KLANG Municipal Council’s (MPK) online business platform Klang i-Plaza has given Ramadan bazaar traders a lifeline.
The platform was created by MPK’s Information Technology Department for the entrepreneurs to connect with customers. It mitigated the effects of the movement control order (MCO) in place since March.
Department director Nor Hasyimah Tamziz said that in the initial week before the fasting month began on March 23, there were fewer than 30 traders online.
“But the website has been growing in popularity, with people keen to support local businesses. Many of the traders are enjoying brisk sales, ” she said.
Klang’s annual Bazaar Juadah Ramadan was previously held in 45 locations in the municipality with 1,900 lots.
“It is uncertain times for a lot of businesses so traders were quick to embrace this alternative platform to make up for lost foot traffic during this fasting month.
“We now have 980 traders on Klang i-Plaza. Traders can post photos of their food on the site, ” she said.
Entrepreneur Nur Syahirah Mohd Yusoff, who bakes 10 varieties of cookies, had migrated her three-year-old business to Klang i-Plaza.
“Consumers are spending more time at home and people are online. Our sales of cookies via this new platform have increased.
“We used to sell 100 bottles of cookies in a month, now the orders have hit 1,000 bottles. Klang i-Plaza has given us a wider market reach. Due to the demand, we had to hire extra workers, ” she added.
Mohamad Shahril Jamil, who oversees his family business selling lemang, used to have a stall in Kampung Delek Kiri, Telok Gadong in Klang.
“The stall is closed because of MCO and I thought there was no way to earn an income. Then MPK told us about their online bazaar.
“It was not easy to adjust at first, but we found the orders coming in. Online business is an advantage as it gives a wider market.”
He said that although it also opened the business up to a lot of competition, he was confident in his family recipe and that customers would appreciate its authenticity, adding that his virtual stall also sold curries and meat dishes like chicken curry and beef rendang.
Shahril said sales were encouraging, with about 80 orders for lemang, priced at RM14 each, a day besides orders for accompanying meat dishes which were RM5 per packet. He has more than two dozen workers to cook the food and deliver the orders to all over the Klang district.
Entrepreneur Zamri Othman who makes rempenyek — a deep-fried savoury Javanese cracker — has found Klang i-Plaza a boon for his business.
“Before this, I used to get orders through WhatsApp groups but being on the website has helped me to get more business. I do get orders from other states but for the moment, I just cater within a 10km radius in Klang, ” he said.
He confessed that he used to be able to sell only 20 to 30 packets of the crackers in a week but now he could sell about 50 packets.
“With the help of my wife Lita Hashim, we make a variety of rempenyek that includes dhal, peanuts and anchovies. One packet has 50 pieces and it ranges in price from RM10 to RM16. Being on the website has helped us earn extra money, ” he added.
Hasyimah said Klang i-Plaza benefitted small-time traders.
“This online platform is MPK’s commitment to give traders an avenue to advance their business. The traders can register on the site for free.
“It is also aimed at helping first-time entrepreneurs to prepare for starting or growing a business. The site provides business licence information.”
She added that the Companies Commission of Malaysia was a partner for Klang i-Plaza, so entrepreneurs could also register their business via this online site with ease.
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