Singapore

Durians online and delivered to your door

One Qoo10 seller says he has sold nearly 1,000 durians since last month


Durian lovers no longer need to trek to Geylang or Balestier to hunt down the best deals.

The king of fruits can now be delivered fresh to your doorstep at the click of a button, with more sellers turning to e-commerce to beat the competition.

Durian sellers are listing their products on e-marketplaces such as Qoo10 or setting up their own websites to drive online sales.

Mr Tan See Thong, who runs Durian Plantation in Macpherson Road, said the company started listing its products on the Qoo10 platform last month and has since sold close to 1,000 durians online.

Online customers select their durians based on weight. The durians are then de-husked and packed into boxes for delivery.

Prices online are similar to those in-store.

"The (online) response has been good even though it is now a smaller season and prices are about two times higher than usual," said Mr Tan, who speaks mainly Mandarin.

"A traditional industry like ours needs new ways to grow, and e-commerce can help us reach out to new customers.

"We need to be faster than others to get ahead.

"In the past, if people didn't come to the store, we wouldn't have sales. Now, we're trying to be more active because this is the new way forward."

Another company, Fruit Monkeys, also recently started listing its products on the Qoo10 platform.

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Co-founder Bernard Tan started the business with a partner last December and opened a store in Rangoon Road.

"I have been eating durians for more than 20 years and could not find anyone who could provide me with consistently good durians," said Mr Tan.

"Usually people go to Geylang or Balestier, but they have to bargain, and they're not sure whether the durians are good.

"That is the gap we're trying to fill. We are looking for opportunities not captured in the older traditional business."

Mr Tan declined to reveal sales figures but said business has "picked up really fast", with online sales now contributing about 40 per cent of the total.

But the e-commerce market comes with its own set of challenges, durian sellers said.

"It was tough initially - we had to perfect the packaging and make sure we deliver good durians to customers within a short time," said Mr Bernard Tan.

Mr Raymond Ng of Lele Durian said the company first dipped its toes into e-commerce two to three years ago but subsequently took a break from online sales.

"We had to do our own deliveries, so it was tough to manage," said Mr Ng, who is helping his father with the business.

He recently decided to get back into the online game but limits online sales to 20 per cent of his stock while keeping the bulk for regular customers who visit his store in Ghim Moh.

Qoo10 Singapore country manager Cho Hyunwook said there are now six durian sellers on the platform, who have sold more than 4,000 durians in total since March.

"The main pull factor for these merchants - who have mostly never ventured into online commerce before - is the large database of customers that we have at more than 2.5 million registered users."

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