Bundle Mart: Connecting residents to independent businesses

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Design Challenge

#3: How might we learn from COVID-19 to reimagine our future for life, work, learning and play?

Project Description

Neighbourhood provision shops have been suffering from falling footfall due to COVID-19 and circuit breaker measures.

Young families do online orders and shop mainly in supermarkets. With COVID-19, online orders are delayed and queuing to enter a supermarket are common sights now.

With these two audiences in mind, we wanted to find a solution to improve footfall to provision shops and lessen the pains of delayed orders and queuing for young families. Thus, the proposal of “Bundle Mart”, a website for provision shops to offer product bundles, so that young families can browse, enquire before collecting and making payment at the neighbourhood provision store.

Criteria #1: Value

The provision shops that we surveyed are either run by elderly or families. Most of them do not have an online presence due to a lack of technical know-how and inertia.

Young families usually stock up in recurring categories (e.g. snacks, dairy products, dried goods and fruits) that are readily available from nearby provision shops, they “prefer” or end up patronising supermarkets because they have an impression that they are more well-stocked.

Bundle Mart provides value to the provision shop owners by boosting their online presence, while fulfilling young families’ needs to buy what they need without travelling far.

Criteria #2: Inspiration

We gathered observations during Circuit Breaker when we were doing our grocery shopping nearby. During peak hours, we noticed that our minimart is always crowded but the 3-4 provision shops nearby have barely any customers.

We started visiting the provision shops and realised that some of them stock rather interesting snacks and food items that the larger businesses do not.

Drawing inspiration from subscription boxes and bundles, we believe the idea can be used by provision shops as a new channel to get young families to shop there.

Criteria #3: Impact

The website creates a new channel for provision shop owners that is useful during COVID-19 and after COVID-19. The idea is designed based on their existing stocks, operation system and workflow so that there are minimal infrastructure changes required from them.

At the same time, young families have a new avenue to obtain food while supporting the local businesses that are around their neighbourhood. They might even discover interesting items that are not available in ubiquitous minimart and supermarkets! There is also the added benefit that they get their essential items while avoiding crowds.

Criteria #4: Timeliness

Phase 1 (4 weeks): Test and bring forth conversations with our neighbourhood provision shops and young families to iterate and refine the idea.

Phase 2: (8 weeks): Set up a team to create the website and work with the shops on getting their bundles.Confirm interested provision shops that would like to join the initial testing.

Phase 3 (6 weeks): Launch beta site, do guerrilla marketing to only beta neighbourhoods to get young families to try out this idea.

Phase 4 (6 weeks): Gather learnings from the beta testing, refine and assess potential to scale to more neighbourhoods.

Criteria #5: Systems Thinking

While larger supermarkets and stores have started having e-commerce solutions, small businesses have not had facilities to assist in their digitalisation in simply uncomplicated ways.

The website can evolve from aggregating provision shops to other businesses such as hairdressers or stationery shops, and user-generated listings and reviews can also be introduced to help build the community. Logistics partners and the evolution of the website into an app are also possible “add-ons” for businesses who wish to scale in that manner.