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Return of door-to-door sales: Some food businesses turn to traditional marketing method amid Covid-19 pandemic

SINGAPORE — While Covid-19 has accelerated the push for digitalisation for many companies, there are some that have taken a slightly non-conventional route in a bid to boost their business.

  • Some companies have started door-to-door marketing amid the Covid-19 pandemic
  • Some said they had to re-strategise their marketing due to the pandemic
  • One said it wanted to expand its reach among locals

 

SINGAPORE — While Covid-19 has accelerated the push for digitalisation for many companies, there are some that have taken a slightly non-conventional route in a bid to boost their business.

They have embarked on the traditional marketing method of knocking on doors to sell discount vouchers to residents.

These companies collaborate with Salesworks, a firm that describes itself as a “face-to-face marketing agency”.

Ms Shereen Anwar, the owner of Ohana restaurant, said that her business opened only three weeks before the circuit breaker — a two-month period in April and May where movement restrictions were imposed on residents in a bid to curb the spread of the disease.

“We had to re-strategise. We cannot have dine-in customers and we had just opened,” she said.

Hence, they came up with Ohana vouchers where, for S$30, customers can get 10 sets of food items at a discounted price. These are for delivery orders only.

Domino’s Pizza is also working with the same marketing firm to sell its S$30 vouchers door to door. The pizza company used to give out flyers at crowded public places but that was no longer possible due to safe distancing measures.

Hard Rock Cafe Sentosa is also another food and beverage establishment that has gone the traditional route.

A spokesman from the company said that it wanted to engage in neighbourhood sales to reach a larger proportion of local audiences and offer promotions tailored to locals.

This is because the company noticed that the popularity of the brand has been rising among locals recently.

While all three food establishments said that such a traditional method of marketing helped their sales, they could not share any sales figures.

“A lot of people of all races come to try our food. The reach is further,” said Ms Shereen from Ohana.

WHAT THE MARKETERS SAY

Among those who sell these vouchers are fresh graduates or students who are waiting to enter university.

For Ms Celeste Koh, 19, she took up the job as her pet boarding business took a hit due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ms Koh said her commission comes up to as much as S$500 a week, on weeks with especially good sales.

She initially planned to travel after graduating from the Institute of Technical Education, but had to delay her plans due to Covid-19. She also works other jobs alongside her part-time stint with Salesworks, such as barista work and warehouse jobs.

Ms Soh Xian, 21, has been working full time for Salesworks since August last year as she did not want a desk-bound job after graduating from her engineering and business degree at Singapore Polytechnic.

For Mr Shan Anders, 24, taking up the sales job was something he wanted to give a shot at as he was having some spare time before entering university.

He earns about S$300 a week.

A common experience they shared was how challenging doing door-to-door marketing was.

“When I first started, I was like ‘Oh, people are that mean.’ After a while, I got used to it. I just look forward to the next positive customer,” said Mr Anders.

Ms Soh said that she occasionally meets rude customers, but there were also many who treated her with kindness.

"Some of them are very nice," she said. "They give us drinks and food that they cooked."

Mr Anders also shared an anecdote of a customer who bought some vouchers only to tell him to pass them on to another person who needs it more.

Related topics

Covid-19 digitalisation vouchers

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