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Online grocery landscape in Malaysia

We can understand why most of the physical players opt for concierge & delivery platform like HappyFresh or Honestbee as this could be the easiest way to start (and learn) e-commerce, by just having specific outlets available to their surrounding areas.

Which brick & mortar grocers in Malaysia have gone online? How about pure-play online grocers? What about those online services wrapped around grocery delivery?

For a start, let's compile a list of major grocers in Malaysia and investigate each of their e-commerce initiatives.

Online grocery in Malaysia

So, how do we define whether has a particular grocer done anything online?

It is not all about having an own-branded online store, let's consider three criteria below:

  • Own store, own branded domain with e-commerce enabled
  • Collaboration with any eMarketplace in Malaysia
  • Collaboration with any Concierge & Delivery platform in Malaysia

You can take a quick look at the table below, followed by a compilation of our 7 findings.

List of grocers in Malaysia doing e-commerce


List of grocers in Malaysia doing e-commerce

#1. Tesco Malaysia is one of the earliest, if not the earliest grocer here to launch its online store here. If you refer to the e-commerce history of Malaysia, Tesco online store was launched in 2013.

#2. Tesco Malaysia is the most aggressive grocer in Malaysia venturing into e-commerce, having the presences in Lazada & 11street, available via HappyFresh besides its own online store.

#3. Only 3 (Tesco, Mydin, Jaya Grocer) set up their own online store.

#4. Only 3 (Tesco, Giant, Mydin) establish their online presence at e-marketplaces, with Giant and Mydin are both on Shopee.

#5. On the contrary, 7 out of 9 grocers from the list make themselves available online via either HappyFresh or Honestbee.

#6. AEON BIG is the only major grocer on the list without any e-commerce presence yet.

#7. Even though some of them are in the same group of companies, for example, Giant & Cold Storage, AEON & AEON BIG, Village Grocer & BIG, each of them adopted a different strategy when it comes to e-commerce.

Own store & e-marketplace vs Grocery delivery


We can understand why most of the physical players opt for concierge & delivery platform like HappyFresh or Honestbee as this could be the easiest way to start (and learn) e-commerce, by just having specific outlets available to their surrounding areas.

It will be much more challenging for grocers to set up their own online store, or make their inventory available via e-marketplaces, as they need to figure out how's best to sync their inventory and pricing online, more importantly, to set up their own operation & fulfillment resources.

By contrast, picking, payment (offline during pickup, online when consumers are paying) and delivery are all handled by third-party services like HappyFresh. The barrier of entry is so low for local grocers as they just need to run promotions and give out commissions to grocery delivery partners.

Other online grocery players & service providers


Other online grocery players & service providers

Kindly take note that the list above is by no means comprehensive with only a few examples are shown.

Besides grocery stores going from offline to online, there are also quite a number of grocery online pure-play, those without any physical stores.

However, this is considered as a high-risk business by industry experts, with many of them ceased operation in recent years. One of the most notable ones is Soukai from Japan, which was being closed by Hermo (or officially Hermiso) not long after the acquisition.

There are also online players who focus on B2B only like offices, restaurants etc. This is quite a different ballgame if compared to the B2C model.

Last but not least, grocery comparison players are listed here even though they are not exactly e-commerce businesses, but they do play a role in the grocery shopping ecosystem in this digital age.

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ecInsider: Online grocery landscape in Malaysia
Online grocery landscape in Malaysia
We can understand why most of the physical players opt for concierge & delivery platform like HappyFresh or Honestbee as this could be the easiest way to start (and learn) e-commerce, by just having specific outlets available to their surrounding areas.
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