Singapore

Hawkers to ramp up digital presence and boost business

30 hawker centres to get digital support groups to facilitate group buys on Facebook

Thirty hawker centres across the island will boost their digital presence by setting up their own Facebook pages, through which residents and organisations will be able to make group buys.

Helmed by passionate individuals from the community and hawker trade, or digital hawker champions, the digital support groups for these centres will be set up from next month to December as part of a slew of initiatives to help more hawkers go digital.

Several online food delivery platforms are also coming together to trial a six-month "common acquirer" pilot scheme at 14 hawker centres. Consumers will be able to mix and match food items across stalls for bundle orders.

The pilot initiatives were announced by the SG Together Alliance for Action (AfA) - Online Ordering for Hawkers yesterday.

BENEFITS

The work group was formed in June to help hawkers impacted by Covid-19 to understand the benefits of going digital and to support them in using online ordering and delivery services.

It comprises members who represent the hawker community as well as food ordering and delivery platform companies Deliveroo, FoodPanda, Grab and WhyQ.

Among the 30 hawker centres in the Digital Support for Hawkers pilot are Tiong Bahru Market, Block 51 Old Airport Road and Chong Pang Market and Food Centre.

The digital support groups will facilitate community group buys on Facebook and organise tie-ups with organisations and businesses.

A digital ambassador from SG Digital Office will be assigned to each centre to coordinate the effort and launch the initiative, said the National Environment Agency (NEA) and Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA).

Among the 14 centres trialling the "common acquirer" model are Chomp Chomp Food Centre, Zion Riverside Food Centre and Taman Jurong Market and Food Centre.

WhyQ will manage transactions and payments to hawkers, with same-day payments and no commissions charged to hawkers.

Five centres, including Amoy Street Food Centre, Chinatown Market and Golden Mile Food Centre, are involved in both pilots.

Since the launch of the Afa - Online Ordering for Hawkers in June, 5,500 hawkers across 113 centres managed by NEA and its appointed managing agents have been engaged by digital ambassadors on how to supplement physical transactions with digital ones, said NEA and IMDA.

Senior Minister of State for Sustainability and the Environment Amy Khor and Minister of State for Communications and Information and National Development Tan Kiat How were part of the announcement yesterday.

DISCOVERABLE

Hawkers will have access to customers across all four delivery platforms. "This allows us to bring the whole hawker centre online, like a restaurant, where participating stalls are now discoverable," Mr Tan said.

Dr Khor said: "This helps the hawkers to prepare beyond Covid-19 because this trend of online ordering and delivery is going to continue... In fact, Covid-19 has accelerated the trend, and it is really timely for us to help the hawkers and encourage them to get on these platforms."

Food & Drink