Availability Online

On-demand shopping is gaining traction in Southeast Asia, putting pressure on brands to make sure that the products they are optimising for ecommerce are in stock. 

Fill out the form below to access a case study on Unilever and Foodpanda's partnership for on-demand ice-cream delivery!


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Since 2020, Southeast Asia’s digital economy has seen a considerable surge in online shoppers. The region is home to more than 400 million internet users, 70 million of whom turned to online shopping during the pandemic. 

As more people in the region go online to meet their daily needs, including travel, groceries and household essentials, their expectations of the shopping experience have risen. Beyond price and product quality, availability and delivery speed are also influencing the path to purchase. 

To keep up with shopper expectations, a slew of innovative new business models have emerged in response, enabling Southeast Asia’s retailers to get products to shoppers in their homes on the same day, or even within the hour. Known as “quick commerce” or “Q commerce”, these models’ main draw is their speed and on-demand availability, and brands are paying attention.  

According to forecasts by Edge by Ascential’s retail data and research portal Edge Retail Insight, quick commerce’s gross merchandise value (GMV) worldwide grew by 72%. In 2021, China was the most advanced market for quick commerce — after North America,  accounting for 43% of the total quick commerce share. 

In Southeast Asia, a number of different on-demand delivery players leaped at the opportunity offered by quarantine lockdowns and travel restrictions. Consumers unable to travel or leave their homes opted for food delivery services to meet their needs, with this demand extending to other product categories. 

On-demand food delivery services such as Grab and foodpanda expanded their portfolio of products to include groceries, fresh produce, household goods, and personal care items. Last-mile delivery services such as Pickupp and RaRa Delivery instead focus on getting products to consumers as soon as possible. 

Food delivery services 

GrabMart by Grab

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Grab introduced GrabMart, an on-demand daily essentials service that offers its customers same-day delivery. After testing the concept in a handful of Southeast Asian locations, GrabMart is now available in 50 cities across Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines. 

The service has so far partnered with 3,000 retailers, giving its customers access to fresh produce, healthcare, personal care, household items, and even flowers. These products are available to consumers either as soon as possible or at a later date, as per their convenience. 

Pandamart by foodpanda

First launched in Singapore in October 2019, Delivery Hero-owned foodpanda’s Pandamart is an on-demand delivery service offering groceries, beauty and healthcare products, and household goods. Pandamart operates out of “cloud stores”, which are built for deliveries only, and do not have a retail storefront. Inventory is arranged in a way  that maximises picking efficiency, so groceries and essentials can be packed and delivered first. 

Last-mile delivery services


Smaller companies in the region are stepping up to provide customers with a range of convenient delivery services using data. Pickupp is a logistics startup that serves customers in Singapore and Malaysia, offering express, same-day and next-day delivery options at affordable rates. Customers also have the option of receiving their orders within the hour, or, for those in Malaysia, collecting the items from a wide network of pick-up spots.

RaRa Delivery

In Indonesia, RaRa Delivery is an on-demand logistics company that aims to offer customers same-day deliveries. The service relies on proprietary technology to create batches of orders and optimised delivery routes based on real-time information, including traffic.  Both RaRa Delivery and Pickupp have partnered with external delivery agents, marketplaces and ecommerce platforms to offer access to a wide selection of services. 

Currently, food and groceries account for the bulk of quick commerce. However, it may not be long before other product categories such as electronics and healthcare embrace this new model, too. The rise of the on-demand delivery model and economy has transformed consumer expectations in a way that positions availability as one of the most critical characteristics for sales, reputation and long-term brand loyalty. 

Brands wanting to adopt an on-demand delivery model need to ensure their products are available online to consumers in the first place. To participate in the quick commerce landscape, brands must ensure that the product exists on their online shelf in the first place. 

