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Enabling Singapore Hawkers to Go Digital with Food Delivery Platforms

The National Environment Agency (NEA) and the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) recently announced that the pilot will include Singapore’s food delivery platforms as well as a leading hawker Food Delivery platform. The pilot will include 400 stalls spread across 14 hawker centres, including ABC Brickworks Market & Food Centre, Adam Food Centre, Amoy Street Food Centre, Golden Mile Food Court, and Taman Jurong Market & Food Centre.

Under the model, the leading hawker Food Delivery platform — the common acquirer for hawkers — will use its existing relationships with hawker stalls to onboard them onto the other food delivery platforms, such as uploading their menus onto the platforms, said the platform’s chief executive officer and co-founder.

The Online Ordering Platform for Hawkers revealed the pilot initiatives. The workgroup was established in June to assist hawkers affected by the Covid-19 pandemic in understanding the benefits of going digital and in using online ordering and delivery services. Hawkers have had a “tough period,” according to the Minister of State for Communications and Information as well as National Development. “Our hawkers are not having an easy time. Very tough. And I think these measures are very timely in supporting our hawkers and continue to preserve and support our hawker culture,” he said.

He identified three “pain points”: the high cost of platform commissions, the lack of support, particularly for elderly and less tech-savvy hawkers, to go digital, and the uncertainty of consumer demand, particularly for hawkers selling low-priced items.

Consumers can continue to order through their preferred platforms under this model, however, all orders will be received either through a single device or by on-site hawker captains at each hawker centre to place and coordinate orders.

Furthermore, the leading hawker Food Delivery platform will manage transactions and payments to hawkers, with same-day payments and no hawker commissions.

According to NEA and IMDA, since the June rollout of the latest Online Ordering for Hawkers, 5,500 hawkers across 113 hawker centres managed by NEA and its appointed managing agents have been engrossed by digital ambassadors from the SG Digital Office on how to supplement physical transactions with digital ones.

NEA’S DIGITAL SUPPORT FOR HAWKERS GROUP

By the end of the year, the NEA will have developed a set of best practises that will be compiled into a step-by-step Digital Support Guide for Hawkers.

One suggestion is to form a Digital Support for Hawkers group at each hawker centre. This group will offer assistance to less digitally savvy hawkers who want to improve their online presence.

This includes creating a social media page for each hawker centre, facilitating community group purchases through the social media page, and coordinating with organisations to place bulk meal orders. According to NEA and IMDA, the group will be made up of “passionate individuals from the community or hawkers.”

All whilst, a digital “hawker champion” in the group should be willing to lead the group in assisting hawkers in developing and maintaining a digital presence on social media, subscribing to online ordering services, and adopting e-payment tools.

To coordinate and launch the initiative, a Singapore Digital Office digital ambassador will be assigned to each hawker centre.

The proportion of NEA-managed hawker stalls on online ordering platforms has also increased from 34% at the start of the campaign in June to 47% today. This includes 660 hawker stalls that have signed up for the first time, according to the statement.

In Singapore, approximately 3.3 million people shop in the e-commerce market, with projected revenue of USD $2,793 million in 2021. Between 2021 and 2025, revenue is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 9.9%. Such expansion should result in a market volume of USD $4,079 million by 2025.

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