Southeast Asian ride-hailing giant Grab today announced a business-to-business service called GrabMerchant to help small businesses across the region go and grow online.
GrabMerchant is a self-serve platform where Grab’s merchant-partners can purchase supplies at wholesale rates. It also allows food businesses to build their online stores on the Grab app, set up cashless payment options, and create their own ads. The platform also offers an insight tool where users can keep track of their sales, operations, customers’ behavior, and marketing performance.
GrabMerchant will be available as a mobile app starting this month, according to a statement. A web portal will also be rolled out in July in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
The new service is part of Grab’s Small Business Booster Programme, which aims to help small businesses adapt to the “new normal.”
Under the initiative, Grab will also launch an offline-to-online merchant support program to help businesses integrate GrabPay with their online stores. Grab said this will build on its Remote GrabPay Link solution, which gives merchants a URL that they can send to customers to facilitate payments. The new service will be launched in Singapore first, then in Malaysia and the Philippines in the coming weeks.
A new feature called Merchant Discovery will also be rolled out to increase merchants’ visibility on the Grab app through the Nearby Merchants widget. The company said it will also create free personalized ads worth US$3.5 million for 6,000 local businesses across the region starting July.
“Covid-19 has accelerated change. We have seen dependency on online services grow exponentially almost overnight,” Grab co-founder Hooi Ling Tan observed. She also noted that small businesses make up the backbone of the region’s economy, yet only 34% of them have an online presence.
Apart from its B2B initiatives, Grab also said it’s working with governments in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand to connect rural entrepreneurs to the digital economy and enable farmers and agricultural stakeholders to earn directly from sales off the Grab platform.
Grab claims over 78,000 merchants were onboarded to its platform between March and April, with small businesses seeing a 21% increase in online revenue during the pandemic.
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