Online grocery deliveries struggle as demand heightens

Jaya Grocer has suspended its online delivery service due to the sudden spike in orders

by S BIRRUNTHA/ pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

ONLINE grocery delivery services are experiencing a sudden spike in orders as panic buyers continue to shop amid the extended Movement Control Order.

Malaysia Retail Chain Association VP Datuk Liew Bin said many grocery stores are currently facing overwhelming orders from buyers, which has resulted in a temporary suspension of their delivery services.

“This situation has stemmed from the sudden growth of demand, and hypermarkets and grocery stores were not prepared for this outage.

“The delivery team could not complete their rounds, although some of them work from morning to night to deliver all the customers’ orders,” he told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) yesterday.

Liew added that this has led people to purchase directly from farmers and independent sellers through WhatsApp as they could not wait for their delivery to arrive.

“Many independent sellers and small farmers now have found their own way to sell their goods. This applies to vegetables, fruits, fish and even meat.

“I believe this is going to be the next consumer behaviour, especially during tough times like this,” Liew said.

He added that most of these sellers and farmers have identified their target customers and kept contact with them, so that they could arrange the delivery on a regular basis.

“Some sellers even resort to advertise on social media or use applications like ‘Oddle’ to sell their goods,” he said.

Meanwhile, a Tesco spokesperson told TMR that its supermarkets and hypermarkets are still operating as usual and that their online store is opening new delivery slots

in the coming weeks. At the same time, Tesco is also requesting customers, who have booked their slots but may not be home, to cancel their orders to help free up the slots for other customers.

“To ensure sufficient everyday essentials to everyone, we are introducing a restriction of only three items per customer on every product line for Tesco Online customers.

“Please expect a higher than usual substitution of products as we want to make sure you will get all the essentials you need,” it said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Malaysian hypermarket chain Mydin urged customers to avoid panic buying as the drastic change in the buying pattern has caused changes in the supply chain.

“Empty space on the shelves does not mean that we do not have supplies. We have enough for everyone, but we are facing some delays in restocking the supplies due to the high demand.

“We are always committed to ensuring sufficient supply for all. Hence, restrictions need to be applied to ensure that everyone can buy,” it said in a statement yesterday.

On the other hand, supermarket chain Jaya Grocer has suspended its online delivery service due to the sudden spike in orders.

“We are currently facing a huge increase of orders for our online delivery service, and we understand that some of you may have had a less than satisfactory online shopping experience.

“Replenishing stocks on the shelves are our top priority at the moment and we are doubling our efforts to achieve this,” it said in a statement last week.

According to a study done by Malaysian Digital Association, key grocery delivery players saw traffic growth rates surge up to 600% during the third week of March.

The increase is compared to traffic in the first two weeks of March as well as February, in which Jaya Grocer and HappyFresh saw the biggest jumps in sequential traffic.