Online and offline: how two kinds of Indonesian basic food businesses experience Covid-19 differently

Indonesian online basic food startups like Sayurbox and Wahyoo have had as much as a fivefold jump in orders and are working to sustain strong sales post-social distancing

As the Covid-19 shutdown continues in Indonesia, two types of basic food markets are experiencing change in contrasting ways – one facing the challenge of adapting to survive, and the other overwhelmed by an unprecedented boom in sales. With different levels of tech familiarity, for some it is a matter of ensuring that their business thrives, while others will be glad if they can simply survive until after the storm passes.

Traditional market food sellers are vying for customers through WhatsApp sales channels and e-marketplaces like Tokopedia and Bukalapak, while their digital equivalent – startups and e-stores focused on selling similar goods – are overrun by them. Online shops such as Wahyoo, HappyFresh and Sayurbox are doing so well during the health crisis that they're finding it a challenge to keep up with orders.

Sayurbox had to close down temporarily for eight days early this month to "complete all incoming orders" and “Let (their) employees take a moment of rest, especially the on-the-ground team who have been

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