MCO forces businesses to go online

Companies are adapting to the situation and finding different avenues to ensure their businesses are up and running

by ASILA JALIL/ pic by AFP

BUSINESSES that mainly operated in brick and mortar stores are now forced to change to online platforms since the enforcement of the Movement Control Order (MCO) on March 18.

With the uncertainty that lies ahead, some companies are adapting to the situation and finding different avenues to ensure their businesses are up and running.

Beutifood is among the many businesses that have shifted their operations via social media due to the restrictions imposed during the MCO.

The company’s flagship store in Sunway Pyramid, Petaling Jaya (PJ), Selangor, which carries beauty and food items is temporarily closed along with its cafes in two private institutions.

The current situation has forced Beutifood to adapt to the change in operations and venture into delivery services instead, focusing only on food items.

Operations director Choong En Han said the response for Beutifood’s home delivery service is “okay”, but not enough to offset existing operational costs.

“Our delivery revenue ratio to our existing revenue before the MCO is still quite low, just like other businesses that are suffering now,” Choong added.

The delivery service is free within PJ with a minimum order of RM50 and deliveries outside PJ cost an additional RM5.

As Beutifood is not available on food delivery mobile applications, Choong said it currently relies on WhatsApp and Facebook sponsored posts to reach their customers.

“We also rely on word of mouth among our communities like international schools, as well as family and friends. That has been keeping us busy during this period,” added Choong.

Meanwhile, Souka Bake Shop has also been active on its online platforms to keep operations running smoothly during the MCO.

Its manager Safiyyah Khairul Anuar said there is a spike in online sales, especially for their range of whole cakes.

She said the store is focused on pushing their customers to purchase online via various platforms such as WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook, and there are constant orders for cakes.

“In general, our weekend orders are tremendous and now, with the MCO, everyday feels like a week- end for those at home so, the orders have largely increased everyday.

“I can say the percentage in order numbers have doubled,” she told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR).

Its physical store in Subang Jaya, Selangor, is now operating on shorter hours from 10am until 6pm. Several stores have also been innovative in their online operations to engage with their customers during this difficult time.

Some are seen selling do-it-yourself (DIY) kits, which include ingredients used in their recipes, enabling customers to enjoy the items suited to their preference.

Tealive is currently selling its “My Bubble Tea Kit” at RM145 inspired by its brown sugar series. The kit includes essential ingredients to make the drinks such as pearls and flavoured powders, as well as recipe cards.

Its CEO Bryan Loo said the kit has received tremendous response since its launch during the first phase of the MCO.

“We have sold thousands of kits now. Sales have surged since it became the talk of town during MCO.

“However, it is still a tiny fraction in comparison to our nationwide sales,” Loo told TMR.

He added that the sales of these kits are significant on the e-commerce channel although it cannot compare to their sales at the physical stores.

Another store that also sells a DIY kit is MyKori Dessert cafe.

The “Mykori DIY Toast Box Starter Kit” is on sale at RM95 and includes ingredients such as chocolate sauce, maple syrup and toast bread for customers to enjoy the dessert store’s signature toasts in the comfort of their own homes.