Having recently expanded its GrabMart services to eight Southeast Asian countries, Grab further diversifies its portfolio to introduce GrabMerchant – a B2B service to facilitate small businesses’ digital move amidst an increasingly-virtual business environment.
Unveiled as part of an initiative called the Small Business Booster Programme, Grab announced that a Grab Merchant Centre has been set up to aid GrabMerchant-partners with their online transition in a mere three working days via a walk-in option. Alternatively, businesses can also opt for an online application process that will take slightly longer to process at ten working days, but with the added safety measure of being fully contactless.
Being a self-serve platform, both procedures are supported by a detailed but user-friendly onboarding process that has also been shared on Grab’s website. The app is slated for release in phases from mid-June 2020 while a web portal will be introduced from July 2020. GrabMerchant’s features include an Insights tool that allows merchant-partners to assess the efficacy of their marketing efforts, an Ads tool that allows the creation and real-time performance tracking of banner ads, as well as Supplies where wholesale rates are extended to various raw materials with the benefit of next-day delivery.
Small Business Booster Programme
Under the Small Business Booster Programme, in addition to GrabMerchant, new partners can utilise a range of tools to ease their online transition whereas existing partners can enhance their reach and digitally adjust their operations to meet the needs of an increasingly virtual-dependent economy.
In support of the announcement, Tan Hooi Ling, Grab Co-Founder highlights inclusivity in their commitment to helping businesses steer and progress through the changes brought about by the pandemic. “COVID-19 has accelerated change. We have seen dependency on online services grow exponentially almost overnight. This is spurring innovation in Southeast Asia, but is also putting us at risk of widening the digital divide. Small businesses make up the backbone of Southeast Asia’s economy, but the vast majority of these businesses are offline. They will need to embrace technology and digitalise or risk falling further behind. Through our Small Business Booster Programme, we hope to help small businesses navigate this new normal. We will draw on our technology and reach to find new ways of doing business that can inclusively support everyone.”
The other components of the initiative include:
Offline to Online Merchant Support Programme
In partnership with online-payment solution providers, Grab will facilitate the setting-up of GrabPay for offline businesses looking to shift online. The service will first be launched in Singapore together with Shopmatic and other partners, while Malaysia and Phillippines will be next in line in the coming weeks.
As Singapore begins its phased solution to re-open the market, this feature aims to improve a businesses’ physical visibility so as to encourage more in-store visits. Beginning the third quarter of 2020, Grab users will have a Nearby Merchants widget which will reveal merchants in close proximity. Businesses who sign up as merchants would be able to promote their offers to Grab users in the area in a bid to encourage a visit and in-store spending.
Free ads (worth US$3.5 million)
Merchants will be featured prominently with individualized ads within Grab’s platform and this will be extended to an estimate of 6,000 local businesses in 28 cities across 8 countries throughout a 5-week duration beginning July 2020.
Referencing their ad campaigning efforts in Singapore where consumers created ads for their merchant of choice, the latter saw an average of 20% increase in weekly orders as the ads were shared in key platforms like Grab’s in-app home screen and across their official social media platforms. With small-medium-enterprises (SMEs) being a major part of the Singapore economy, making up close to half of the country’s GDP and staffing two-thirds of the nation’s workforce, Grab’s initiatives will go a long way in combination with various state support measures to revive the economy post-COVID19.