Online grocery seller takes its shot

A tech startup wants to cut down on the tumult associated with grocery shopping in Yangon, and is urging customers to browse for their daily bread online instead of in person.

Yet online grocery shopping does not seem the most obvious choice of services, given the city’s crowded streets and shopping habits of visiting the local market almost daily.

But Daily Mart, which went live in January, has eyes for future growth, according to co-founder and executive director Ko Htut Thant Syn.

“I think it may be a little bit early, but it is the right time because the internet penetration is getting better,” she said. “More people are exposed to the technology, and they believe it will help them.”

On average, the platform receives less than a handful of orders per day – between three and five – and around 48 site visits. Ko Htut Thant Syn wants to bring orders up to double digits in the next six months, and said a minimum of 20 orders a day would make for a “very comfortable” position.

“I think we are still a bit early to enter the market, but we are already here, so we just move on,” co-founder and operations director Ma Zin Mar Lwin said. “We will try to get more people to know this kind of service and how convenient it can become in their daily lives.”

The firm claims the mantle of Myanmar’s first online grocery shop. The business model exists elsewhere, but has proven tricky to execute.

In Myanmar, it’s early days not only for the infant startup, but also for the e-commerce industry around it. With recent telco rollouts across the country and development in internet infrastructure, more and more people are moving online; but major hurdles in the form of online payment systems and logistics remain to be tackled before businesses work like Amazon Prime.

Ko Htut Thant Syn said Daily Mart came about when he and Ma Zin Mar Lwin melded their ideas of starting a delivery service and selling goods to consumers. A subsidiary of Global Green Development Group, whose other ventures reside firmly offline in property and construction, Daily Mart received monetary backing from the firm’s CEO but no external support.

Meanwhile, the streets of Yangon, crowded with taxis, set the stage for Daily Mart’s launch – as did the success of similar online stores in other markets.

“Our main intention is to help people save time,” Ko Htut Thant Syn said. “You don’t have to get stuck in traffic, you don’t have to wait for the queue and you don’t have to carry heavy items back home.”
Daily Mart stakes its advantage on convenience. The business sets up a trade-off between the hassle of traditional shopping – which burns petrol and time – and the mark-up that can accompany buying things online.

Daily Mart’s digital shelves house more than 1400 products. Customers who click around, fill their cart and order goods pick from among three delivery windows to wait for product drop-offs. After an order gets confirmed, Daily Mart fills it from stock at its warehouse and sends items via drivers to consumers’ doors across 24 of Yangon’s townships. Customers currently pay cash on delivery, while online payment will arrive soon.

For now, delivery on orders at more than K10,000 costs nothing – on other purchases, it could run customers up to K2000. Ko Htut Thant Syn called the company’s margins “very small”, and Ma Zin Mar Lwin said Daily Mart must keep its prices close to the market. The company sometimes buys stock in less bulk than other players, making the deals less attractive.

The shop casts a wide net to catch customers. Ko Htut Thant Syn said it targets everybody – expats, moms, elderly men and women – “because everybody has to go grocery shopping”. It should appeal particularly to the time-strapped, with Ma Zin Mar Lwin describing potential customers as people without their own means of getting around, or who don’t want to deal with sitting in traffic.

The site is accessible via mobile, and Daily Mart is moving toward offering a mobile application.

Source: Myanmar Times

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