KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 9 ― Imagine having to pay a delivery charge of between RM12 to RM15 for a small bottle of ikan bilis sambal priced at RM15 ordered online from a home-based business located about 10 kilometres away?

The sambal may be delicious but not many can afford to pay RM27 to RM30 a bottle (including delivery fee). The rather steep rates charged by the more well-known delivery platforms are discouraging many consumers from buying from small home-based businesses and stall operators whose products are available online. 

Warong Rider, a new delivery platform launched in November 2020, is trying to lend a helping hand to the small-scale players by charging relatively reasonable rates for their delivery services, thus creating a win-win situation for both consumers and traders.

Warong Rider is an initiative by SME Corp Malaysia ― an agency under the Ministry of Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives ― through its Micro Connector Programme, and it is being implemented in partnership with the Federation of Hawkers and Petty Traders Associations of Malaysia to cater to the delivery needs of hawkers and petty businesses nationwide.

The new platform charges RM2 for the first kilometre and 80 sen for each subsequent kilometre.

Currently, Warung Rider has more than 300 riders operating in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur. It has also started operating in Perak, Johor, Selangor and Melaka and is targeting 11,000 riders nationwide by the end of this year.

Educating small businesses

Warong Rider chief executive officer Mohd Nadzri Kamarulzaman said their delivery platform will cover all 222 Parliamentary constituencies in the country.

“What makes us different from other delivery service providers is that we intend to focus on helping hawkers and petty traders, including home-based businesses and those operating stalls by the roadside and at farmers’ markets and night markets,” he told Bernama.

He said Warong Riders plans to establish its own “big circle” of food and beverage players and would encourage small businesses to join them as it would be a good avenue for them to build their marketing and branding. 

“Being in our big circle is good enough for them to establish their presence in the food and beverage market,” he said, adding that there are a lot of indirect benefits the small players can reap.

“Within the circle, we own the delivery service while they (hawkers and petty traders) can educate themselves as a community on matters such as funding, sales, marketing and business management for short or long-term sustainability.”

Mohd Nadzri said for a start, Warong Rider is encouraging them to keep track of and monitor their sales performance via a common information system that they already have in place.

“They can see their sales and financial data to check the state of health of their daily, weekly and monthly performance… basic accounting is included in our application.

“As for their long-term plans, they can expand their business by taking into consideration their business performance and based on the facts and figures, they can plan their business strategies,” he added.

First phase

Under its first phase, said Mohd Nadzri, Warong Rider targets to have 20 riders in each Parliamentary constituency who will help to facilitate the delivery requirements of the local hawkers and traders, regardless of whether they are formal or informal.   

Besides food and beverages, Warong Rider also delivers parcels and documents. Its mobile application also allows its clients to purchase groceries and pharmaceutical products online.

Mohd Nadzri said the platform would also have a hotline that will operate 24/7, as well as a service hub. Apart from that, all its riders will be given a starter kit each containing a delivery bag, pocket bag and uniform worth RM250 each.

Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar was quoted as saying recently that 70 per cent of the cost of the starter kits will be borne by SME Corp Malaysia.

“The new delivery service is not only aimed at helping small businesses but also to offer job opportunities to youths in the B40 group who are affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. The sponsorship of the starter kits will help to reduce the costs of the youths who join the Warong Rider platform as riders,” he said. 

The minister also said that SME Corp Malaysia has allocated funds of up to RM875,000 under its Micro Connector Programme to help some 5,000 riders nationwide.  

Commenting on the allocation, Mohd Nadzri said more funds should also be allocated to help small businesses nationwide to go digital and sell their products on e-commerce platforms.

He said the Federation of Hawkers and Petty Traders Associations of Malaysia is also hoping that more targeted assistance can be implemented to ensure the well-being of hawkers and petty traders, many of whom have been hit badly by the pandemic and are urgently in need of capital.

Mobile app

Shah Alam and Klang Bumiputera Night Market Traders Association chairman Kamarul Nizam Razak welcomed the Warong Rider initiative, saying that petty traders were waiting for such a platform to be implemented.   

He said the reasonable rates it charges for its delivery services would be of great help to small businesses, whether they are home-based or operating at night markets.

“Businesses need not pay any fee to register on the platform. Not only that, its delivery charges are far lower than those charged by other delivery platforms,” he said, adding that in times like these both consumers and traders were trying to make as much savings as they can.

Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Warong Rider manager Fatimah Hamid, meanwhile, said most of the 300 riders currently operating in the Klang Valley are youths aged below 35.

“There has been an encouraging response to our delivery rider job offers. Furthermore, more and more people are now appreciating the work done by the delivery boys as many people are opting for online dealings, hence the good demand for riders,” she said. 

She said most of their riders work flexible hours and those who wish to work full-time will have to be on probation for three months during which they should achieve a target of 600 orders.

The Warong Rider mobile application can be downloaded on Google Playstore or iOS App Store or via www.warongrider.com. All merchants (traders and hawkers) registered on the platform will also enjoy facilities such as the e-Wallet payment system and Dashboard which enables retailers to have access to their sales records that can be printed out. ― Bernama