Durian. Love it or hate it, there is no denying this polarising thorny fruit is as synonymous with Malaysian culture as nasi lemak and teh tarik. Being the King of Fruits, though, doesn’t give it immunity to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The weather, too, has not been kind—high rainfall has affected yields.
The Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority (FAMA) expects a lower-than-normal yield of below 300,000 metric tonnes this durian season, exacerbated by the lack of manpower due to the ongoing Movement Control Order (MCO).
That said, the authority remains optimistic for the durian industry for the year. Most durian sellers foresee demand remaining strong—both domestically and internationally, primarily from the Singaporean and Chinese markets.
While COVID-19 has dealt a crippling blow to businesses, it has also served as a catalyst for businesses to shift, adapt, innovate, and embrace technology.
Interestingly, Shopee found that Malaysian durian sellers have been unperturbed by the disruptions and have been progressive in their approach to e-commerce. The leading e-commerce platform discovered durian farmers from across the country are bringing their offerings of D24, Musang King, XO, Hor Lor, Udang Merah, and more, online.
Many have also launched creative campaigns such as Duduk Rumah, Makan Durian to reach online customers.
Shan Cheng Durian, that used to take tourists at its 12-acre farm in Balik Pulau, Penang, revealed that tourists have stopped visiting the farm due to the coronavirus outbreak. Now selling online via Shopee, the durian seller continues to find ways to keep durians fresh.
“There are many things to consider when going online. Freshness of the durian is one of them. To ensure that our customers receive the best quality, we collect the durians from the farm in the morning, open and repack into boxes and vacuum pack them before it goes out for delivery on the same day. With so many sellers online competing for sales, it boils down to quality, service and price to win the crowd,” said Leow E Shuen, co-founder and business manager of Shan Cheng Durian Penang.
Puchong-based Mountain Cat Durian, who produces processed products like durian puffs and ice-cream, revealed that they have been hit hard by the pandemic. Sales have nosedived by 50 per cent, attributed to low business-to-business (B2B) demand from the bakery and confectionary sector, as well as food and beverage merchants. Its 20-acre durian farm in Broga, Negeri Sembilan, is also experiencing financially strain from overhead expenses such as labour and factory commitments.
“With our offline and B2B sales being hit amid rising cost pressures, we realised it was time for us to explore an offline-to-online model to sustain the business and ensure that our durians do not go to waste. Prior to selling online, we only had a few orders in a month; but now on Shopee, we receive orders every day. The current circumstance is an eye opener for us – it showed us that we cannot be complacent in our approach by ignoring the digital world,” shared Ma Tuck Mun, founder of Mountain Cat. Their Musang King pulp is currently their bestseller on Shopee.
It’s durian season on Shopee
Shopee revealed that the keyword “durian” is starting to trend, signifying a growing interest in the fruit as the season kicks off. To help durian sellers retain their incomes and to give Malaysians their seasonal durian fix, Shopee will be featuring both Shan Cheng Durian and Mountain Cat, together with 500 other durian and fruit sellers in its 6.6 Super Sale.
The Shopee 6.6 Super Sale runs from now until 6 June 2020. Look out for durians at MYR0.66 during Shocking Sale events, with an added 10 per cent in-store discounts for selected sellers throughout the campaign.
6.6 Super Sale deals
Needless to say there will be plenty of deals and steals during Shopee’s super sale event. Deals start from MYR0.66, with free shipping with a minimum spend of MYR16, as well as daily MYR6 vouchers, and more.
It’s not all just shopping. Shopee has plenty of entertainment lined up as part of its 6.6 Shopee Live Festival, featuring Taiwanese pop starts Alien Huang, Emma Wu, Tiffany Hsu, Sam Tseng and Blaire Chang as well as local stars Nabila Razali, Pongpong, Shalma Eliana and Yonnyboii. The session will culminate with Malaysia’s queen of pop Dato’ Sri Siti Nurhaliza on 6 June. Users can also play Shopee Poly, Shopee Treasure Box, Shopee Catch, Flip & Match, and more.
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