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The Story Of honestbee - Growing From One To Four Cities In Just 6 Months

Located at the central part of Singapore, honestbee’s new office was nothing short of impressive when we dropped by. There are many cool features, such as an indoor slide, shower rooms and napping pods for team members to take a break. This new beehive is a spanking 12,000 square feet space that is now office to some 150 full-time employees in Singapore. Here, various teams perform roles such as development, customer service, operations and strategy planning for one of the fastest growing online grocery platform in Singapore and beyond.

In comparison, their previous office at Niven Road, where they occupied a few months ago, was a small and cramped shophouse. There, 40 people squeezed into a 1,500 square feet office space.

It is noteworthy that honestbee, which launched merely six months ago, has experienced tremendous growth. Now, they are fully operational in four cities: Singapore, Niseko-Japan, Taipei and Hong Kong, and soon, Kuala Lumpur as well. Here’s a look at their growth and impact so far:

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Job Creation – By Singaporeans, For Singaporeans

honestbee’s predecessor is LifeOpp, a social impact company with the aim of creating jobs for people who can’t work fixed hours. When honestbee pivoted the direction to transition these part-time job-seekers into concierge shoppers who actively shop for groceries, it struck a chord with a lot of Singaporeans.

To date, honestbee has travelled 283,000 km in slightly over 200 days since launch to deliver customers’ orders (that’s seven times around Earth!). As a result, the company has saved customers more than $45,000 worth of petrol and a whole lot of precious time which can be better spent on something else that matters more.

“We started the brand on this premise – we want to identify gaps in the workforce to create jobs for those who need it. Now, our shopper and delivery bees run like clockwork, contributing to the success of honestbee,” Shane Chiang, spokesperson for honestbee told Vulcan Post. “We are building our brand name to be akin to delivering fresh. Started by Singaporeans for Singaporeans, we want people to know that honestbee is committed to creating jobs. Especially during this economic slowdown, we are still hiring at honestbee,” Shane added.

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To date, honestbee helped create over 1,200 part-time jobs for Singaporeans. These part-timers sign up as a shopper, or “Shopper Bee”, as the brand affectionately calls them, and take this opportunity to shop for customers who need a grocery run. What’s perhaps interesting about honestbee is that, its part-timers make up of a few distinct segments – the mums with little ones or a person with an aged parent, the fresh graduate, those going through life transitions, as well as the retirees who have ample time on their hands. These shoppers would leverage on honestbee to earn an additional income of up to S$1000-1200 per week.

“One of the shoppers we have is an elderly lady who has never used a smartphone before. Because our shoppers shop and communicate with customers via a mobile app, this lady overcame her fear of technology and started using both the smartphone and our app,” Shane told us. “This is just one of the many inspiring and meaningful stories that encourage us at honestbee; something that tells us that we are impacting lives along the way so no matter how hard it gets, we carry on.”

“Going Global by Going Local, Growing Partnerships With Stores”

Of course, when we met up with the honestbee team, we had to ask the team’s take on the growing competitiveness of the online grocery delivery space in Singapore, especially since we have discovered over 30 of them.

“We are not here to replace the grocery stores. We are an on-demand concierge shopper and delivery company, focused on last mile logistics and at the same time, help local stores thrive,” Shane added.

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Citing some of its happy merchant partners as examples, Shane shared that honestbee is in a unique position to help merchants – large and small ones alike – to establish an online presence without having to invest in infrastructure building. Additionally, honestbee adds the touch of a personal concierge, helping these brands to differentiate themselves.

“Our partnership with FairPrice is a testament to the success of our business model. We have expanded this collaboration to work with more FairPrice outlets to benefit our customers who live at different parts of the island. Now they can order groceries via our convenient and simple-to-use platform, and have their orders delivered from the outlet nearest to their home,” Shane added. “We also have boutique grocers, such as Pet Lovers Centre and Gastronomia, who benefit from working together too, and they are seeing an increase in orders from across the island.”

Challenges and The Road Ahead

As the Singapore-grown company preps itself for their launch in Kuala Lumpur, honestbee is actively looking for talents to join their teams, both to support resourcing in the office, as well as shopper and delivery bees to delight customers.

“Currently, our growth is the strongest in Singapore, where marketing efforts largely focus on districts as opposed to nation-wide campaigns. We are still looking to hire more delivery bees in Singapore to meet our customers’ needs,” Shane shared with Vulcan Post.

A company focused on helping Singaporeans? Especially through the economic downturn? We definitely expect great things from the honestbee team.

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