KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 25 ― The resulting economic hardship of the Covid-19 pandemic has put the agility of many local businesses to test.
In fact, many of the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have been in dire need of support to make ends meet and survive the pandemic.
Such businesses include the roadside stalls, popular kopitiam or even the tiny neighbourhood sundry shops.
Nothing’s more heartbreaking than witnessing some of these local businesses ― that some of us grew up with ― shutter one after another due to the pandemic and lockdowns.
With the prolonged ban on dining out due to the high number of new daily Covid-19 infections, most of the vendors are forced to rely on food delivery platforms to survive.
Although these platforms offer an alternative advantage to food and beverage (F&B) operators during the lockdown, the hard-hitting less-talked-about sad truth is that the services come with a hefty commission of up to 30 per cent on each bill ― leaving little to no profit for the shop operators.
Saving home-growing businesses
Recognising the urgent need to save small businesses from closing down, Maybank Malaysia sprang into action to help SMEs, neighbourhood traders, home-based businesses and the community at large in the current devastating climate for businesses.
For the uninitiated, the country’s economy heavily relies on micro-enterprises as they make up 76.5 per cent of the Malaysian SMEs.
With that in mind, Maybank is taking the local merchants online with a zero-commission digital platform called Sama-Sama Lokal.
The platform was launched last April during the first movement control order (MCO) with the aim to help small businesses in the local neighbourhoods such as hawkers, sundry shops and family run restaurants.
Sour N Spicy HomeTaste, a small food business operated by husband and wife Robert Chong and Vivian Ong, is one of the hawkers on Sama-Sama Lokal who benefitted from the platform’s marketing push to Maybank’s large customer base.
Initially, the couple sold food from a stall but had to move the business to their home during the MCO last year after their revenue was significantly slashed due to the reduced footfalls.
“When I was young, my mum taught me how to cook Hakka dishes which were passed down in our family for generations, and it is my dream to run a Hakka food business.
“As a fresh business, when MCO first hit, Vivian and I had to quickly take our business online, or accept the grim fate of shutting it completely,” said Chong
Thanks to Sama-Sama Lokal, the duo managed to reach out to more customers and have recently hit a whopping 70 per cent increase in monthly sales.
They even had to hire new staff to cope with the daily order volumes.
Curio Coffee Roasters owners Chris and Jook Yie, meanwhile, find the Sama-Sama Lokal platform a unique tool to reduce operating costs with promo and discounts subsidies.
“It helped a lot when MCO 2.0 started, especially with the promotions that Sama-Sama Lokal offered to the consumers.
“I mean, we are also glad that the offers or discounts aren’t taken off by the merchants, which is a big, big help.
“Until now, we don’t engage with a lot of other online platforms.”
United we stand
While Maybank charges the merchants no fees for the platform, your support remains paramount in saving the small local businesses.
In the spirit of the National Month, Maybank encourages Malaysians to join hands and help struggling home-grown businesses make ends meet during these trying times.
Whether you want to order food, or buy groceries, Sama-Sama Lokal has it all.
Just log in to your Maybank2u MY mobile app and look for the Sama-Sama Lokal icon at the top left menu bar.
Once you are in, you will get to enjoy RM10 off orders + RM10 off delivery charges with a minimum spend of RM30 as part of the Sehati Selokal promotion until September 30 (Terms and conditions apply).
How does Sama-Sama Lokal help SMEs?
The platform provides merchants with an online presence to market their products or services to a wide range of audience including Maybank’s significant customer base.
To further assist them, the bank does not charge any commission, registration, set-up or transaction fee.
This means merchants get to keep 100 per cent of their earnings.
Additionally, Maybank also helps to subsidise the delivery charges at certain locations.
There are over 10,000 local merchants nationwide onboarded on the platform, covering a wide range of businesses including food & beverages, groceries and sundry shops, pets services, health and beauty, fashion, automotive and even durians.
As the platform’s merchant and customer base continues to grow, Maybank recently upgraded Sama-Sama Lokal on its Maybank2u MY app with brand new features to improve the user experience.
With the upgrade, customers will now be able to experience a seamless and convenient payment process integrated directly into the Maybank2u MY app.
Customers in the Klang Valley can also get live updates of their orders from acceptance and pick-up to delivery.
The platform has also partnered with multiple delivery partners to cover more delivery areas and expand its reach in various locations.
On the other hand, merchants will benefit from a convenient and secure bank-backed payment system.
They will also be able to gain a quick view of all orders, as well as receive easy access to delivery rider updates and pending orders while simultaneously accepting more orders.