In the wake of Covid-19, a majority of businesses and industries across the board suffered losses that crippled the economy in a matter of months. Some of the worst hit were offline businesses that relied on footfall like F&B outlets and health and beauty retailers.
Swooping in to the rescue were tech platforms that helped even the most traditional of them go online, among them being Fave, the region’s fastest growing fintech platform that not only provides e-payment solutions to offline businesses and merchants but also opens them up to bigger pools of customers through online marketing methods including customer loyalty programmes, virtual gift cards, review ratings and more.
“We serve offline businesses so when Covid-19 hit, all of them were affected,” Chen Chow Yeoh, co-founder of Fave tells us. “People couldn’t go into restaurants. It wasn’t just F&B where there were a lot of shifts. In other sectors, like beauty and wellness, they couldn’t open at all.”
As an organisation, Fave took on the question of “how can we help?” following the announcement of the first Movement Control Order (MCO) in March 2020 vs the more prevalent “how can we survive ourselves”.
“Our role was largely in how we can support our merchants through this phase,” shares Yeoh.
They came up with Save Our Fave, made possible with partnerships from social media giants like Facebook and Instagram, celebrity names like Harith Iskander and Papi Zak and banking entities like Standard Chartered and HSBC.
“During this pandemic, people were no longer looking at what can I get, but what can I give and create together.”
Save Our Fave
Conceived in less than two days following the March 2020 MCO announcement and implemented across the platform as early as the third day, ‘Save Our Fave’ allows consumers to save their favourite restaurants by buying eCards with varying amounts of extra credit on top of the original amount you pay. Pay RM80 and get RM100 worth of credits to spend at your favourite restaurant, for instance.
For the businesses listed, Fave will pay them the amount even before consumers utilise their eCards, ensuring cashflow to stay afloat. What’s more 100% of what consumers paid for each eCard goes to the merchant with Fave’s decision to waive all transaction fees and commissions.
“During this pandemic, people were no longer looking at what can I get, but what can I give and create together,” Yeoh elaborates. “Different players came together to support each other and go through this.”
He adds, “Ultimately we want to build a long-term relationship, we are not here trying to make money from them. We are in it with them through good times and bad times.”
In helping their merchants, Fave found that they opened up opportunities for themselves in expanding their footprint, in terms of the partners they got to connect with. In helping others, they found themselves strengthened, reflecting the truth in how the success of a business is dependent on the success of their partners.
“One of the things opened up a lot of opportunities to work with big brands and platforms like Facebook, Instagram, DBS Bank, Singtel,” Yeoh shares. “A lot of these brands, we don’t get a chance to work closely with as startups. This pandemic and in our fight against it opened up doors.”
Identify opportunity, adapt, but stay human
Yeoh’s definition of resilience isn’t the standard one of lasting through tough times. He believes it should also include the human element, of how you endure and prevail while being able to help others.
“Tough times don’t last but tough people do, but also remember to do unto others as you would have them unto you,” he quotes.
It has to do first with adapting fast, of course. “The last year had shown how much we can all react and adapt,” he points out. “By now, if they announced another lockdown again, people will be able to turn around in a matter of hours and days now and do something.”
The way people run and plan for their businesses have changed permanently. “People are now taking things by the hour, no longer weeks or months,” he observes. “People are evolving and so should companies.”
Then comes in the element of solidarity, how we can all come together to outlast the tough times and come out stronger for it. “In the end, we are all here for the long run and it is these tough times that will show what do you stand for. On social media, it really showed me who among my friends really cared for others.”
Learn more about Fave at the official website here.