More durian sellers adapt to new normal by moving business online
Durian lovers have found a new way of buying the king of fruit, with suppliers going online to offer delivery services.
A search on Facebook showed up more than 10 such service providers.
Ms Jane Teoh, sole proprietor of Durian 36's online business, told The New Paper that this is the future for durian sellers in Singapore.
She said: "Going to choose your durian and eating together with friends and family is a whole experience itself.
"However, (the pandemic) has pushed us to go online."
When the durian season began last month, the Covid-19 crisis in Singapore was at its peak, forcing sellers like Ms Teoh to offer only takeaway.
Business dipped at first, but after Ms Teoh launched online sales last month, it picked up quickly. She said: "During the circuit breaker, about 90 per cent of our sales came from the online business."
Mr Reece Lee, 32, one of the owners of Durian Express Delivery, said he started his online business in December last year when he noticed a trend.
"It wasn't easy at first as people did not trust the quality of our durians," said Mr Lee.
One challenge of selling online is that customers cannot tell the quality.
Mr Roy Neo, 30, has also jumped on the bandwagon with Durian Betta House.
He decided to expand his experience of selling live betta fish on Facebook to durians.
He added: "Covid-19 made me realise that I should explore new opportunities, and since I managed to find a good supplier in Raub (in Malaysia), I felt the timing was perfect."
But not all durian sales and delivery online worked.
Reputable vendor Ah Seng Durians found it tough. After 49 days of online delivery, it stopped its delivery services on June 15, four days before phase two began.
"A worker said: "We started receiving feedback about the quality of the durians; they were too wet and runny."
Logistic issues such as late deliveries and lack of manpower to deliver the orders on time added on to its woes.
Another seller, Mr Chia Boon Huat, 65, who has run Kong Lee Hup Kee for more than 40 years, is sticking to just walk-in sales.
He said: "I still prefer the traditional way of selling.
"There's a personal touch and my customers can get the durians of their pick."