Struggling shopkeepers at HCM City traditional markets learn to sell online
With traditional markets in HCM City struggling amid the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more of their shop owners are looking to sell their goods on online channels such as delivery apps and social media.
According to the management of Ben Thanh Market in District 1, most stalls except those selling fresh produce have few customers, especially handbag, clothing and handicraft shops.
Demand has dropped by 80 per cent compared to the same time last year, and around half the stalls remain closed.
An Dong Market in District 5 is suffering a 90 per cent drop despite a recent renovation that has greatly improved its appearance.
Nguyen Thanh Chau, head of the management of Thai Binh Market, said sales were down by half and some stalls that closed down had not even reopened for Tet.
Traders learn online selling
Traders in markets have been looking at selling online. Truong Thi Hue, who sells clothes at An Dong Market, said for the past two months her daughter had been showing her how to use Facebook and Vietnamese social media Zalo to sell her products.
Nguyrn Thi Thai Trang, another clothes seller in the same market, said after she took part in an online Cho Lon Market fair last September, she was able to network with many businesses, including Co.opmart, which greatly benefited her business and her employees.
She has asked An Dong Market also to organise online market fairs.
Foodstuff, fruit and vegetable traders in Ben Thanh Market are selling their products via delivery service Grabmart.
Duong Thi Thanh Thuy, a confectionery seller there, said while her family business had been relying on customers and tourists over the last 60 years, she now had to make use of technology.
According to Nguyen Thi Ngoc Anh, a bro (water fern) cake seller in the market, doing business through food delivery service Now.vn boosts her income by around 30 per cent helping it survive COVID-19.
Some traders said selling online had not been profitable so far since it was still new to them, but, nevertheless, these were new channels and in the long run could be more profitable.
Ben Thanh Market is working with the District 1 Information Technology Centre to improve its website to help traders sell their goods online.
Tran Huy Cuong, director of District 5’s Centre for Economic Development and Labour Supply Assistance, said the district had organised online fairs to help traders get used to using online channels. They were also being taught how to use social media to sell their goods, take photos and write about their products, he added.
According to Associate Professor Pham Khanh Phong Lan, head of the city Food Safety Management Board, many Tet food items are being sold online, a low-cost method that limits close contact during the pandemic, but safety risks are involved since there are no checks.
While traders on large online platforms are monitored, small ones that operate on social media such as Facebook are not well monitored, and so customers should look for trustworthy sites to shop.
The city reduced shop rents in traditional markets by half for the last six months of 2020.
While general stores and supermarkets are about to close for Tet holiday, e-commerce websites have stated they are ready to take orders even on Tet days.