Simply being in stock when your customer clicks that “add to cart” button can make an extraordinary amount of difference and will become more of a priority in an environment where household budgets are shrinking and customer demands are growing. Being available all the time on all the channels you sell on will become a key consideration for marketers in 2022. 


Availability Online Infographic


The dangers of being “out-of-stock"

The risks of being “out-of-stock” online are multifold. Not only will a brand lose out on purchases from shoppers that wanted to buy the product, but there are more serious implications, too. 

If customers cannot find the products they want from a specific brand, they will simply search for them on another platform. In addition, a potential customer could slip away if a product cannot be delivered immediately, or within the same day. Sometimes, they might stop looking for the product altogether, which translates into greater loss of sales and revenue. 

According to data from Edge by Ascential, businesses can lose up to 22% of weekly sales every day a product is out of stock, thus highlighting the need for robust real-time inventory management. Online search rankings for products can also be affected. Some retail platforms will simply remove the product and return it to its original search ranking, once back in stock. 

However, platforms using sophisticated algorithms may prioritise products with higher sales and conversions, and assign them a higher search ranking. As a result, out-of-stock products may have a harder time playing catch-up when they are back online. Furthermore, if products go out of stock during mega sale periods (Singles’ Day, Black Friday), brands potentially risk not fulfilling their business goals for that period. 

A sound inventory management system matters

The key to ensuring an uninterrupted stream of supply is an efficient inventory management system. The benefits of properly managing inventory are many - including better visibility of the overall supply chain and financial management, accurate real-time information about inventory levels, and protection against crises including inventory spoilage or theft.  

With Edge by Ascential Digital Shelf, brands can track, manage and optimise their inventory in real-time on leading Southeast Asian retail platforms like Shopee and Lazada. They can also analyse factors including assortment and pricing, identify underperforming SKUs, and use the information to address location-specific issues and leverage retail opportunities on the go. 


Southeast Asia is poised to be a hotbed of digital economic opportunities in the years to come. According to Edge Retail Insight, quick commerce is poised to be worth almost US$1 trillion by 2026, with more new shoppers relying on ecommerce platforms and social media to discover and purchase products they need right away. 

From product availability and inventory management, there are several aspects of an online shopping experience that brands need to focus on if they want customers to keep coming back for more. Our leading ecommerce analytics platform Edge Digital Shelf is designed to help ecommerce businesses succeed in online retail with rich, actionable insights and strategic consulting services. 

In a world where online shopping experiences matter more than ever, and the number of transactions are growing, businesses need to do enough to keep up with customers’ complex and multifaceted demands in an ever-changing digital world.


Fill out the form below to access a case study on Unilever and Foodpanda's partnership for on-demand ice-cream delivery!


Our capabilities in Southeast Asia

In Southeast Asia, Ascential Digital Commerce offers capabilities through Edge by Ascential and Yimian enabling brands to optimize their digital shelf, drive customer-centricity, compete and win market share, and future proof their business. 

Our Digital Commerce mission is to help brands and marketplaces win by optimising and accelerating their digital commerce performance. 

Edge by Ascential provides an unparalleled suite of solutions which enable brands to develop and implement strategies that maximize revenue growth, optimize product listings, drive margin growth, and outpace sales growth for both the category and their competition. We are unmatched in helping ecommerce practitioners beat the competition and improve their results: our customers grow sales 21% faster than their competitors who are not using Edge by Ascential. More than 400 global brands depend upon our weekly, daily, and real-time data-driven insights.

Yimian is a leading AI-powered commercial data analytics solutions provider devoted to unleashing the value of data, enabling smarter decisions for clients through data and AI technology. Using proprietary scraping algorithms, Yimian provides accurate real-time insights into both your own and competitors’ sales and share data over time. Using our own natural language processing technology, we help you instantaneously listen to and interpret your customers’ feedback in reviews and on social media. By keeping ahead of your own and your competitors’ performance, and anticipating and meeting your customers’ future needs, we give you the best chance of winning in a massively competitive market.

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