, Indonesia

Here’s why HappyFresh goes all-out on tech and product

Out of its 400 employees, half are assigned to the technology and products department.

More than 50% of HappyFresh consumers continue to shop online even though social restrictions have been relaxed. This made HappyFresh decide to become more aggressive in their online grocery platform.

Based on the e-Conomy report by Google, online grocery service in Indonesia is predicted to contribute US$5b to US$6b, or around 3% of the total retail revenue in 2025. In Southeast Asia, online grocery shopping users account for only 2% compared to the 25% who shop for general products online. In an exclusive interview with Retail Asia, HappyFresh Chief Technology Officer, Fajar A. Budiprasetyo said that he would go all out on technology and products to explore this potential.

“We have a sufficient amount for our investment, although we can not share at this moment the exact number, we can share with you a depiction. Out of our 400 employees at the headquarter in Indonesia, we place half of them to take care of technology and products," said Fajar.

Since the beginning, HappyFresh has focused primarily on recruiting tech talents. This movement makes the tech and product team the largest division in the company.

“We want to expand our services. We can only achieve this if we go all-out on technology and products," Fajar said.

"HappyFresh employs a fast work system by prioritising agility and dynamic communication processes," said Fajar. "Every two weeks, we hold a sprint review where each team provides updates and feedback on the projects they are working on," he added.

Around 80% to 90% of HappyFresh employees are based in Jakarta. The rest are working remotely across Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia, India, and Bangladesh.

"There are around 700 supermarket partners in our network in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand. Last year, we also launched HappyFresh Supermarket,”  Fajar added.

Fast and personalised customer service

HappyFresh Supermarket is aiming to reduce and eliminate asymmetry between in-store inventory and those online. "Through the HappyFresh Supermarket platform, we have full control over inventory, so that stock can always be ensured," said Fajar.

Realising the need to provide other advantages to their services, HappyFresh also added two types of delivery services.

"One is express delivery where you order now and receive the items within 30 minutes," said Fajar. This type of service has its own challenges, such as the distance from the warehouse to the drop-off point and product availability. Currently, express delivery is still subject to HappyFresh’s assessment before the customer can proceed to checkout. HappyFresh can only provide express delivery slots to consumers within a certain kilometer's distance or have a basket size of less than a certain cubic meter. So far, express delivery services have been accessible in Indonesia (Jabodetabek, Bandung, Malang, Semarang, Surabaya, Medan, Makassar, Bali, and Samarinda), Kuala Lumpur, and Bangkok.

The other kind is a scheduled delivery service. “For example, if you shop in the morning but no one is at home, you can choose to have it delivered in the afternoon. You can order from 6:00 am until 10:00 pm at our HappyFresh Supermarket platform,” Fajar added.

“Consumers usually shop with repetitive behavior. So we developed a personalisation engine with our customer data that has been built up during our seven years of experience, where so far we have managed to record user growth of 300% by the end of 2021," said Fajar.

The personalisation engine is powered by artificial intelligence. For instance, a new user of HappyFresh goes to the application and searches for an item. He or she will see the most in-demand products. When the buyer searches again for the same item, the search result will feature the product that he or she buys often.

“This is because our personalisation engine has learned that individuals frequently shop for certain products. The personalisation engine finds a way to help customers save more of their shopping time,”  Fajar said. 

Quality check in every process

Quality is another top priority for HappyFresh. "First, we have a quality control team that ensures that the goods we sell are of the standard we want," said Fajar, adding that the way items are handled is also important.

“Good quality products with poor handling methods can result in damaged products when they arrive on the customer’s hand. To prevent that from happening, we have training on how to handle goods such as meat, vegetables, and fruits," Fajar added.

HappyFresh also has tools or infrastructure so that these items arrive safely with the same quality. "Each product category has its own standard operating procedure, there is a system, so we can guarantee the quality of the goods we deliver to consumers," said Fajar. 

According to Fajar, having to balance speed and quality is very complex. The system plays an important role in delivering the expected quality by the consumers. “In order to build the system and run it optimally, we chose to devote all of our resources to technology and products," Fajar concluded.

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