SINGAPORE - Online seafood company iChef is expanding its physical retail operations even as more grocery retailers are moving into the online space with e-concierge shopping services and free deliveries.
Four-year-old iChef opened its second store at the basement level of The Cathay this week, and is also rolling out pick-up services around the island. Its first outlet is in Tai Seng, where the company's offices are.
A subsidiary of Suki Group - which operates eight chain restaurants here, including Sakura International Buffet, Saboten and Chabuton - iChef sells packaged frozen seafood items, such as snow crabs, oysters and prawns, as well as frozen beef and chicken, on e-commerce site Qoo10.
The items sold by iChef come from the same seafood wholesalers that supply items served in the Suki Group of restaurants.
Customers can head down to the stores to make their selection, or choose to pick up their online orders, made via Qoo10, from either outlets. Otherwise, free delivery is provided only on orders of $80 and above.
It is also introducing store pick-up services across its 10 Nihon Mura sushi restaurants across the island.
Singapore's online grocery retailer space has exploded recently, with nearly a dozen marketplaces opening up to offer fruits, vegetables, seafood, meats and other grocery products to busy consumers. Supermarket giants NTUC and Cold Storage offer a selection of its in-store inventory on its online store, while others like GoFresh, focuses on selling fresh produce such as fruits, vegetables and meats.
Homegrown start-up honestbee is a grocery buying concierge service that has its staff of shoppers pick up items directly from nearby supermarkets located close to a customer, while e-commerce services such as Qoo10 and Rakuten offer specialised perishable food items from its sellers, including frozen oysters, king crabs and salmon fish roe, as well as fresh seafood flown in directly from Japan.