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Grab Malaysia sees ‘instant retail’ reducing need for physical stores

Grab Malaysia is expanding its instant retail service after studying customer demand for goods during the nation’s Covid-19-related social-distancing initiative.

According to Grab Malaysia MD Sean Goh, many convenience stores and grocery retailers were able to treble their sales using the GrabMart delivery service during the lockdown restrictions. Now, as the country’s retailers are allowed to open their doors again and normal trading resumes, Grab believes more consumers are seeking safe, reliable ways to shop for daily needs without visiting stores.

“While we saw a clear uplift to safe, instant deliveries for food, drinks, snacks and other essential goods via GrabFood, GrabMart and especially ‘Pasar’ on GrabMart, we see a new challenge for retailers,” explained Goh.

“The ‘new normal’ will potentially affect retailers who traditionally rely on high foot traffic and walk-ins – from health and beauty retailers, toys, gifts and stationery shops to florists. This is a gap where we believe GrabMart is able to step in and address, while helping to make the government’s upcoming Shop Malaysia Online initiative a success.” 

GrabMart was launched last November, before anyone foresaw the emergence of Covid-19. 

Goh said that after the government’s movement controls were put in place, many retail chains signed up to GrabMart, not just in the grocery and food categories, but pharmacies, health & beauty, eyewear, books, stationery and gift retailers.

He believes this has caused consumers to evolve into ‘on-demand shoppers’ who are already accustomed to using mobile technology for their daily needs, and increasingly expect faster speed and safety for their retail purchases. Grab is delivering most goods from retailers in less than 30 minutes for a charge as low as US$1.20 (MYR5).

Goh believes the convenience of services like GrabMart and the rapidly increasing adoption of apps by consumers to order online will substantially reshape retailing. 

“It is no longer sustainable for businesses to keep expanding their retail presence to get closer to their customers’ homes. Together, we can realise our nation’s vision for a more robust digital economy as businesses adjust seamlessly to the new norm,” he said.

“We are excited to expand and help more businesses transition seamlessly to adopt instant retail.”

Grab Malaysia operates GrabMart in Kuala Lumpur’s Klang Valley, Johor Bahru, Kota Kinabalu, Kuching, Ipoh, Melaka and Penang. 

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