During the fourth Covid-19 wave, Vietnam witnessed a surge in homegrown startups, toiling to turn the global crisis into an opportunity. Most of these startups kept themselves afloat and helped their customers and other businesses take the pandemic by the horn standing side by side with the government to tackle the challenges.
Vietnam’s one-hour delivery e-commerce startup Loship is among these startups leveraging technology to scale social impact and give back to the community during trying times.
Supporting the disrupted food supply chain
Covid-19 has placed unprecedented stresses on the food supply chain. Last month, Vietnam’s largest city and economic hub, Ho Chi Minh City, home to 9 million people, imposed the strictest lockdown to date: people were not allowed to leave their homes even to get food. As such, online delivery platforms have become essential for delivering food to millions of households across the city.
As people shifted to online services in a short time, Loship made extra efforts to meet the rising demand from customers. Since lockdown, Loship has recorded an exponential growth in order volumes compared to pre-covid levels. At the pandemic’s peak, online grocery orders on Loship increased sevenfold, whereas courier services and over-the-counter pharmacy orders also skyrocketed.
“We understand the important role our movers play in delivering goods at a time when no one is allowed to go out. We’ll continue to work and ensure that goods are delivered where needed and people can still have their basic needs met while staying safely at home. We aim to leave no cracks in the supply chain in times of social distancing,” said Loship CEO Trung Hoang Nguyen.
Facilitating SME digitalization
Covid-19 has highlighted the need to accelerate SME digitalization. However, most Vietnamese SMEs are ill-prepared for a radical transformation on such short notice. They have been operating on an offline model for generations and are unfamiliar with digital tools.
This lack of digital literacy is a hurdle. Aware of these difficulties, Loship has committed to facilitating the digitization of SMEs and mom-and-pop stores.
These efforts include tools and initiatives to ease the transition for brick-and-mortar businesses struggling to go online. Merchants can now quickly build an online store and get it up and running on the Loship platform in 24 hours.
The startup states that there are currently 250,000 merchants on its platform, 90 percent of which are SMEs. Nearly 80,000 retail stores have joined the Loship platform in the past year.
“SME digitalization is recognized as a priority by the Vietnamese government, and through our efforts, we hope to help these SMEs navigate through the new normal and ensure they are part of the growing digital economy. We also hope our efforts in supporting the online transition play a role to assist the government in maintaining economic stability during and after the pandemic,” said Loship CEO Trung Hoang Nguyen.
Digitize the wholesale market
The surge in demand for food delivery in the face of Covid-19 has led to increasing demand for food packaging materials and raw ingredients for local grocery stores. However, when the pandemic hit, many traditional and wholesale markets across the metropolis were shutting down, leading to an unforeseen supply disruption.
Capitalizing on the situation, Loship ramped up investments in its B2B operations, procuring raw materials and goods directly from manufacturers and making same-day deliveries to the store owners.
The move helped improve the efficiency of the B2B supply chain by offering thousands of traditional store owners a digital platform where they can stock up ingredients without going to the market and having direct contact with wholesalers. Also, Loship provides cashless payment methods in a bid to avoid Covid-19 transmission when importing goods during the pandemic.
Continuing to support the community
Helpful to customers and merchants alike, the startup also played its part in supporting the community during this uncertainty. The startup aggressively worked with local charities and nonprofits to facilitate the distribution of free meals and food bags to less fortunate communities, quarantined areas, and frontline hospitals.
These social support initiatives allowed Loship to fully use its delivery fleet while ensuring stable earnings for its drivers and creating value for society.
“Driven by a growing sense of social responsibility, we are focused on partnering with local charities to help mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on vulnerable communities. We are always on the lookout for opportunities to support the society, and we will continue working closely with various parties while focusing on the safety measures that will help curb the rise of the virus.” shared Loship CEO Trung Hoang Nguyen.
Loship stands by the motto that adversity can spur innovation, and purpose-led startups have a vital role to play in times like these. If startups can quickly manage to do what they do best and know where to innovate, they can save their companies and support their Governments in the fight to end the pandemic.