Tokopedia holds a press conference on Mitra Tokopedia 3rd Anniversary on November 2, 2021. (Photo Courtesy of Tokopedia)

O2O a Boon for Warungs, Traditional Vendors Amid Pandemic

NOVEMBER 04, 2021

Jakarta. The online-to-offline —also known as O2O— commerce has proven itself to be a boon for traditional vendors like mom-and-pop shops or warungs in facing the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a recent survey.

Last month, Indonesian technology company Tokopedia conducted a survey on the impact of its O2O business Mitra Tokopedia. 

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Results showed about 80 percent of traditional vendors —including warungs and small neighborhood stores (toko kelontong)— used Mitra Tokopedia, as an additional source of income to help improve their financial situation amid the pandemic.

“Nine out of ten sellers experienced a more than 50 percent increase in income after joining Mitra Tokopedia,” John Hadiwidjaja, the AVP of new retail at Tokopedia, said in a statement on Tuesday.

“[The sellers] said they could improve their welfare by having savings, paying their children’s tuition fees, and being debt-free.”

According to the same survey, almost 60 percent of sellers found they had become more efficient thanks to Mitra Tokopedia’s Grosir or wholesaler feature. The feature enables them to enjoy various promos and boost their earnings without the need to close their store during a restock.

“Buying wholesale products at offline stores is usually challenging for me as a person with disabilities. But since joining Mitra Tokopedia, stocking has become a breeze thanks to its Grosir feature. My monthly turnover even rose by up to tens of millions of rupiah,” Elisa Pakpahan, a wholesale product seller from Medan, said.

Ida Fitriani, an honorary teacher in Kutai Barat and Barokah Cell owner, also shared her experience in using Mitra Tokopedia.

“The ease of buying digital products via Mitra Tokopedia brings in more customers. My monthly transactions have also more than doubled. Especially during the pandemic, telephone credit and data packages are a necessity for working or studying from home,” Ida said.

As Mitra Tokopedia enters its third year, the government is encouraging Tokopedia to help more micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) embrace technology, in hopes to spur national economic recovery. 

“I hope [Tokopedia] does not only boost the number of warungs connected to the digital ecosystem, but also improve the digital literacy and welfare of the warung owners that are part of Mitra Tokopedia,” Cooperatives and SME Minister Teten Masduki said.

Tokopedia inked a partnership deal with the Cooperatives and SME Ministry on November 3, to bring more warungs and other traditional vendors onto the digital realm. 

Astri Wahyuni, the public policy and government relations VP at Tokopedia, said the company would offer mentorship to the businesses joining the program.

“The technical mentorship includes how to start a business in Tokopedia and register for a business identification number [or NIB] online, which will help them in accessing the government’s assistance programs and legal protection for their businesses,” Astri said.

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