Ever seen a snack online that looked delicious, only to find that the snack isn’t sold locally, or if you wanted to buy it, it would cost a bomb?
I am a fan of salted egg chips and always wanted to try Irvins Salted Egg snacks from Singapore, but they don’t have a local distributor here in Malaysia even though they’re literally our neighbours.
A quick check on e-commerce platforms like Lazada and Shopee show that the cheapest and smallest bag of Irvins Salted Egg chips cost RM40 without postage included. As a comparison, salted egg chip snacks that are available locally in shopping centers cost around RM20 to RM30 at most.
Knowing that this desire for foreign snacks existed, Malaysian startup Fat B was founded to give cravers like me what we want.
Filling The Gap
Fat B was established in July 2018, with the co-founders taking 5 months to sort out the branding, sourcing, implementation planning. They eventually took the platform live in December 2018.
The idea of Fat B is to tackle the B2C (Business-To-Consumer) and B2B (Business-To-Business) international imported snack market.
For the B2C side particularly in Malaysia, some non-halal snacks are not listed at grocery stores and there are limited channels for consumers to purchase imported snacks from other countries. If consumers want to get imported snacks, they either have to pay a high price for it or fight with others for limited stocks.
“In short, there’s no one-stop platform that specialises in snacks from around the world,” said Jared Low, their Product Sourcing Specialist.
For the B2B side, according to Jared, most manufacturers have to deal with distributors to distribute their products and there is no one-stop platform for them to purchase imported or premium snacks.
“In the old business model, manufacturers work with distributors and they do not have any data driven feedback,” he added. “We want to be an online-to-offline platform where we provide data driven sale results or data driven feedback from consumers.”
Jared mentioned that the total market size that they’re eyeing is a whopping USD281.1 million in Malaysia alone.
Working Out Of The Box
In a bid to ditch the old fashioned business model, Fat B works directly with manufacturers to buy products in bulk and this helps keep their products at a lower price.
Additionally, Fat B also provides manufacturers an online platform with a strong marketing funnel and data driven result and feedback.
With their main competition being Mix.com.my, a chain of convenience stores in Malaysia that are well known for their imported snacks, Jared mentioned that Mix.com.my operates offline while Fat B is different in the sense that it operates fully online.
“Our vision is help manufacturers to collect user experience and feedback from our consumers as our platform will gather all consumers that buy snacks from around the world,” he added. “Their spending power is relatively higher as our average product price is RM12 per pack of snack at roughly 100 grams.”
A visit to the website shows that Fat B currently has 3 different types of boxes that cost RM199 each and they also sell individual imported snacks and food. According to Jared, they have a ready stock of snacks and customers can even make custom orders and Fat B will fulfill it and deliver.
So for instance, I could make a request for Irvins Salted Egg Snacks, and Jared’s team can go and procure it for me. Since they will be buying in bulk and negotiating with the manufacturers, I should ideally get a better price on the product than buying it secondhand off ecommerce platforms.
Learning On The Go
As Jared is fresh out of university with a degree in International Business and Marketing, he faces difficulties with picking up digital marketing as it wasn’t part of the curriculum and it wasn’t taught in classes.
“As our business goes fully online, I had been investing a lot of money to learn digital marketing skills such as setting up marketing funnels, pay per click optimisation, chatbots, social media management and more,” explained Jared.
For this year, Fat B will solely focus on growing their business in Malaysia and focus on acquiring new users. However, for next year, Fat B will be expanding their services to Singapore.
Jared and the team have big ambitions to grow the business into the biggest online and offline chained convenience store in Malaysia.
“[It will be] a chained convenience store only selling the most unique, the most trendy, the most delicious snacks at same price—both online and offline.”
Feature Image Credit: Fat B