‘Qoo10 Success Stories’ is a series of short interviews with successful merchants on Qoo10.
For the month of November, we interview Ah Hua Kelong, which delivers a variety of fresh, local seafood (golden pomfret, seabass, grouper, green mussels and flower crabs) from their fish farm to the consumer.
All in a day’s work (clockwise from top): Ah Hua’s Kelong, Harvesting Tiger Grouper, Flower Crabs, Green Mussels, Home Deliveries
1. Why did Ah Hua Kelong decide to start doing home deliveries?
In the past, we relied heavily on export to sell our seafood to a Hong Kong buyer, which would buy almost all our annual stock. In 2014, our farm was hit hard when this firm did not place an order and at the same time, we suffered huge losses to our fish population due to the plankton bloom (as a result of the weather change). This was the moment when we realized we needed to be less reliant on export and have more local distribution channels.
Another contributing factor was that we wanted to have a unique selling point which would help us stand out from overseas seafood importers. While these imports are slightly cheaper due to lower operating costs, we are able to deliver fresh, superior-grade seafood within a 12-hour window, as compared to the 1 day to a week window that these importers work on.
The bulk of local fish farms’ supplies is usually sold to restaurants but they have very specific requirements (each fish must weigh between 500g and 1.2kg) and won’t buy fish which are too big. With consumers, we have a little more flexibility and they are also more keen to share about our products with their friends, whereas restaurants would consider their suppliers a trade secret.
2. Are the fish, mussels and crabs, which Ah Hua Kelong delivers to homes, more expensive as compared to those sold in the wet markets and supermarkets?
The price of farmed fish is more stable while wet market fish prices fluctuate depending on the supply. I would say we are slightly more expensive, but still very affordable, and there are reasons why you’re paying a premium for fish from local farms.
We raise our fish on a diet of freshly caught ikan bilis, bait fish and high-quality feed, which give them superior colour, fattiness, firmer texture and sweeter taste.
We also need to factor in Singapore’s high labour and transportation costs but in exchange, customers get the freshest seafood delivered to their doorstep.
3. How has the kelong's home delivery business grown since it was first launched in April? On average, how many deliveries were done per month in May? On average, how many deliveries are done per month now?
The volume of home deliveries is steadily increasing and we expect it to take up a sizable percentage of total sales volume in the coming months.
When we started delivering home deliveries in May 2014, we had to fulfil about 240 orders monthly. Currently, that number has doubled to 450.
But more importantly, we are very satisfied with the amount of feedback, compliments and press coverage we’ve received.
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