Cambodian Startup MealTemple Launches Online Supermarket

After 4 years of successful food delivery operations, Meal Temple has embarked on a new delivery service as a way to scale and diversify their company.

Sticking to their core as a food service, their new platform, that just started a month ago, is an online supermarket that would deliver your daily necessities, groceries and even baked goods to your doorstep.

Aptly named Grocery Delivery, its system of operations is similar to that of Meal Temple’s. After establishing partnerships with local shops and wholesale companies that import international products, these products are then uploaded to the online platform. Then, using Meal Temple’s existing resources such as drivers and call center agents, a supply chain is ensured.

This utilization of Meal Temple’s resources is the company’s strategic way of maximizing their potential to reap more profits. With Meal Temple having primarily 2 peak times a day – lunch and dinner – Grocery Delivery’s services will help to fill the gaps between these periods, creating a steady stream of activity throughout the day.

Despite only in operation for a month, their experience from Meal Temple really shines through in terms of partnership, with over 5000 products available for purchase on their platform. Grocery Delivery’s 25 partnerships with retailers also make it the most diverse marketplace in the Kingdom.

But as similar as they are, there is one big difference between the two that users can look forward to as well! Unlike Meal Temple, where you can only order from one restaurant at a time, Grocery Delivery allows you to shop from a variety of places in just one platform. Imagine this – purchasing fresh meats from your favorite butchery, and daily food staples from the supermarket you frequent without having to take a step out of your house!

Adding on to the convenience that this platform brings to its customers offline, it also prioritises online convenience of its users with their website, which is technologically up to date.

Incorporating and merging many features that cater to a user-friendly experience, the website is easy to navigate with the homepage and category page only displaying the various categories and product pictures. The trendy Live Chat is also available on their website, allowing users to have their enquiries answered by the team as soon as possible.

To further enhance the customer experience and make online grocery shopping a choice option, discount codes are published on social networks to allow their food-loving community to receive their items at a cheaper price. In addition, the Grocery Delivery wallet function also allows customers to top up a chosen amount and get cash back for his/her subsequent purchase.

Furthermore, Grocery Delivery has also established a partnership with Veasna in the Kitchen, which will allow them to have videos of recipes that can be done with Grocery Delivery products.

And last but not least, Grocery Delivery will also be rolling out the Xpress Delivery, where users will receive orders in less than 120 minutes – a first of its kind in Cambodia.

With Grocery Delivery, Meal Temple aims to bring online supermarkets to the next level in Phnom Penh, and Geeks in Cambodia can certainly tell from its extensive features geared towards customer experience.

To find out more about this special delivery service, we had the opportunity to sit down with Antoine Pichery (A), the General Manager of Grocery Delivery. Check out our insightful interview with him below:

The following interview has been edited for length, clarity and flow.

Could you share with us more on what Grocery Delivery offers to its users?

A: If we have to sum up in one word, Grocery Delivery offers you TIME. The time you save not going to the supermarket, but instead doing things that matter to you. You can focus on what you have to do and your hobbies, and we’ll take care of the rest. The second important value is that you will not be annoyed by having to carry your items at home, climbing the stairs with packs of water. Especially in Phnom Penh, where most of the population are going grocery shopping by motorbike and would not have a lot of space to take their groceries back home.

After a month of operation, can you share with us how has the response to Grocery Delivery been? Was it different from what you expected when you first launched it?

A: The first days were long, waiting for the first orders, starting the operations, solving initial misunderstandings with the partners etc. This month really mattered as it allowed us to understand what the partners and customers are really expecting, and what we need to modify in our processes. Now, it’s fluid; the staff knows the picking locations, the partners understand the marketplace system and the word of mouth start to have its impact.

The main difference between our expectations and the reality is the organisation of the platform and how to structure the website for the customer to access any products in a few clicks. The objective is really to switch shelves in a click.

What is the added value of Grocery Delivery compared to other online delivery services in Cambodia? 

A: The added value of Grocery Delivery is, first, the experience of the staff who have worked on delivery services for 4 years with Meal Temple. This includes the call centres and the drivers. The second one is the platform. Our multi-vendor marketplace allows vendors to manage their products by themselves and to check their sales as well. Not to mention, all the additional features we added to it as well: the live chat, for the customer to ask if he has any query; the wallet with the cash back and top up, the social media log in… All these tools facilitate and minimise the time the customer is spending online. The main added value will be released in the next weeks. It’s the Xpress Delivery. We will engage in 120 minutes delivery with a smaller range of products but with everything you need.

Does Grocery Delivery have any plans for future expansion to other provinces of Cambodia, or even to other parts of the region?

A: The strategy is clear and defined. We already have some demands from outside of Phnom Penh. We have some competitors operating only in Sihanoukville as well. It means that there is a market to overcome. Most of our partners have some warehouses all around the Kingdom, making it easier to expand to other cities in Cambodia. The current platform is able to handle many cities linked to different catalogues. We will only need to create new partnerships for the chilled and dairy products such as vegetables, fruits, breads, fresh milk etc. The internationalisation is in our minds as well. We are looking for the matching markets to implement and how we can achieve it in a financially sustainable way.

As a company that runs both Meal Temple and Grocery Delivery, how do the activities relate to each other in terms of procedures and delivery services? How do you take advantage of its similarities/differences?

A: The idea of launching a new platform was to scale, diversify, and to have two platforms with one logistic system. It means that Grocery Delivery is using the same infrastructures and staff as Meal Temple. It allows us to spread the cost over 2 differents companies and minimise the risk. As said before, the biggest advantage is the knowledge of the staff on the delivery service. It was one of the easiest staff training for these new tasks: picks up and customer support. As Meal Temple has two peaks a day, lunch and dinner, it doesn’t affect our performance on Meal Temple. All Grocery Delivery tasks are made during off-peak hours.

What was the process like in obtaining partnerships for this service? Were there any challenges faced when approaching various wholesalers and partners to get on board your service?

A: The process is pretty similar to Meal Temple in a way and very different at the same time. Prospects were very open as we were introducing ourselves as the new supermarket in town. The only thing that diverged is the picking up process. The only challenge we faced when approaching prospects is the exclusive agreement that some of them signed with the competition. We denied some of our prospects but we always find another partner to substitute the products we were looking for.

Can you share with us some advice for startups or businesses looking to scale and diversify their product offerings?

A: Before you scale and diversify, the most important thing is to be good at what you are doing and to have a synergy with internal and external sides. We waited for 4 years before launching a new platform. The tech industry sees a lot of players getting into the market but only a few survive after two years. Here is the key: don’t go too fast and make sure you know your exact environment and processes and to have a clear strategy. The expansion can be many and varied but we chose to go for the optimization of the resources, as it can be a new complementary offer to your current customers and partners as well.

There you have it folks – our exclusive interview that has certainly shone light on what it takes to bring your already established company to greater heights, and why sometimes waiting it out is the right way to go.

If you are interested in trying out this new online service, do hop over to their website at https://grocerydelivery.asia/. We would like to thank Antoine for this wonderful interview, and are certain that Grocery Delivery’s services would be a game changer when grocery shopping in Phnom Penh.