#Asia eCommerce Awards 2021 highlight: Central Food Retail Group’s online grocery bet pays off

Thai supermarket Central Food Retail Group wanted to improve its ability to bring its products and services closer to customers during the pandemic. To do so, the brand launched a campaign on Tops Online, its online platform that allowed customers greater accessibility to fresh food. The launch was so successful that the brand clinched the gold award for Best in eCommerce-Supermarkets/Hypermarts and was a finalist for eCommerce Leader of the Year at MARKETING-INTERACTIVE's Asia eCommerce Awards 2021.

Challenge When the pandemic struck, the lives of many people in Thailand were greatly affected. Central Food Retail Group needed to adapt to the ever-changing pandemic measures to improve accessibility to products and services to its customers. 

Solution To address this challenge, the team decided to leverage its retail website, Tops Online, as the main channel for all campaigns and promotional activities. The brand also decided to collaborate with various service providers and multinational FMCG companies to cater to the needs of customers and at the same time, give back to the community in such trying times. 

Execution

1. Tops Online  To drive sales of fresh produce, Central Food released discount coupons for fresh foods on their website and offered free express deliveries.

To ensure that Central Food can deliver on its promise of fresh produce and speedy deliveries, the team expanded its physical stores from 43 to 70 to serve as Tops Online Hubs. This allowed the company to cover more areas and increase its capacity as orders could be dispatched from the store nearest to the customer's home. 

2. Tops Fresh Truck

To bring its products closer to customers, Central Food launched the Tops Food Truck, a truck that carried 150 selected fresh products and essential items, parked at selected condominiums and residential areas to provide residents with immediate access to essential products. 

3. Partnerships with delivery service providers  To accelerate quick commerce growth, the team worked with Grab and foodpanda to highlight various products carried by Central Food through the use of discount coupons on the Grab and foodpanda platforms. 

Results The team's efforts paid off. With the additional Tops Online Hubs, the company's monthly online transaction increased from 80,000 orders to 120,000, with active users growing to 1.5 million from 800,000.  

The Tops Fresh Truck initiative was so successful that it attracted a partnership with the European Union trade to set aside one Top Fresh Truck selling only products from the European Union. The trucks were also used to bring essential products, sponsored by brands such as Unilever and P&G, to those severely affected by the pandemic and to frontline workers. This allowed the company to give back to the community as well. 

All in all, the team was able to achieve its objectives of bringing its products and services closer to its customers against the backdrop of a global pandemic and plans to continue finding ways to serve their customers better.