Penang meat vendor goes online to sustain biz during MCO

Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, many businesses in Malaysia were forced to shut down due to the inability to cope with sudden changes such as limited operating hours and new operating procedures.

Over time, doing online business has become the ultimate solution for many to stay afloat as lockdowns became common practice. That is the case with a 61-year-old meat vendor from Penang who decided to sell meat online to sustain his business during the Movement Control Order period (MCO) after seeing a major loss last year.

Meat vendor saw nearly 60% drop in sales during lockdown

Penang meat vendor Zakaria
Image credit: Grab

The story of meat vendor Zakaria Allaham can be an inspiration to many business owners who are still struggling to cope with the pandemic. Zakaria, who spoke to The Smart Local Malaysia, shared his experience on how going online business helped recover much of the sales he’d lost during the first MCO and how it is still sustaining his business presently.

Zakaria was working as an admin at a car workshop when he decided to venture into the meat business during his 30s since he had the idea of starting his own business for a long time. After a successful start, which involved a lot of learning and research, he set up his own meat stall at Pasar Batu Lanchang in Georgetown, Penang, where he now sells beef imported from Thailand.

However, when the Covid-19 pandemic hit Malaysia’s shores, Zakaria lost nearly 60% of his daily sales and struggled to make ends meet. By that time, he was already a senior citizen and at an age where many people would consider as too old to even think about doing business online.

Zakaria went online to save his business from dying

Meat vendor Zakaria's stall
Image credit: Grab

In search of a solution to sustain his business, Zakaria’s wife joined a WhatsApp group with other small business owners who needed meat, sometime last year. They then started taking orders from them but it was not enough to stay afloat. So, Zakaria decided to up his game by joining GrabMart to sell meat online. Luckily, he was tech-savvy, so coping with the online platform was not too difficult for him.

Zakaria said that since he joined GrabMart, he has been able to recover his loss because Grab would run various promotions to help drive demand for merchants on GrabMart.

“The current Peniaga Kecil promotion for small businesses has also enabled me to reach out to more customers and increase my sales. As a result, I managed to sustain my business and continue serving my customers despite the prolonged MCO restrictions,” he told The Smart Local Malaysia, adding that as long as people keep persevering and are open to innovate and adapt to current changes, they can surely overcome the challenges ahead of them.

Zakaria admitted that adapting to technology at his age can be a challenging task but because the demand for online shopping is higher than ever, it’s important for owners to transition their business online in order to be more accessible to consumers and reach out to more people.

Meat vendor in Penang went online to recover his business

It’s truly heartwarming to Zakaria be able to find success online due to his willingness to learn something new. We hope his story will inspire every Malaysian to never give up and continue to work hard for success. And of course, with a bit of tech-savviness, everyone can stay relevant in the future.

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Cover image adapted from: Grab

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