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How To Compete Against A Global Brand

Focus the strategy around customer satisfaction


Amazon launched its Prime Now delivery service in Singapore in July this year. For many of the e-commerce brands operating here, particularly the locally created incumbents, this global multi-national entrant made them sit up a bit straighter. 

One such example is food delivery platform foodpanda. Its managing director Luc Andreani does not consider Amazon’s Prime Now a direct competitor, but anticipates that there will be an impact nonetheless, particularly in the area of logistics.

“Building a strong, reliable rider supply is one of our greatest challenges here in Singapore,” shares Andreani. “foodpanda currently has more than 2,500 riders. As all are freelancers, and therefore very liquid, they go to whomever pays best and/or has the most orders.”

Nonetheless, he remains unfazed, citing that foodpanda’s strong local brand puts it at an advantage, “Despite the competition, we've been able to maintain and grow our market share because we really understand the needs of our customers and offer them exactly what they want.”

Andreani says they also work closely with other markets to understand food trends in anticipation of them reaching Singapore’s shores. Internally, operations, marketing and customer service work together hand in hand to ensure a seamless customer experience.

The latter, is something he emphasises repeatedly, taking apart the belief that going digital means less care for the human element, “We're working on a new app and front end, which will be live in the next couple of months. Within that are some really unique tech features, which we know will make a massive difference to our customer's experience.”

Luc Andreani

“ We are working to perfect the art of profitability. With so many moving pieces involved in e-commerce platforms, it’s important to ensure everyone is happy, from delivery riders, to restaurant vendors and logistics partners” — Luc Andreani, managing director at foodpanda.

When asked for tips on how incumbents should respond when new and more well-established global brands enter a market, he says it is important to master the art of maintaining a healthy bottom-line and sustainability.

“foodpanda Singapore is going to be here for the long term, so we are working to perfect the art of profitability. Customer satisfaction is always of utmost importance, but we also want to make sure all partners are content. With so many moving pieces involved in e-commerce platforms, it’s important to ensure everyone is happy, from delivery riders, to restaurant vendors and logistics partners,” he says, pointing out that these were the guns that they stuck to when Deliveroo and Uber Eats launched.

His advice for other business leaders who are facing the same competition challenges as foodpanda is to focus the strategy around customer satisfaction, as this is what ultimately drives success.

He points to how the company has value added by being the only food delivery company to offer halal friendly packaging. It also has 24/7 service and works hard to keep its list of vendors relevant and up-to-date. Foodpanda also recently introduced a function for its customers to recommend their favourite restaurants.

At the end of the day, whether it is a direct or indirect competitor opening shop, Andreani says there will always be a positive impact on the business. “There is still part of the population that isn’t familiar with e-commerce platforms. The launch of global brands [such as Amazon Prime] will help to further educate audiences on the positive impact and convenience of e-commerce.”