WHO would’ve thought a 50-year-old company, so deep-rooted in the culture and customs of selling traditional dried seafood would go digital?
What makes it more significant is how the shop grew from a humble roadside stall back in 1972 when Central Market was an actual wet market, with loyal homemakers who thronged the stall daily for their sundry produce.
But the path Chai Huat Hin Trading took to successfully digitalise today is nothing short of inspiring.
“Chai Huat Hin was founded by my grandfather and his business partners,” said Lana Ng who heads the company’s eCommerce business development unit.
Eventually, her grandfather became the sole proprietor and moved the entire roadside business to a shop lot which is now located in the heart of Kuala Lumpur.
Over time, Chai Huat Hin’s reputation became known for selling quality products among its many dedicated patrons, right into their golden years.
Today, the business has an additional online presence at www.chaihuathin.com.
Site visitors and the curious minded can scroll through its clean, intuitive pages to make purchases – from dried shiitake mushrooms to goose liver sausages and even the exotic Amoy lychee vinegar sauce from Hong Kong.
It touts daily delivery with replacements on the same day or the day after to satisfy the customer’s expectations.
The digitalising journey
Then in 2016, the family business was continued by Ng’s uncle. Under his leadership, he envisioned the expansion of Chai Huat Hin on a digital landscape.
“That was how I came into the picture,” she said.
Shifting to an online e-commerce space was the next step to growing the business as walk-in sales have drastically slowed down.
“We recognised this and decided to educate our customers to shop online. It’s easier for them as it is for us. Besides, parking around Petaling Street is a hassle.”
In the very early stages, Chai Huat Hin started its digital journey by selling at an online marketplace. But later down the line, Ng discovered that her uncle had previously set up a website for the shop.
However, with no dedicated team managing the site, the outcome was far from the expectations.
“I looked at it and identified parts that needed change – the layout was dated, and the interface was standard. Plus, it wasn’t even mobile-friendly,” Ng explained.
At about the same time, she noticed advertisements by Maxis Business and was intrigued.
“I’ve also heard plenty of good things and positive reviews from a mutual client of both Maxis and Chai Huat Hin. That piqued my interest even more.”
After a fruitful discussion, Ng decided to get on board the digitalising journey by signing up for Maxis Business Cloud POS Lite and Business 4G WiFi with Maxis Business – officially marking a new era for the heritage business.
Facing a new frontier
From the end of 2016 to early 2017, the new website was starting to take shape. It was during this period that the company realised the potential of tapping into a younger market of shoppers.
With the average age of customers being 60, many still prefer visiting the physical store to “feel” the products before making their purchases. But due to the pandemic, the entire landscape took a turn.
“We consider ourselves to be lucky (during the pandemic) because our website was already up and running by then,” said Ng.
“Customers became more receptive and were willing to give online shopping a chance.”
Through the right tools with digitalisation, she was also able to concentrate on reaching out to younger customers, and to convince the new customer that shopping for traditional products and food can be easy, satisfying and just as rewarding.”
One way Ng and the team approached it was by firing up the company’s online presence on social media.
This is done through content that shows the many oway to cook using ingredients from the store.
Connected in all ways
While businesses adapt to the new normal and customers slowly return to the physical store, safety remains at the top of mind.
As the consensus of the public shifted towards social distancing, contactless payment is now the preferred choice of making transactions and payments.
With Maxis Business Cloud POS Lite, Ng not only gets to manage online sales easily, but also offer contactless payment options for customers.
The solution also helps Chai Huat Hin create a more convenient shopping experience, from online to offline.
Another noteworthy enhancement to Chai Huat Hin’s operations is the addition of Maxis Business 4G WiFi.
The solution doubles the productivity and efficiency of the day-to-day by allowing the business to stay connected in all ways with consistent and high-speed Internet.
Ng said with Maxis Business at the helm, digitalising the company fully will certainly give her and her team more control over the company’s marketing and logistics, as well as the ability to further develop its own unique branding.
Chai Huat Hin is also a part of the ever-growing UsahaWIRA community, a 21,000 strong network of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) empowered by Maxis Business.
Aside from digital solutions, signing up with Maxis Business also opens the way for businesses to optimise their digitalisation touch points with the Maxis SME Help Squad.
Through digital solutions and the network expertise provided by Maxis Business, Ng wants to continue to drive Chai Huat Hin forward by staying connected in all ways.
With so many opportunities to tap into through digitalisation, she is confident that the family business will continue to prosper and grow in the coming years.
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