Rosdiana Nainggolan, a 60-year old merchant in Pringgan, Medan, first joined GrabMart after her sales dropped due to the pandemic. (Photo Courtesy of Grab)

Age is Just A Number When It Comes to Technology: Grab Merchants


JANUARY 27, 2021

Jakarta. Age is just a number when it comes to technology.

Operating online becomes a must for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to survive the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the MSME sector comprises a wide age range and many people consider the senior business owners would struggle more with technology. But the senior merchants who have joined the everyday need app Grab would tell them otherwise.

Rosdiana Nainggolan is a 60-year old merchant at a traditional market in Pringgan, Medan. She has been selling produce in the market for 30 years, but her sales drastically dropped 70 percent following the pandemic Rosdiana's child then suggested she should try out Grab's on-demand delivery service, GrabMart. This was after they learnt of the partnership between Grab and market operator Pasar Jaya in North Sumatera. 

Rosdiana initially refused her child's suggestion as she did not feel as tech-savvy.

"There were many challenges at first. I was so not used to it that I would pass [the app] management to my child. But when I saw online orders started to pour in, I motivated myself to learn how to manage the orders on GrabMart," Rosdiana said in a written statement on Sunday.

"Now, I can accept and manage the online orders by myself. It is actually pretty easy to use Grab," she said.

With orders pouring in since the tech adoption, Rosdiana even hired a relative to help her with the business.

Meanwhile, 65-year old Puji Hartono, also known as Cak Toni, used to be a contractor worker. Unfortunately, one of his projects failed and Cak Toni found himself in debt worth of hundreds millions rupiah. It was difficult for Cak Toni to find a new job at an old age. In 2016, he began to sell nasi bakar (grilled rice) as a street vendor in Cirebon.

Within a year, Cak Toni managed to pay off all his debt and rented a space for his "Nasi Bakar Cak Toni" business. In July 2019, he decided to tap into Grab's technology. Although it was difficult to get used to the app at first, Cak Toni never gave up.

"When confused, I never hesitated to ask an employee how to use the food delivery app GrabFood. I wanted to keep on learning until I know how to do it.  Fortunately, it was a breeze to use the GrabMerchant app. There were lots of tutorials I can learn from," he said.

Like many others, Cak Toni mostly relies on online sales during the pandemic. 

"Orders coming in through GrabFood really helps with the daily sales. My profit even jumped by up to 80 percent. I can maintain my income and I now have 29 employees," he said.

Cak Toni even helps to take care of his employees' children school fees.

Grab recently announced that the registration for the second batch of their MSME accelerator program is now open. The tech giant will provide mentoring and support for hundreds of MSMEs, including senior merchants. Registration is open until Feb. 7 and can be accessed via GrabForGood official website.