Entrepreneur

The E-Grocery Scene In M'sia Is Saturated—This Startup Still Wants To Give It A Shot

We’re all about convenience nowadays, and the e-commerce market players are well aware of that. What used to be tiresome daily or weekly tasks are slowly being automated or moved into the online space.

Being able to shop online for groceries isn’t anything new in Malaysia. Big players such as Tesco have done it as early as 2013, and more players have jumped on board.

We’re quite spoilt for choice here, with many active grocery delivery services in the Klang Valley up and running. So, when we heard of yet another delivery service popping up, we decided to speak to them to see why would they take a chance to enter this industry.

A Young Startup In A Saturated Space?

Swiftcow.my is an online service that wants to help Malaysians get all the items on their grocery list delivered right to their doorstep. The Swiftcow team uses the list of products you’ve added into the cart on their website and heads on over to major supermarkets to buy them before they deliver it to you.

“The idea of a swift cow is essentially an oxymoron. The cow is perceived as a nurturing and plentiful being, and likewise in our services, we offer over 100,000 products from nine different grocers, and on top of that, we are quick to deliver and always on our toes.

The Swiftcow is abundant, nimble and unafraid of change. The same values are translated into our work culture too: We are a small team—a dynamic, enterprising and inventive bunch of young people,” said Chloe from Swiftcow.

As of the beginning of October, Swiftcow has expanded their services to more areas in Klang Valley, including Putrajaya, Cyberjaya, Kajang, Port Klang, Puncak Alam and and they plan to expand even further soon.

The Procedure

Once you’ve registered for an account, you can then proceed to choose the hypermarket of your choice. They’ve listed more than 9 big hypermarkets that have outlets all across the Klang Valley area.

swiftcow-1
Screenshot of Swiftcow.my’s website.

The layout of the website is fairly straightforward. The items are arranged according to their main category such as baby needs, canned goods, deli and bakery, and so forth.

I do appreciate that they include a row of recommended items that are related to the item you clicked on below just in case you’d like to add it into the basket without needing to exit the window.

Besides that, another plus point is that you’re not restricted to just one hypermarket. After you’re done browsing in one and have decided on the items you’d like from that particular hypermarket, you can just switch to another one and see what they have offered there. This is good because it provides you a wide array of choices at no additional cost as the delivery fee is charged just once per cart checkout.

After you’re done adding the items into your cart, it’s time to move on to the checkout page which is where the first disappointment came for me. Their payment methods are limited to credit cards and or PayPal only, meaning there’s no option for Cash on Delivery or online banking.

The page you'll see when you are checking out.
The page you’ll see when you are checking out.

This might restrict their pool of customers quite a bit, especially since Paypal is not a widely used payment method in Malaysia and not everyone has credit cards either.

Also, something to keep in mind. The prices that are displayed on the website are 8% higher than the price you’d probably find in-store. Another downside? If the store does actually have a discount or promotion going on that day, it doesn’t matter. You’ll be paying the “guide price” listed on their website.

On the flip side, if somehow the price of the item in the supermarket happens to be higher, Swiftcow will bear the cost. However, according to Chloe, this has never happened before.

Once the orders are all placed, the personal shopper will then call to let you know they’re coming to deliver the goods to you.

Screenshot of the time slots Swiftcow provides.
Screenshot of the time slots Swiftcow provides.

After a customer has placed an order on Swiftcow.my, he/she can choose the delivery time slot. The earliest delivery time slot is on the same day and as fast as under three hours. Currently for their trial promotion, Swiftcow are offering free shipping.

Once the trial period is over, orders under RM300 will be charge RM5. For orders above RM300 in a single receipt, the delivery fee will be waived.

Hardships Of Delivering Groceries

Image Credit: timeoutshanghai.com
Image Credit: timeoutshanghai.com

Swiftcow has only been running for three months, and they’re still considered relatively new to the market.

As with any other online business, there are a few moments that have shown to be quite challenging. One of the major obstacles Swiftcow faces is finding the right fit for the team.

“We work hard, smart and very fast, and therefore always in search of intelligent and intuitive talents to grow the business together. It is a challenge for any startup when it comes to finding talents, but we now have like-minded talents who have the same vision for the company,” said Chloe.

As to what they have in store for Swiftcow, Chloe shared that they have plans to bring their business to a bigger level and make their presence online stronger.

“Our immediate plans are really about building a smarter team, while we continue to strive at building a more customer-centric system to be the forefront of grocery shopping in Malaysia,” said Chloe.

It’s hard to say if they are going to be able to survive, but it’s early days yet. Perhaps they will be able to carve a place out for themselves, and their delivery fee is certainly low enough to be considered as one of the players. The service they can provide is definitely one of value, but it remains to be seen if they can get enough people on board to actually use them.

If you plan on trying this platform for yourself, Swiftcow has given all Vulcan Post readers a coupon code to get RM8 off with mimumum of RM50 spent.

Just enter VULCAN8 in the box during the checkout process to redeem this promotion.

Feature Image Credit: Swiftcow

 

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