Home-based businesses feel the pinch following transition to endemic phase but still prefer online platforms

·4-min read
Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, June 18 — The Covid-19 pandemic and prolonged movement restrictions since 2020 saw a boom in home-based businesses.

Thanks to numerous online shopping platforms, many home-based businesses including in the food and beverage sector emerged and had a significantly successful run over the past two years.

However, following the transition to the endemic phase and reopening of all business sectors, it appears that the consumers’ focus is shifting back from home-based food providers to restaurants.

Malay Mail spoke to a few home-based business operators to better understand what challenges they face to stay afloat as consumers’ purchasing trend changes again.

The transition to the endemic phase saw more people dining out and visiting shopping malls.

The Covid-19 pandemic and movement restrictions led to the emergence of many home-based businesses. — Pxhere.com pic  Picture by Firdaus Latif  
The Covid-19 pandemic and movement restrictions led to the emergence of many home-based businesses. — Pxhere.com pic Picture by Firdaus Latif

The Covid-19 pandemic and movement restrictions led to the emergence of many home-based businesses. — Pxhere.com pic  Picture by Firdaus Latif

Slowly but surely

While the transition to the endemic phase was a prosperous one for many businesses, it sliced the income for the home-based businesses that captured the online consumers during the movement restriction period.

According to Garlic & Chilli KL owner Mohammad Fareez Mohammed Khairi Tan, sales started to decline following the reopening of restaurants when compared to the lockdown period.

“Competing with restaurants is very challenging, but we are doing our best to promote our brand now.”

Shuyu Bakery owner Lim Sze Teng also experienced a revenue decline over the past few months after all business sectors reopened and more people started dining out.

Shuyu Bakery experienced a revenue decline during the endemic phase but continues to manage her business from home and on Sama-Sama Lokal platform. — Picture courtesy of Shuyu Bakery 
Shuyu Bakery experienced a revenue decline during the endemic phase but continues to manage her business from home and on Sama-Sama Lokal platform. — Picture courtesy of Shuyu Bakery

Shuyu Bakery experienced a revenue decline during the endemic phase but continues to manage her business from home and on Sama-Sama Lokal platform. — Picture courtesy of Shuyu Bakery

“It does have challenges because customers have more food choices and they may not be buying from us as often.

“I’m worried that customers might forget us because we are not a well-known brand and it is difficult to retain customers without promotions.”

The situation for Dolly Bakes KL was however rather different after the government allowed events to carry on.

“I am receiving more large orders to cater mostly for weekend parties.

Dolly Bakes KL owner Nur Nazreen Adriyana Roslan making cakes for her clients. — Picture courtesy of Dolly Bakes KL. 
Dolly Bakes KL owner Nur Nazreen Adriyana Roslan making cakes for her clients. — Picture courtesy of Dolly Bakes KL.

Dolly Bakes KL owner Nur Nazreen Adriyana Roslan making cakes for her clients. — Picture courtesy of Dolly Bakes KL.

“Luckily people always need cakes and we have some customers who order for their offices too,” said the owner Nur Nazreen Adriyana Roslan.

Dolly Bakes KL offers scrumptious cakes and desserts. — Picture courtesy of Dolly Bakes KL
Dolly Bakes KL offers scrumptious cakes and desserts. — Picture courtesy of Dolly Bakes KL

Dolly Bakes KL offers scrumptious cakes and desserts. — Picture courtesy of Dolly Bakes KL

Maybank Sama-Sama Lokal remains the preferred method for home-based sellers

Despite the sales decline faced by some of the home-based business operators, they still prefer to keep their operating method as the perks outweigh the challenges.

Fareez said operating from home offers time flexibility as he gets to spend more time with his family while running the business from the comfort of his home.

Additionally, he said being a home-based business means no rental commitments.

“Leveraging on a third-party platform to sell our products really helps to make our job easier in terms of exposure and getting a new customer base.

“Sama-Sama Lokal is the only third-party platform that we are using now and we are really grateful that the promotions and campaigns have really helped to boost our sales.”

Lim also said that she prefers to maintain her business at home as it keeps the expenditure at a minimum.

“It is less risky than starting a brick-and-mortar business.

“You can also have the flexibility and adjust the working hours.”

Echoing similar sentiments, Nur Nazreen said one of the biggest perks of having a home-based business is that she gets to run her bakery and be with her children at the same time.

“As a mother, I have the option of baking and frosting the cakes with my kids around.

“It is a more laid-back environment and the cakes will have homemade vibes and flavours.”

Similarly, Lim and Nur Nazreen operate their business using Maybank’s Sama-Sama Lokal platform.

They both said the platform is user-friendly and has offered them good leads to build and expand their customer base while running their business from home.

“As a business owner, we always try to maximise our profit while providing reasonable prices for our customers.

“It is a win-win situation for my customers, as they also get to enjoy my homemade cakes at discounted prices with a promo of the month from Sama-Sama Lokal platform,” said Nur Nazreen.

Sama-Sama Lokal is a zero-commission digital platform by Maybank Malaysia for SMEs, neighbourhood traders, and home-based businesses.

The platform was launched in April 2020 during the first movement control order with the aim to help small businesses in the local neighbourhoods such as hawkers, sundry shops and family-run restaurants.

The platform helps merchants have an online presence and market their products or services to a wide range of audience including Maybank’s own customer base.

Additionally, the bank does not charge any registration, set-up or transaction fee.

This means merchants get to keep all the earnings.

To find out more about the platform, surf over here.

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