Customer-centricity takes Fly-Food to new heights

Amid the pandemic, value brought on by digital services has been more apparent than ever, leading to accelerated digital adoption globally. In South and Southeast Asia, 78 percent of consumers aged between 21 to 40 indicated to Deloitte that they have increased their use of digital services since the outbreak of Covid-19.   Specifically in Thailand, 58 percent of consumers report that they have bought more through food delivery services.


Riding on this trend, Fly-Food(飞象外卖) is one of the businesses that has thrived in the pandemic through the innovative use of digital platforms and technologies. Having said that, its success is more than just a digital transformation story.

A business idea inspired by a simple consumer insight


Back in 2018, a simple consumer insight inspired the idea of Fly-Food, the one-and-only food delivery platform at that time specialising in aggregating Chinese restaurants based in Thailand.


“I noticed that tourists from China tend to spend longer holidays when visiting Thailand. After the initial days of exploring local food and cuisine for the novelty and experience, most of them start to seek out authentic Chinese food for comfort,” said Da Peng, founder of Fly-Food.


With a large population of Chinese expats living in Thailand and the annual tourist arrival from China exceeding 10 million in 2019, Fly-Food took off almost instantly. The business has since flourished and expanded to multiple destinations including Bangkok, Pattaya, Chiangmai, Phuket and Rayong, serving specifically expats and tourists from China.


Beef up the digital strategy and adapt to win


“Covid-19 has changed the situation of our customers - some of them lost jobs, and some were stranded tourists, which meant a drop in spending power. We took immediate actions to introduce special promotions to help our customers through the difficult time, and concurrently launched safety guidance to protect our riders and customers,” said Da Peng as he recalled his first responses towards the pandemic.


At the same time, Fly-Food intensified its focus on serving the expat market with the launch of a mini program on Alipay, anticipating an increase in demand as widespread travel restrictions meant many of these workers couldn’t easily return, and hometown food was perhaps one of the best remedies.


Its swift action and the strategy to bring its services to where the customers are paid off.


Since the roll-out of Fly-Food mini program on Alipay, Fly-Food has experienced a steady growth of its customer base and repeated orders. Right now, the platform receives an average of 700 orders per day. The strong momentum has also attracted more restaurants to join its platform - 40 percent of its current pool of 1,500 restaurants was in fact onboarded the platform after Covid-19, some of which earn more than half of their revenue from orders through Fly-Food.


Fly-Food was also one of the merchants participating in Alipay’s joint campaign with the Tourism Authority of Thailand. Under the campaign, digital coupons were introduced to encourage local Chinese expats to travel and explore Thailand, thus creating revenue opportunities for participating local businesses. Fly-Food saw an average of 15 percent increase in customer orders during the campaign period.


“In the new normal, consumers are becoming more price sensitive, which means value remains the primary reason for consumers to spend. The digital coupons provided via the Alipay platform deliver such value. We also noticed that Alipay users are familiar and savvy with utilizing such marketing tools to get the most value out of their spending, which resulted in great participation rates and encouraging results. Separately, for customers new to us, Alipay’s reputation as China’s leading payment platform also provides instant trust and assurance for them to use the coupons for Fly-Food Services,” Da Peng said.