Ride-hailing app TADA wants to bring 'sense of nostalgia' with new wet market delivery service
SINGAPORE: When Mr Jonathan Chua was young, his mother used to travel to Tekka Market just to buy lamb.
Years later, the general manager for ride-hailing firm TADA in Southeast Asia still remembers, with great fondness, those trips his mother used to take.
He wants to bring that sense of nostalgia to shoppers today through TADA's latest product - a wet market delivery service.
“I remember (when I was young) my mother would always say that, 'Oh, I'm going to Tekka Market just to specifically buy lamb'," said Mr Chua.
"Wet markets have this sense of nostalgia," he said, adding that they can also offer more competitive prices and fresher produce.
Similar to the online grocery shopping experience offered by the likes of RedMart or FairPrice, TADA Fresh Market aims to act as an “online multi-wet market shopping platform”, delivering fresh vegetables, fruit, seafood, meat and poultry from 36 stalls at Tekka and Tiong Bahru markets.
Shoppers need to place an order of at least S$30 worth of groceries to shop on the TADA Fresh Market website, with free deliveries for orders above S$50.
BOOSTING INCOME FOR DRIVERS AND STALLHOLDERS
TADA Fresh Market was identified as a delivery partner for Tekka Online Market by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), which is seeking to digitalise the wet market industry.
The new delivery platform is also an additional source of income for TADA's private-hire drivers, whose livelihoods have been greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions to curb the spread of the outbreak.
With more people working from home and limiting their social outings, the company explored “different ways and ideas” on how drivers could be supported during the pandemic, said Mr Chua.
“It's not possible to bring them back to the days where they can do 20 jobs (a day), just by the nature of the pandemic,” he said.
Noting TADA had already launched a delivery service in Cambodia, Mr Chua said TADA Fresh Market was a way of using its technology and driver network in Singapore to bring wet markets online and provide drivers with an expanded customer base.
Such a delivery service also provides an additional revenue stream for stallholders during the ongoing pandemic, said Mr Chua.
Earlier this year, then-Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan announced that taxi and private-hire car drivers would be allowed to perform food and grocery deliveries until the end of September, as part of efforts to help supplement drivers’ incomes while also meeting the higher demand for home deliveries.
READ: Tekka market stalls turn to live-streaming to sell fresh produce, as people stay home amid COVID-19
Since its soft launch during the "circuit breaker", TADA Fresh Market has acquired about 3,000 customers, who are served by about 100 drivers, said Mr Chua.
These customers use the TADA Fresh Market website to shop for their groceries at least once every two weeks, he said.
TADA works directly with wet market stall owners. Orders are consolidated late at night each day and sent to the wet market merchants for preparation. TADA drivers are then dispatched to fulfil the deliveries.
The orders are sent to the merchants via WhatsApp messages, said Mr Chua, as this is the form of technology that most of them are familiar with.
TADA does not charge merchants a commission for orders; instead, the company adds a “small markup” on the products. These markups are clearly visibly to customers on the website, said Mr Chua.
While TADA currently works primarily with stall owners at Tekka and Tiong Bahru markets, it will be expanding to include several merchants from the wet market at Block 216 Bedok North Street 1 within the next two weeks.
Mr Chua said TADA aims to bring in more wet markets in the Bedok area by the end of the year. It also aims to focus on the smaller, less well-known markets outside of central Singapore.
While there are other wet market merchants who have gone online, Mr Chua believes offering consumers a one-stop platform to buy from multiple vendors across different markets, as well as “trusted, reliable service” will help differentiate TADA Fresh Market from other players.
He adds that there are no plans to compete with the likes of Foodpanda or GrabFood in food delivery, although users can also use its platform to order small food items such as kueh and dumplings from the Tiong Bahru market.
Mr Chua said that while he is aware that online shopping will not be able to completely recreate the wet market experience for shoppers who are accustomed to seeing and touching the produce and interacting with stallholders, he hopes that TADA Fresh Market will spur younger shoppers to purchase from wet markets and keep the industry alive.
“If we can present the benefits of the products of the market conveniently to the users, I believe that a proposition (of buying groceries from the wet market) will be a long-term one,” he said.
TADA currently operates in Singapore, Vietnam and Cambodia. Earlier this month TADA’s parent company MVL announced it had raised US$5 million in funding, which it said would help in its plans to manufacture electric tuktuks for the Southeast Asian market.