Coronavirus: DBS teams up with local technology start-ups to help F&B clients attract online customers

DBS is working with two local technology start-ups, Oddle and FirstCom, to help its F&B clients establish an online presence. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE- Food and beverage firms reeling from dwindling business amid the coronavirus outbreak can tap on digital services via DBS Bank to attract online customers.

DBS on Wednesday (Mar 25) announced a new F&B digital relief package which will enable businesses to set up an online food ordering site in just three business days. This comes a day after the Government tightened safe distancing rules to further reduce the spread of Covid-19 in Singapore.

Supported by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and Enterprise Singapore, DBS is working with two local technology start-ups, Oddle and FirstCom, to help its F&B clients establish an online presence. The package is expected to be available from the end of March.

At a preferential rate, Oddle will support DBS' F&B clients by establishing a branded e-menu with integrated shopping cart, order management and payment gateways in up to three business days, enabling merchants to quickly establish a digital presence to reach online customers. Oddle will also provide training and a social media kit for merchants to boost online sales through digital marketing. As an add-on, Oddle will also help connect merchants to logistics partners should they wish to provide food delivery services.

FirstCom's services include helping businesses new to e-commerce to set up a digital shopfront in less than five business days. For businesses already online, FirstCom will offer preferential rates for digital marketing services, which includes setting up and managing businesses' social media presence on Facebook and Instagram.

FirstCom's solutions integrate DBS' digital merchant collections solution, DBS Max, as a payments and collections option. DBS will absorb the set-up costs for DBS Max and waive merchant discount rates for six months for FirstCom customers adopting it.

Adrian Yeo, owner of SLATE, a two-month old restaurant at Purvis Street, said that the going was tough, and that he intends to tap into the new scheme.

Mr Yeo said that he has seen a "drastic drop" in business in the last two weeks, with less than five seatings on some days.

He hopes to make up for the fall in business with the online ordering system by reaching out to new customers while retaining existing ones.

He added: "If customers are getting their food cravings satisfied online, then that is where we need to be"

Last week, the Ministry of Health introduced further safe distancing measures for F&B operators, including ensuring a distance of at last one metre between tables or different groups of diners. On Tuesday, it announced that groups of diners at restaurants should be limited to 10 or fewer.

Joyce Tee, group head of SME Banking at DBS, said : "As a result of Covid-19, consumer behaviour is likely to change as web-shy consumers are now pushed to embrace online food orders and doorstep deliveries. To adapt to the shifting business landscape, we are tapping into our digital capabilities as the World's Best Digital Bank to empower our corporate customers to transform their businesses to keep pace with the changes."

She added that the bank was confident the latest scheme "will help F&B businesses turn adversity into opportunity and place them in a stronger position to seize the growth opportunities that will emerge when this crisis passes."

There are about 8,000 F&B establishments in Singapore.

More details about the F&B digital relief package can be found at…

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