Convenience stores are on the rise in the country, especially from foreign brands such as Japanese and Korean, which are on trend recently.
“You see FamilyMart from Japan, the 7-Eleven from the United States, but we don’t have Malaysia’s own convenience stores that sell Malaysian brands and products,” the BilaBila Mart team said in an interview with Vulcan Post.
The team created Want Malaysia to have its own convenience store BilaBila Mart, a modern grocery store hosting groceries produced in Malaysia.
“We’ve always been a fan of local brands selling on Instagram and we wanted to make it more affordable to get their products on the shelves of convenience stores,” they explained.
Give visibility to local brands that can be afforded
BilaBila Mart was founded by 3 friends with experience in sales and marketing, finance, accounting, banking and investment.
They realized that the contribution fee that brands have to pay to enter the shelves of convenience stores was not cheap, which made it difficult for local brands to be visible. Your solution? Get rid of your ad share and instead earn only by sharing in profits with your brands.
“The percentage of profit sharing is on par with industry practice, and some are even lower,” they revealed.
They currently have over 100 local brands listed in their store, but the BilaBila Mart team also has some foreign products on their shelves. Local brands occupy 70% of the space, while the other 30% are foreign brands.
Landing a place on their shelves
To be on BilaBila Mars, a brand must be able to present itself well. What they mean by this is, for example, that the product must be visually appealing and that it must contain extensive nutritional and product information on its packaging.
In addition, the product should also have a bar code and be HACCP certified, demonstrating that it meets food safety standards. An example of this would be a local brand that we covered previously, Coffee at 3 in the morning, which meets BilaBila team standards for deciding which local brands to put on their shelves.
There is also no contract period for how long a brand can appear on the shelves of BilaBila Mart. Some of the OG brands that have stayed with them from the beginning include startups such as WonderBrew, Wild Kombucha, Kelava, i Kintry, to name a few.
That said, however, there are some brands that have had to drop out due to low sales.
Its ability to house more than 100 local brands today and expand to a total of 7 outlets was thanks to persistence, because the BilaBila Mart team shared that the start was tough.
Persistence is key
“It was an extremely painful experience,” they confessed, recalling when they opened their first establishment in a Mount Kiara mall on March 16, 2020, 2 days before the first MCO was unveiled.
“It was a huge mistake, because the mall had to close during the MCO. To make matters worse, we were very new, so no one knew about us.” Because of this, his business it did not start even after the start of CMCO.
Some local brands, especially the more popular ones, weren’t too interested in joining BilaBila Mars at first when the team explored them, for their novelty.
But the team also understood that these marks were only realistic and evaluated the benefit this association could have from the relatively minor follow-ups of BilaBila Mars back then.
What BilaBila Mars later touched on was the rent. They simply could not keep up, as they had spent so much on renovations, that they could not recover due to low sales.
“Our landlord, who was not Malay, insisted that we pay the full rent to the entire MCO. We had to talk to them a few times until they finally gave us a discount, but it didn’t help that we didn’t have a business,” he said. say the team.
In the end, this led to the closure of its first dam.
Hand sanitizers and face masks saved them
Of course, this was just the beginning of this saga of convenience stores. Like most companies during the early MCOs, they focused on building their online presence and sales to stay afloat.
Coincidentally, there was a shortage of hand sanitizers and face masks, which happened to have a lot in store. The increase in demand for these products was what made the BilaBila Mars team get back on its feet.
In addition to these needs, groceries such as bread and milk were also in high demand at the time, as people were too scared to leave home, thus contributing to their online sales.
These items reached almost every state in Malaysia, including Kedah, Perlis, Sabah and Sarawak. BilaBila Mart was not subscribed to Grab at the time and did not have their own website either, so their sales were only occurring via Instagram.
Incarnating the grocery store concept
When you enter a BilaBila Mart now, you will find that in addition to local brands serving more modern products such as cold beer and kombucha, they also have our simplest products today such as murukku, Super Ring and fresh and frozen products from farmers and fishermen. premises.
In fact, some of the aesthetics of her store’s brand are similar to the famous murukku brand we enjoyed in Malaysia during our childhood.
All in all, the brand makes it a point to get what they sell to the fullest, even down to fertilizers. For a company that started just over a year ago, expanding to seven outlets in such a short period of time is a milestone and the team accredits its group of investors.
“I think our convenience stores are different from others is that you can cook a meal outside of our store purchases because we have fresh groceries, which you can’t find in other convenience stores here,” he concluded. team take over the grocery store concept.
- You can find more information about BilaBila Mart here.
- You can read about more startups we’ve covered here.
Featured Image Credit: The BilaBila Mars Team