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Selling farm produce online: e-commerce sites compete to attract farmers

For years, farmers had to rely on the wholesale distribution method and could not sell products directly to consumers. But that has changed in recent years.

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“We get support from trade promotion agencies and e-commerce sites to sell litchis directly to customers in Hanoi and HCM City. We now feel more secure about consumption as we have one more distribution channel along with the traditional channels,” said Nguyen Van Hien, a litchi grower.

Hai Duong’s litchis are now selling on Postmart, Sendo, Lazada and Voso.

James Dong, Managing Director of Lazada Vietnam, said that one ton of litchis was sold within four hours. All the litchis were delivered to customers within four hours to ensure the freshness of the Hai Duong specialty.

Hai Duong’s litchis are also selling on Sendo. Two tons sold within two hours. With experience and advantages in online media, Sendo advertises litchi sales on Facebook, Tik Tok and Senlive on Sendo app, helping Hai Duong’s litchis approach many different groups of clients.

Postmart also reported that a large volume of litchis has been sold through the site. All the litchis on Postmart are traceable.

E-commerce sites are now competing with each other to attract farmers. Lazada and Shopee have strong technology and logistics infrastructur, and usually run sale promotion programs, offering price discounts and free shipping to lure consumers.

Meanwhile, Vietnamese marketplaces such as Postmart and Voso are weak at sale promotion programs. However, their advantage lies in large networks with deliverymen everywhere, including remote areas.

Hai Duong farmers have been uncertain about consumption and profit for years. Production costs have been increasing, while selling prices have depended on merchants. When they have bountiful crops, the selling prices drop because of oversupply.

Selling litchis on e-commerce sites, however, not only helps farmers boost sales in the short term, but serves as the best distribution channel for farmers in the long term.

According to Nguyen Duong Thai, Chair of Hai Duong province, farmers have had problems selling on e-commerce sites for the first time because of lack of experience.

The biggest problem is the farmers’ lack of knowledge on how to follow the sales process, how to take care of customers, and how to ensure product quality.

However, the problem is being solved with support from Vietrade and e-commerce sites.

Nguyen Quang Thuat, Deputy CEO of Sendo, said the company has sent staff to Hai Duong litchi growing area to give guidance to farmers on how to open 'stalls' on Sendo and register their products for sale. 

Duy Khanh

Online stalls help ‘rescue’ farm produce in North

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