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#NewNormal: The rise of personal shoppers

By JESSICA PAG-IWAYAN

Covid-19 has changed our lives in a way we never anticipated. From how we interact with one another, the manner by which the education of children will continue, to the way we buy our basic needs.
With the implementation of social distancing in order to prevent the spread of this new coronavirus, our physical movements have become limited. Suddenly, going to grocery stores has become a tedious task, more than usual, because of long lines. No wonder, the demand for online shopping and personal shoppers such as Lazada, Grab Pabili, and Angkas Padala have sky rocketed. You shop in the comfort of your home, and have the products delivered right at your doorstep.

Personal Shopper
ECQ and online shopping
In a media press conference, Shahab Shabibi, founder of online service provider MyKuya, revealed that the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) has caused a spike in the demand for the services they offered.
“From the moment that the quarantine began, about 80 percent of our orders became about a grocery delivery,” he said. “Our team has been working seven days a week, double shift since day one of the quarantine. And the reason it happened is because we listened to our customers and we saw the need to service more than ever.”
MyKuya is a mobile application that offers various services such as grocery pick-up, delivery, and shopping through personal shoppers. In the app, users have to indicate their request, location, and how long the requested task will take to be done. Then the application will look for a personal shopper nearest to the area. Once a match has been found, the shopper and user will be connected through chat.

“The thing is, Covid-19 has changed customer preferences. More customers want to go online. They cannot physically got to supermarkets to buy their needs. And, the thing is, traditional brick and mortar retailers really lack the help they need to digitally transform their business,” he continued.

“Our super users have been doing grocery shopping, pharmacy runs, picking up things, and delivering food. And this is the new normal for customers and we are there to provide these services for them.”

MayKuya worker

One of MyKuya personal shoppers

Rising demand for personal shoppers
Shahab also said that, due to ECQ, demand for their services is 700 percent higher than before the pandemic happened. More than 50,00 people have signed up for their service since the quarantines began, which has given them a chance to open job opportunities for individuals who are interested to work as personal shoppers or assistants.
“We have more than 10,000 kuyas and ates (personal shoppers/assistants) with MyKuya accounts,” he said. “In an online job fair we had while on ECQ, more than 1,000 individuals signed up within 45 minutes.”
When asked about how they secure the welfare of their workers, Shahab said that a third-party company is the one dealing with the workers. But as the employer, they are constantly coordinating with their partners to make sure workers are equipped with protective gears and are following health protocols.
“We don’t directly deal with labor, and they’re managed by what we call as our enterprise partners—these are manpower agencies and specialized service providers,” he said. “Also, working during this period is 100 percent voluntary. Only those who want to work and accept the risks are able to do it. We have also limited the age of our partners to 45 to reduce the risks on their health.”
Shahab added that aside from personal shoppers and assistants, their company is also seeing the demand for other specialized services. “In the coming days, we will be providing handyman, technicians, and a variety of specialized services through our app. What we are doing is we are literally just listening to our customers—what they need, what services they want,” he said. “People’s needs for basic services, like getting things delivered, getting their food, getting technicians, and all these types of services, these are very inherent needs. They are not going to go away because of the pandemic. It’s just a matter of shifting and evolving.”

Mykuya.com.


Source: Manila Bulletin (https://lifestyle.mb.com.ph/2020/05/15/newnormal-the-rise-of-personal-shoppers/)

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