E-bazaar Merchants are Going Digital

DBS spreads instant cheer to more than 800 merchants on Ramadan E-Bazaar platform, BazaarRia Initiative in line with the bank’s efforts to support SMEs and sustain livelihoods during these challenging times

E-bazaar merchant payment solution

With the annual Ramadan festivities and the bazaars that go with the season having to make the leap to go digital in just days, DBS announced that it is helping more than 800 merchants on e-Bazaar platform, BazaarRia, to get paid instantly.

To prepare for Hari Raya Puasa, which marks the end of Ramadan, bazaars sell everything from home decorations and clothing to sweet treats and electronics. However, due to extended circuit breaker measures, all physical Ramadan bazaars have been cancelled, leaving many merchants with a sudden and unexpected loss in income and cashflow. Many of these merchants, which often transact in cash, also tend to depend on Ramadan bazaars across various townships in Singapore to make up a good percentage of their annual revenue.

To address the income and cashflow gap arising from the cancellation of physical bazaars, e-bazaar platforms have been stepping up to help bring merchants online. However, most e-bazaar payment methods tend to accept only credit card payments – making it inaccessible to the one in four Singaporeans who do not have one[1], and also limiting the clientele that merchants can reach out to. BazaarRia stands out from the crowd as its payment systems are integrated with DBS MAX, which is DBS’ mobile-based QR payment collection solution enabling businesses to receive funds instantly. Because of that, credit cards are not required for payment and customers can pay through an instant bank transfer made through his or her mobile phone.

All a customer needs to do after finalising the basket of items to be purchased, is to use his/her mobile phone to scan the automatically generated PayNow QR code on the BazaarRia payment page, and the funds will be instantly sent to the merchant, completing the sale in just a few seconds. In turn, merchants enjoy real-time collection of payments which will be automatically consolidated into their bank accounts.

Shee Tse Koon, DBS Singapore CEO, said, “As a country that is rich in culture and heritage, Ramadan and the lead-up to Hari Raya Puasa is an important part of our social calendar. We hope that by empowering merchants to transact digitally in double quick time, we can spark joy by bringing the spirit of the season back to the homes of Singaporeans and sustain the livelihoods of small businesses. We see ourselves as having an integral role to play in helping businesses tide through this crisis, emerging stronger together.”

DBS Bank worked with its client, Mi Planets Pte Ltd (Mi Planets), which is the platform developer for BazaarRia, to integrate the bank’s digital payments and collections solution, DBS MAX, into the e-Bazaar platform.

Abu Bakar Mohd Nor, Chairman and CEO of Mi Planets, said, “Many businesses have been disrupted this Ramadan period, and we wanted to find a way to help to keep the festivities going by helping businesses go online. We needed a bank partner to help us implement a reliable payment gateway and we decided to work with DBS due to its leadership in digital payment platforms and extensive banking network in Singapore. We’re glad that with the support of the bank, we managed to integrate DBS MAX into BazaarRia in just one month, despite the challenges faced during this extended circuit breaker period. We look forward to continuing this partnership with DBS as we grow our business.”

Normah Abas, owner of floral decor business, ZN Exclusive Creation, said that this year has been the most challenging Ramadan and Hari Raya season she has experienced since she set up shop five years ago. “With the circuit breaker measures, our sales went down to zero for a period of time as we were stuck with the closure of all physical Ramadan bazaars in Singapore. We’re grateful for the support from DBS and Mi Planet in helping us bring our business online onto BazaarRia in just one week, without which, we would have been left stranded with heavy losses from an oversupply of inventory.”

Helping businesses to fast-track their transition towards digital payments
Helping SME customers bank, trade and transact digitally is a priority for DBS during the circuit breaker period, with more SMEs looking to go digital to create new income streams. DBS has been working closely with its SME clients since 2018 to educate and encourage these businesses to transition to digital payment adoption.

This has led to a healthy pick-up in adoption rates for DBS digital payment solutions, such as DBS MAX, which has seen transaction volumes increase more than six-fold in the first quarter of the year, compared with the same period a year ago. DBS has also seen healthy traction in PayNow Corporate registrations, with 44% market share of Singapore’s PayNow Corporate registrations and more than half of the industry’s market share in terms of transaction and trade volumes.

The bank has also rolled out complimentary webinars and online courses to further ease customers into the world of digital banking. To date, over 800 clients have been trained on how they can transact, trade and manage their banking needs from the comfort of their home offices.
This article was first published in DBS Newsroom in May 2020.

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