New app offers personal shopping service in malls

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 11 2022 05:06 PM

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MANILA -- A new app lets users ask professional shoppers to buy items from multiple stores in a mall and deliver them in 30 minutes or less. 

Available on both Android and iOS devices, MyMall is created by the team behind the on-demand service app MyKuya

Co-founder Shahab Shabibi said their goal is "enable shopping in seconds and delivery in minutes," with professional shoppers positioned in nearly 40 partner malls in Metro Manila to accommodate customers' requests.

In a recent virtual media briefing, Shabibi said they saw a need to improve the usual "pasabuy" service by tapping people with experience in retail, on top of delivery riders.

"It's really important because if it's a kuya who is used to doing delivery jobs, they don't know the brands, they don't know the stores, they don't know the mall," he explained. "So it's about revamping that approach and saying, let's go hire people who have experience in retail -- merchandisers, promodizers, cashiers, people who worked in the mall before and were laid off due to the pandemic." 

"We're proud to say that all of our professional shoppers are people who have actually been working in the mall, have been doing this job, and are thoroughly trained and tested to know the items you need very well," he added. "So it is like a consolidated 'pasabuy' service, but it goes much beyond that because you are actually dealing with people who know what to get for you."

Shabibi said MyMall "fits right into people's habits" as it lets them shop from stores that they are already familiar with, and buy the items they want without the need of looking through an entire catalog.

The app has a chat feature where users can send their requests in the method they prefer -- through text, by sending a photo of their handwritten shopping list, or with an audio recording, which is ideal for the elderly or those who do not like typing on their smartphone.

The professional shopper will then look for the products in the mall and update the customer throughout the process, particularly if there are items that are unavailable. 

"The apps that we have been seeing during the pandemic, many of them ignore the fact that not everybody is used to these very digital solutions. So if you still like to write your shopping list on paper, then you can do it," he said. 

"They (professional shoppers) go very quickly because they already know the mall and the stores that are there. If they need to ask anything, they can chat, call, or video call," he added. 

For its launch, MyMall is offering a rate of P79, which covers both the shopping and delivery fee. Shabibi said another thing that sets them apart is that users do not have to pay any markups or hidden charges for the items they want to purchase at the mall. 

"You actually pay what you would've in the stores. And this is not just interesting for consumers who are price-sensitive... but also this means businesses don't have to pay us commission. And this is critical because we believe these commissions are hurting a lot of businesses," he said, adding that they have partnered with malls such as Robinsons, Ayala, and SM to make the app work.

As for payment options, MyMall has MyKoins, which Shabibi said connects mobile wallets such as GCash, PayMaya, and bank cards. 

"We connected these wallets together and created a unified experience for our customers so that you can buy whatever you want, pay in whatever method you'd like, and ultimately make the transaction happen. You go to a shop, the shop only accepts GCash but you only have a credit card. You can pay with your credit card on MyMall and our shoppers will pay with GCash. That's the technology we have built and that's what we are proud of," he said. 

According to Shabibi, there is no limit in the number of shops where a user can buy from in a mall, but mentioned that they are initially setting a weight cap of 15 kilograms for every transaction. 

He said they are already looking at other delivery methods such as using a car or a van to accommodate bigger orders in the future, as well as expand to other areas such as greater Metro Manila, Cebu, and Davao.