Groceries are a daily necessity. An average household in Malaysia spends about 20-30 per cent of their monthly income on groceries. (Households in the country are categorised into three groups — top 20, mid 40 and bottom 40. Of these, the second and third categories together comprise 80 per cent of the total households). Hence, any savings on the grocery can be sizeable, especially to the low and middle income group.
While there are quite a few apps to help the consumer compare flight tickets, hotels and electronics items, there’s none in the grocery segment.
Now, a less-than-a-year-old startup aims to fill this gap.
“There are various price aggregators in the market, but none for grocery,” says CK Soon, Co-founder and CEO of Hargapedia, a mobile app to monitor, track and compare prices of groceries.
“Unlike other price aggregators, Hargapedia comes with a price layer for the offline world, too. After all, despite the growth of online groceries, which is still limited to urban areas, a lion’s share of purchases is still happening offline, and therefore a price layer for the offline world is crucial when our dollar is shrinking every day,” he observes.
Hargapedia — a spin-off from Intrack Market Services, a B2B FMCG market research company — was launched in January 2018 by Soon, Mist Man and CS Ow. The app ranks products by retailers (both online and offline) with the best prices, making it easier for consumers to compare. The app tracks products on unique SKU level whereas other price aggregators track products by prices.
“Hargapedia is beyond just aggregating prices. Existing apps aggregate only prices and don’t show users which seller has the best prices for a particular SKU. We at Hargapedia systemically list prices for a SKU from the lowest to the highest, and also show the historical prices of this particular SKU to give the user a sense of whether the price is good or otherwise,” adds Soon.
The app enables users too compare more than 6,000 FMCG products across major retailers like Tesco, Giant, Mydin, Watsons, and Guardian.
Soon adds that new SKUs are added into the Hargapedia database on a regular basis. “We closely monitor on new product launches by brands and new packagings. Since launch, we have added 10,000 SKUs,” he claims.
As for monetisation, Hargapedia currently makes money by selling ad spaces. Eventually, with the wealth of data it has collected on grocery shoppers, the firm plans to monetise via retargeting campaigns. It also has plans to bolt on the data and insights into its existing SaaS offering to offer richer data to corporate users.
In 2017, Hargapedia raised a seed round of funding from angel investor Tan Swee Yeong, who has backed companies like Ocision (acquired by The Star), Hermo (acquired by iStyle Japan), and DeliverEat. The startup is currently in the midst of raising Series A round of financing, which would be used to expand into Indonesia and Singapore.
“We have already done our ground work and set up our B2B presence in both countries, and are gradually collecting price data to feed into Hargapedia. We are focusing on strengthening Hargapedia’s position in Malaysia, and once we have closed our Series A round, we will accelerate our presence in the regional market, especially Indonesia,” Soon says.