Mobile commerce (m-Commerce) groceries and shopping player Jocom (short for just order conveniently on mobile) is following up its tremendous 500% growth in revenue last year to target a 700% spike over the next two years.

The company said this target is achievable as it expands outside Klang Valley, on top of planning an initial public offering within the next three to five years.

The m-Grocer recorded RM900,000 sales in 2015, and last year proved a bumper year for them with revenue coming in five times as much at RM4.5 million from its Klang Valley operations.

The five-year old company was the first online groceries player to bag the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) status, having revolutionised selling groceries through mobile apps away from the traditional brick and mortar stores, and to cater primarily to busy executives.

“Jocom is built on the foundation of a D2C (direct-to-customer) model from the producer of the products like “Farm to Plate” where we work with “Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability” (Lohas) organic chicken farms to bring fresh chicken to be sold online via mobile applications.

“We are also flexible, so customers can combine orders from multiple producers and these will arrive at their doorsteps within 24 hours,” founder and executive director Joshua Sew told Malay Mail in an email interview recently.

A big driver of growth besides it targeting health-conscious busy executives, was the fact that Jocom keeps its prices between 5% and 20% below market prices thanks to its D2C method. ‘

“With this method, Jocom brings better value to customers instead of having multiple distribution channels or suppliers to resellers in brick and mortar stores.

“We have our own fleet of six cold chain trucks to support online transactions so that we can send fresh and frozen items direct to customers, giving us an upper hand over competitors,” 
Sew added.

Now that the mobile grocer has proven its mettle in the Klang Valley, it is eyeing expansion into Penang on top of its Johor operations, which were set up 
last November.

Jocom’s model has made it very competitive in pricing on top of ensuring enhanced quality control.

Sew and co-founder and managing director Agnes Chua’s team handpicks vendors based on quality products, and often zeroes in on the best suppliers in their class throughout Klang Valley. “We manage their products well, even though many of them are also suppliers to major fresh produce outlets. Our full refund policy and a one-to-one swap within the next 24 hours to ensure we maintain the quality standard is what make our customers happy,” Sew added.

Moving forward, he is targeting another 700% growth in revenue across the three states Jocom operates in over the next two years.

“This will be driven by increasing adoption of online commerce due to a burgeoning tech-savvy middle-income class. This has enabled customers to buy fresh and frozen items easier online. “Growing secured payment gateways such as Mpay, MOLPay and iPay88 have made the adoption environment easier and add security layers to online payments. These are aided then by stable internet connectivity and widespread smartphone use,” he remarked.

Although trends indicate that good investment resources and funding are hard to come by, Jocom can point to the help of the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) for making the road less bumpy for the startup, Sew said.

“We believe that online groceries will be a thing of the future, albeit a challenging one. With the help of an e-Commerce uptrend, online groceries today are growing rapidly thanks to changing lifestyles.

“The logistical infrastructure in Malaysia is still developing for online groceries and this poses a challenge to our expansion plans. However, we will take this opportunity to build up our fleet of vehicles to support expanding the transactional process.”

Since the inception of Jocom, both the founders (Sew bringing in the programming expertise while trained accountant Chua tapped into her securities trading and law stripes) invested their own capital to grow the company together with investment funding from family members and friends.

“We were careful with the trust and capital given by our investors while watching competitors raising millions in venture capital but playing catch up with us. Just like the tortoise and hare story, we never gave up and our determination is likened to the tortoise winning the “slow but sturdy” way,” he said.

Both invested in every aspect of the business: operations, finance, logistics, marketing and even software development. In the latter sphere, Sew spearheaded Jocom’s software development despite the lack of funding and initial support initially.

After its success from a validation operations and product fit matching, Jocom was then supported by MDEC through the MSC status certification.

The logistical infrastructure and fleet delivery systems were strengthened through testing during peak spending periods like “Mycybersale 2016”, 11/11 and 12/12 Black Friday Sales activities, all through to the Chinese New Year 2017 run.

“Our future objective includes ensuring the logistical infrastructure is ready and be able to deliver items ordered online be delivered 24 hours interstate via the proposed upgraded system. For instance, freshly-made Ipoh Tambun’s biscuits must be able to reach Johor within 24 hours.

“The expansion plan to Sabah and Sarawak is challenging due to the difference in logistics infrastructure to that of Peninsular Malaysia. Thus, Jocom’s objective is to be make possible cross-border online groceries.

“We will be expanding to nearby countries in Asean thus allowing clients in the region to be able to order as well. Jocom is gearing up for expansion by hiring more logistic helpers and a fleet of 100 trucks to be able to support the logistical infrastructure for online groceries. The ultimate dream is automatic self-driving vehicles to enable delivery in the near future,” Sew enthused.

Further to its domestic and regional expansion plan and riding high on expectations of a 700% spike in sales this year, Jocom is also biding its time and preparing for a dream listing in three to five years, towards becoming the leading groceries e-commerce platform in the 

“We are striving to be a market leader in this area and will be making an initial public offering that will benefit all stakeholders. Jocom hopes to be a “last mile fulfilment point” for many food and beverage entities as well as related business-to-business players,” Sew said.