consuming, and frustrating! With MyGroser, we saw an opportunity to spark change in Malaysia, by providing customers an avenue to get a range of quality produce at decent prices – all in one place.
Why do you think establishing MyGroser at the time that it did was a good time for you?
Stephen: There really isn’t any “best time” to start an idea; the best time is when you decide it is. Personally for me, it is an organic process really; I lead a pretty busy life, and I want an affordable but quality service that can restock my kitchen needs when I want them to – especially when it comes to coffee!
Michele: The Malaysian market is primed and ready for a service like this. People are busy, and groceries are something they need on a regular basis. We ourselves typically shop for groceries once a week at least. So, by providing an avenue to shop online anytime, and have the items delivered on a scheduled and preferred date without having to make trips out every time we’re running low on groceries – that is something we find very appealing.
What makes MyGroser stand out from the other online grocery shopping services?
Michele: We are the only independent online delivery service of its kind in the country – and possibly, the region – that has control over our entire supply chain: from cloud stores that are supermarket sized operations, custom one-of-a-kind software that is fast and easy to use, safe and secured payments, and a dedicated full time delivery team that is focused on handling the groceries with respect and at a higher level of safety and cleanliness than most. We do this because our value proposition is focused on convenience, freshness and value: the convenience of delivering up to 10,000 products daily, between 9am and 9pm; we use temperature controlled cloud stores and thermal controlled delivery solutions to retain the freshness of the groceries and baked-to-order goods; and lastly, our prices are competitive, with delivery costs kept at the lowest in our category, with redeemable rewards that are easy to understand and enjoy. We also offer pre-orders that are suitable for everyone in the country to enjoy, and can be ordered up to several weeks in advance. Priced competitively, we have personalised the service to the extent of delivering meals during Christmas, Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day.
You could say that the MCO implementation has somewhat worked to MyGroser’s advantage, as many people who are self-quarantined would need help in getting daily essentials from supermarkets. However, at the same time, MyGroser is still a relatively new startup, which may be affected like many others in the country during this trying time. How has MyGroser fared thus far?
Michele: In addition to increasing our delivery time slots to cater to the market demands, and providing free deliveries for orders over RM100, we are also helping with manual orders for the elderly, disabled and single parents, who are unable to leave their homes. We have also carried out CSR initiatives in helping NGOs and corporate organisations with supply and transportation, on top of our own personal contributions.
Stephen: These CSR initiatives allow us to support communities underserved or unprepared to deal with the challenges of this time. Not to mention, frontliners who are so busy they can’t spare the time to get what they need. MyGroser was built from day one not only with strong business fundamentals at its core, but also to serve our customers, and the communities we live, work and play in. Through the MCO, we have seen this purpose coming into focus even more, as much about us learning who we truly are as individuals, an organisation and as a country.