One-third of 4,500 hawkers spoken to using digital platforms for online orders, delivery: NEA, IMDA

Staff of food delivery platform WhyQ organising orders placed on the app before handing them to delivery riders at Tiong Bahru Market and Food Centre on June 15, 2021. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE- About 33 per cent of more than 4,500 hawkers whom ambassadors from the SG Digital Office spoke to were already using online ordering platforms.

Of the hawkers who indicated that they have not used any online ordering platforms, about 14 per cent signed up or expressed interest to do so after speaking to the digital ambassadors, the National Environment Agency (NEA) and the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) said in a joint media statement on Friday (July 23).

In a Facebook post on Friday, Minister of State for Communications and Information and National Development Tan Kiat How said there is "no one-size-fits-all solution" for hawkers.

"Not all hawkers are comfortable with online ordering," he said. "The choice remains theirs.

"Our aim is to share with them the available options so they can pick a solution that best meets their needs."

Recently, there were concerns about some hawkers' ability to pivot to digital ordering and delivery platforms amid tighter curbs on dining in.

Since June 20, digital ambassadors have spoken to more than 4,500 stallholders in hawker centres managed by the NEA or NEA-appointed operators, to raise awareness of online food ordering options popular with consumers, said NEA and IMDA.

As part of the SG Together Alliance for Action (AfA) - Online Ordering for Hawkers, these digital ambassadors explained to hawkers the unique features and benefits of various platforms, including those that do not charge any commissions or sign-up fees.

The 20-member AfA workgroup was formed on June 17 as part of efforts to help hawkers 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.

The workgroup is focusing on three areas to help hawkers here: raising awareness of online ordering platforms among hawkers; developing a sustainable fee structure for hawkers and consumers; and raising consumer awareness of hawkers' presence on online ordering platforms.

Individuals from various associations, firms and the Government are taking charge of these three areas.

For example, director of public affairs and policy at Grab Singapore, Ms Chay Pui San, and chief executive and co-founder of hawker food delivery service WhyQ, Mr Varun Saraf, are identifying ways to address platform charges that hawkers have to bear.

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