Southeast Asia: Grab and Unilever partnership to support small businesses

Soo-Eng Tan
Senior Retail Analyst

Date : 25 August 2020

Grab and Unilever will collaborate to protect Grab drivers and riders, connect small business retailers to online channel and dispatch products to retailers using GrabExpress drivers.

GrabProtect through Unilever products

Unilever will be equipping vehicles in Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines with Lifebuoy hand sanitisers and Cif disinfectant sprays, at no cost to driver-partners or passengers. The aim to bring greater peace of mind to drivers and passengers and help people get back on the move safely.

Grow income through Unilever ice cream virtual stores

Grab and Unilever will be setting up Unilever ice cream stores on the Grab platform. The orders will be fulfilled by businesses such as neighbourhood mom-and-pop shops and ice cream carts. Grab will support these businesses by giving them the option to create individual storefronts in the future. More than 250 Unilever Ice Cream virtual stores have been established across Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand. The goal is to reach over 550 stores by end-2020 through upcoming expansion into other Southeast Asian countries like Indonesia.

Expansion of Unilever products available via GrabMart

Unilever will expand its range of food, household and personal hygiene products available to Grab users through GrabMart. Orders will be fulfilled by Unilever retailers, helping them to grow and ensure resilient income streams. The data based on real-life behaviours  from different touchpoints across the Grab platform will offer valuable consumer and category insights to further support their business.

Additional income streams for GrabExpress drivers in Indonesia

Unilever and Grab will run pilots in Medan and Makassar in Indonesia to use GrabExpress delivery fleet to ship inventory from Unilever’s warehouses to retailers, such as grocery stores and mom-and-pop shops, in response to real-time demand. This will allow shoppers to receive Unilever’s food and hygiene products quickly even during peak periods and create additional income opportunities for Grab’s delivery-partners.

What do we think?

Connecting warehouses to traditional businesses using last-mile delivery providers is a great way to support the distribution network when demand surges.  These collaborations are modernising traditional businesses, making their products available online and creating opportunities to reach more shoppers. It provides small businesses a chance to become more relevant as shoppers increasingly turn to online shopping to fulfil their needs. It can also improve their product assortment and optimise their sales over the longer term.