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I paid RM9.50 for a personal shopper to do my grocery shopping in 90 mins. Was it worth it?

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[This is a sponsored article with bawiq.]

In spite of Malaysia’s COVID-19 situation transitioning from a pandemic to an endemic, many are still wary of returning to life in the new normal. They may still prefer to remain in the safety of their homes, and therefore fulfill daily necessities like grocery shopping via online methods.

However, online grocery shopping doesn’t come without its sacrifices. Complaints I’ve come across from people who’ve used them can range from a grocery app’s shoppers making bad choices on products, poor customer service, inefficient payment systems, and slow delivery times.

Grocery app bawiq claims to alleviate these pain points. The app states that it’s user-friendly, has a wide selection of items (more than 12,000 SKUs), along with trained personal shoppers to carefully pick products for customers and get them delivered within 90 minutes.

Bringing it quickly

Founded in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 2017, the entrepreneur behind bawiq is Rajeev Lee (Raj), who’s had 20 years of retail experience around the world.

Raj has dabbled in disciplines including mixed-use asset management and retail operations management at companies like Tesco, Safeway, Swire, Capitaland, and more.

He expanded bawiq to Malaysia in 2019, and moved its HQ to KL after the app received a strong customer reception. Bawiq develops all its technology solutions in-house and is now growing its business model into operating its own dark and ghost stores.

Dictionary time: Dark stores are stocked like conventional supermarkets but are not open to the public; instead, they function exclusively to fulfil online orders.

Derived from the words “bawa”—which means “bring” in Malay—and “wiq” which is a shortened pronunciation of “quick”, bawiq means “bring it quickly”. 

This is especially important to its target demographic of busy working adults. The app lets users set delivery times that are convenient to them, whether within 90 minutes or at a scheduled time in the future.

Delivery prices are fixed at RM4.50 for scheduled deliveries and RM9.50 for instant ones, as long as customers are within their coverage areas of the Klang Valley.

The app’s interface was intuitive and user-friendly

Its in-house team of personal shoppers and delivery team are able to fulfil these 90-minute deliveries as bawiq has developed its own proprietary technology to fast track the entire picking and delivery process. Their shoppers are also trained to pick out products for customers, including those that most would be particular about when it comes to freshness, such as meats, fruits, and veggies. 

I got myself a personal shopper

After downloading and signing up on bawiq, you’ll choose between shopping for Halal or Non-Halal items before being led into the shopping page. There, you’ll see tiles encapsulating different item categories like fruits, veggies, meat and seafood, drinks, and alcohol (if you chose the Non-Halal option).

Adding items to my cart was rather intuitive. There are plus signs below each product for you to add however many quantities as you scroll. 

An example of the platform on Android.

The app’s search functions work similarly to most e-commerce apps, and typing in a general description would show you the options available from different brands for a certain item. 

Checking out was a swift process, working the same way as any other food delivery service, with an added function of choosing your delivery times. Payment options include online banking, credit card, or bawiq’s bWallet (where you’ll receive your cashbacks/refunds).

Upon placing your order, you’ll be notified at each stage of its preparation to its delivery. I chose the 90-minute delivery, and I’m pleased to say that I actually did receive my order within 90 minutes, with my groceries even sanitised and bagged securely.

Disclaimer: The following items were not sponsored by the client and were purchased by the writer on behalf of Vulcan Post. Her personal experience is as follows.

I deliberately purchased fresh produce, frozen and chilled goods, canned food, as well as packed items to fully test out my personal shopper’s choices and treatment of the products.

As for the quality of the fresh produce I received, I’d say that my shopper did a great job picking out the dragon fruits in particular. Though one of them didn’t look very healthy from the outside, they were of a good size and were pleasantly sweet on the inside too. 

The avocados weren’t ripe yet, which was a safe choice on my shopper’s part as they could be certain they hadn’t rotted. To add, I had left no specific notes for my orders, leaving the power of choice fully up to my shopper.

The frozen raw meat and ice cream, however, melted a little, but at an acceptable amount when compared to my own shopping experiences without bringing an insulation bag.

The eggs were all safe, and my ice cream even came with a bag of ice

My personal shopper was overall reliable too. He actually made the initiative to ask me whether or not I wanted to get a product when the price was different in-store (by a few sen), compared to what I paid for on the app. 

It was a gesture I appreciated; it assured me that bawiq’s shoppers would not simply change a product if they couldn’t find the exact one without getting your permission first.

He called me “sir” but I was too shy to correct him

Although I don’t often get my groceries online, bawiq is an app that I’d likely use again for its product choices and professionalism of its personal shoppers. Price-wise, I’d say that its produce and fresh items are pretty standard. 

I can also see it being very useful for the times when I’ll be back in the office and just want fast and fresh groceries delivered directly to me in a short period of time. 

In terms of delivery charges, bawiq’s fixed rates are welcomed and are quite affordable. Of course, the addition of promo codes are always appreciated as well. In addition, bawiq has just launched its loyalty program that rewards its shoppers for every ringgit spent with bawiq.

Not just a delivery service

With its market reception in Malaysia thus far, Raj envisions that bawiq will continue its expansion to Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam in the next 24 months. 

But first, he aspires to create over 2,000 new jobs and 15,000 new entrepreneurs across Malaysia through a free startup programme called Mybawiq. It’s where bawiq will support startup entrepreneurs of all ages and backgrounds to use bawiq technology to run and own their own mini service solution in their districts, towns and villages free of charge. .

Raj also intends to grow bawiq’s current internship and training programmes for young Malaysians to help them get employed. 

“Our internship and training programme is aimed [at recruiting] interns and provid[ing] training to them with the necessary knowledge and skills in order to prepare them with higher chances to get employed,” said Raj.

Furthermore, the company also upholds a strong CSR programme donating grocery packs to the less fortunate, monthly food supplies to charities supporting orphaned and vulnerable children and monthly food supplies to elderly homes.

  • You can download bawiq’s app on the Play Store here and App Store here.
  • You can read other articles we’ve written about Malaysian startups here.

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