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Arcis Communications founder Stephen Francis enters online grocery market with MyGroser

Arcis Communications founder Stephen Francis enters online grocery market with MyGroser

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Managing partner of Arcis Communications, Stephen Francis, has launched an online grocery story, MyGroser, that delivers fresh meat, seafood, vegetables, fruit and dairy, frozen food, dry food, groceries, premium products and daily essentials. MyGroser targets Millennials, young adults, as well as senior citizens and families and is available on web and a dedicated mobile app.

MyGroser also has a selection of special collections including Items on Promotion, Made in Malaysia, Malaysian Favourites, MyGroser Specials, and Meatless Monday. It works directly with suppliers from global and local brands to offer Malaysians the same products that they have come to expect from their local supermarkets and hypermarkets.

Francis has been building out the team at Arcis for some time and will remain as strategy consultant to specific clients, while the rest of the business continues to grow and serve current clients. In a statement to A+M, Francis who is now the founder and CEO of MyGroser said it has been self funded to date and several million has been invested into the business to date.

MyGroser is currently looking for investors and it is beginning conversations with several venture capital firms and angel investors and are looking to find like-minded firms with an appetite for a growth opportunity in the region. According to Francis, the investment has gone primarily into the development of the proprietary software platform, front end consumer apps and eCommerce website, and its delivery systems.

The online grocery store also spent a significant amount on the cloud store as it includes processing and stock holding areas like a traditional supermarket, along with cold rooms and temperature-controlled areas to keep fresh produce, meats and fish fresh. The investment also went into stock and product to ensure it is able to deliver the freshest groceries, as well as the delivery and infrastructure and training of teams.

The branding and visual communications for MyGroser were developed by a joint team in house and with its strategic communications agency Arcis Communications. It is meant to evoke the friendliness and comfort of a traditional grocery store experience that celebrates food and drink and the memories around those.

"As Malaysians, we all have a strong link to the things that were important to us - families, our culture, our food and the intertwining of these. The name itself is derived from the Spanish word for grocery - groser - and the 'My' represents both the birthplace of the idea and the personalised nature of what we do," Francis, who also leads the marketing, explained.

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The team in Kuala Lumpur has 50 individuals and Francis expects it to increase to 100 in the near future provided the volume increases as the team hopes it would. Francis added that it is currently focused on building the first base in Kuala Lumpur and is beginning the process of looking at other cities in Malaysia. It also plans to expand regionally.

As part of its marketing push, MyGroser is working with blue-chip brands that Francis has previously worked with to raise awareness.

"We currently have a pretty focused approach to marketing that is centered on measurable and flexible platforms and strategies. This includes extensive Facebook and Instagram campaigns, some work on Youtube, and a series of billboards that are went live recently," he said.

According to Francis, the campaigns emphasise MyGroser's freshness, convenience and trusted messaging. Its delivery vehicles are also branded and besides social media, it is also relying on word of mouth to get the word out.

Helping consumers realise the hidden costs of weekly grocery shopping

MyGroser's USP lies in its focus on the freshness of its products and offering consumers convenience when it comes to getting groceries and fresh food products, especially with its temperature-controlled cloud stores.

"For instance, to our knowledge we are the only ones who deliver ice cream in thermal control packaging to ensure you receive it still frozen. We are also looking at savings through volume purchases with our suppliers - who are all brands already familiar to consumers from supermarkets - to then transfer these savings to consumers," he said.

According to him, MyGroser's competitors in the market are consumer habits, as they are used to going to the grocery store, supermarket, or hypermarket by themselves.

"Helping consumers realise the hidden costs of doing their own groceries every week - the transport and vehicle costs, time lost, productivity cost, stress of having to set aside time for this weekly, and the need to manage their budgets effectively as well as avoid impulse purchases," Francis explained.

Additionally, the online grocery store also introduced a "Voucher" section that allows consumers to save vouchers in their accounts and easily access available discounts. This helps them avoid the effort of remembering voucher codes to save money. Consumers also earn rewards for all their purchases on MyGroser, that are then converted into savings for their next purchase. Free delivery options are now also available to consumers through vouchers, rewards points and special promotions.

MyGroser is allowing for early sign-ups, and consumers and businesses that do so will receive free credits and free delivery vouchers for use. They also stand the chance to earn referral credits as well as other benefits.

MyGroser has about 9,000 items available and delivery service is currently offered in most of the Klang Valley seven days a week from 9 am to 9 pm. The areas include Petaling Jaya, Kuala Lumpur, Subang Jaya, USJ, Putra Heights, Shah Alam, Batu Caves, Cheras, Ampang, Puchong, Bangsar, Mont Kiara, Damansara, Damansara Heights, Hartamas, Kepong, Sunway, Tropicana, Klang, Bandar Utama, and communities along the Kesas, Elite, LDP, and parts of the New Klang Valley Expressway highways.

New items are being added weekly as the platform continues to bring new suppliers from Malaysia’s favourite brands on board its cloud stores. These stores, that include cold rooms and temperature controlled environments, keep products fresh and ensure they are always available to consumers. By working directly with suppliers from global and local brands to offer Malaysians the same products that they have come to expect from their local supermarkets and hypermarkets, customers get the things they love easily.

How it works:

1. After a consumer places an order via web or the mobile app, the order is processed at one of MyGroser’s centres. MyGroser operates on a Cloud Store model, operating its own end-to-end supply chain to protect and maintain freshness and food quality at every step of the process.

2. Dedicated cloud stores are modelled after supermarkets and contains cold rooms, temperature-controlled environments, and processing sites. Here, products from consumers' favourite brands are kept and processed before being sent to homes or businesses. This enhances the level of freshness and cleanliness of these products as fresh food is protected from excessive handling and the temperature of the items is kept constant.

3. When an order comes in, dedicated pickers and packers process the order, select items individually, pack them carefully, and have them processed for the delivery teams.

4. Delivery is handled through MyGroser’s own delivery fleet and, where needed, its delivery partners. These deliveries are done with thermal control packaging to keep fresh produce fresher for longer and to provide a superior grocery experience for consumers.

5. Throughout the process, customers can speak to MyGroser through its dedicated help chat that is easily through a question mark icon on the lower right hand side of every page of the website.

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