Business in the time of Covid-19: Penang pet shop turns to delivery and drive-through services to drum up business

Opalyn Mok
·3-min read
In the first MCO last year, customers called in their orders and would be delivered to them. ― Picture by Steven KE Ooi
In the first MCO last year, customers called in their orders and would be delivered to them. ― Picture by Steven KE Ooi

GEORGE TOWN, March 25 — A Penang-based pet shop has turned to innovative ways to stay relevant in a time of frequent disruptions to the retail business due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The frequent restrictions brought about by the two movement control orders (MCO) definitely put a damper on business at Furry Kids in Straits Quay so its owner decided to embrace the new normal by turning to online orders, delivery and even drive-through services.

Dalbinder Singh, 32, said during the first MCO last year, customers called in their orders and he would deliver pet food and other essential items directly to customers living anywhere on the island.

“I would spend the whole day every day delivering these items to customers as they couldn't come out and they were worried about running out of food and other essentials like pet shampoo for their pets,” he said.

Furry kids has also set up a website for customers to order online. ― Picture by Steven KE Ooi
Furry kids has also set up a website for customers to order online. ― Picture by Steven KE Ooi

He did not charge a delivery fee and would deliver even if it was a small order as he did not want to lose any business during that period.

He said he still had to pay rent so he still needed to have business to cover overhead costs.

“We still had to pay 50 per cent of the rental when we were asked to close the shop during the MCO last year so I accepted orders through phone calls and WhatsApp and I delivered to my customers,” he said.

On certain days, his car would be filled with pet food and he had to make several trips a day.

After the first MCO, he said many of his customers learnt to adapt to the new normal of ordering through WhatsApp, Facebook messenger or phone.

“More people are adapting to ordering items online so I have also set up a website for them to order online,” he said.

Customers can also make pet hotel bookings on the website, furrykids.com.my, he said.

While he was kept busy during the first MCO last year, he said business was not as good during MCO 2.0 this year.

Even after the MCO is lifted, he will continue to offer delivery service for customers who are wary about going out due to the pandemic.

“There are customers who don't want to come out so we will still deliver for free to places nearby,” he said.

Dalbinder collects items ordered by customers to be sent to them. ― Picture by Steven KE Ooi
Dalbinder collects items ordered by customers to be sent to them. ― Picture by Steven KE Ooi

As an added convenience, he even offers drive-through services for customers to pick up their items without getting down from their cars.

“They can call or WhatsApp their orders, pay online and inform us when they can come to pick up so that once they drive in, we will bring their items to them, there is no need for them to park their cars and come down to pick up their items,” he said.

Currently, the pet shop offers essential items such as pet food, pet supplements, snacks and shampoo for delivery.

The shop is also open daily from 10am to 8pm.

Furry Kids offers drive through services for customers to order and pick up their items without getting down from the car. ― Picture by Steven KE Ooi
Furry Kids offers drive through services for customers to order and pick up their items without getting down from the car. ― Picture by Steven KE Ooi

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