If you’re like me, life has become far too hectic for us to visit the local grocery store anymore.
Yet it’s a chore many of us still need to do (we can’t survive on takeaways forever). When we do find the time for it, the traffic, lack of parking, fuel and toll costs, and the queuing can often make the trip feel like it wasn’t worth the effort.
Stephen Francis, the founder and CEO of MyGroser, knows this feeling all too well himself, and he’s made it his job to accomplish those grocery errands online.
A Service They Needed Themselves
Stephen was frustrated at the lack of easy, affordable and reliable grocery delivery.
“Getting the regular purchases I wanted to make, things like coffee, milk, snacks, some of the fresh items, even baked goods like bread, delivered made perfect sense to me. When I spoke to my colleagues and friends, they echoed these wants,” he told Vulcan Post.
Coming from a background in PR, he’s worked for some of the fastest-growing brands in the world including numerous FMCG brands, with four leading supermarket and food retailing brands in particular.
This experience only fuelled Stephen’s desire for a quicker, easier, and more rewarding way to get groceries.
“Considering that we spend at least 30% of our salaries in grocery stores, I thought it strange that it was so unrewarding in many places,” he explained.
That’s when he and fellow co-founders, Michele and Jeff, alongside teammates Kevin and Alex, decided to build MyGroser in 2018, a grocery delivery service that lets you pick, pay, and have your goods delivered through its website and app.
Not The Cloud Storage You’re Familiar With
However, one major difference lies in the fact that they both simply source groceries from existing stores, while MyGroser has its own stores known as cloud stores.
They’re not for consumers to physically browse and purchase groceries, but to ensure the freshness and cleanliness of MyGroser’s products. In its cloud stores, there are probably over 9,500 (and counting) items ready to be delivered on-demand.
“Our cloud stores are essentially large supermarkets that have cold rooms, chilled rooms, processing areas, a bakery, and racks for storing all manner of products while they wait to be delivered to our consumers,” Stephen explained.
To source those items from suppliers and brands, MyGroser’s merchandising team spent tremendous amounts of time and effort to lower the core costs of groceries without compromising product quality.
“Even now, despite being one of the ‘smaller’ buyers around, we have competitive prices on a wide range of items. In some cases, we’re priced even lower than your corner supermarket for some items,” he said.
A quick glance at their site shows that the prices aren’t much different from the ones in familiar grocery stores, though there are delivery fees.
You can order as little or as much as you want, but the fees are RM8.90 for deliveries up to 35kg, and RM12 (for consumers) or RM15 (for business accounts) for deliveries over 35kg.
If your total purchase costs come out at over RM250, however, delivery is free.
Its services are available from 9 AM to 9 PM every day, with its 65 full-time employees working tirelessly in different roles to ensure operations go smoothly.
Every aspect of their business is self-managed, from the way they source, pick, pack and deliver, to their own customer care team.
Fighting For Customers, But Not With The Competition
“It’s early days yet for us but we have already seen Malaysians who use MyGroser coming back repeatedly because we are unique. What’s more, we are seeing other players starting to think about how we do things and how they can copy us. This is good for consumers,” Stephen said.
Instead, the bigger challenge comes from the shoppers themselves.
“Malaysians are used to having to take the time, cost and hassle of getting their own groceries. Until they try the service—or meet a friend or family member who has—they remain sceptical.”Stephen Francis, MyGroser
While he declined to share the number of customers they have, Stephen did share that their customer base is growing healthily every week.
Orders have gotten larger and have amounted to several hundred Ringgit per order on a weekly or fortnightly basis.
“Still Here And Bigger Than Ever“
But the challenges don’t simply stop at convincing Malaysians to use MyGroser.
“Funding, the technology, getting the right people, and getting people to believe. These are some of the main things we deal with all the time. The way around it, keep doing what we do,” Stephen shared.
MyGroser is currently available in select locations within the Klang Valley, and aims to expand its services to cover the whole area.
They will then look into expanding to other parts of the country and the region over the course of the next few years.
Several million have already been invested in the business, going to establishing their heavily tech-enabled business.
As such, they are currently pursuing another round of funding, for said coverage expansion, a new cloud store, and the next version of their service.
“Still here and bigger than ever, we want to meet the grocery needs of as many people as we can while keeping it affordable, reliable, easy to use, and rewarding. That’s going to take a lot of work, a lot of faith, and a lot of word of mouth recommendations by our consumers,” Stephen concluded.
- You can read more about what we wrote about food delivery services here.
Featured Image Credit: MyGroser