DBS makes foray into chat commerce with "Foodster" - Southeast Asia's first bank-led retail chatbot

Singapore.25 Oct 2018

Seven F&B merchants in DBS’ Marina Bay testbed have adopted the solution, which allows customers to order via Facebook Messenger and pay with DBS PayLah! and DBS/POSB cards

With the Foodster solution, DBS can help F&B merchants digitalise easily and affordably, while countering consumer “app fatigue”

Singapore, 25 Oct 2018 - DBS today announced the launch of Foodster – Southeast Asia’s first bank-led retail chatbot that allows customers to order and pay for their meals seamlessly via Facebook Messenger and DBS payment channels, namely DBS PayLah! and DBS/POSB cards. Developed by chatbot specialist Every Botty, Foodster has been test-bedded with seven F&B merchants around DBS’ Marina Bay headquarters to strong results.

The initiative marks DBS’ foray into the chat commerce space. Chat commerce – also known as e-commerce using chat or messaging platforms – allows businesses to transact within platforms that already have a large and captive pool of users. With 77% of Singapore’s population on mobile messaging platforms[1], chat commerce solutions such as Foodster allow businesses to literally become a part of the conversation by embedding DBS’ payments capabilities within chat platforms. In Asia Pacific, the chatbot market is forecast to generate revenues of around USD 350 million by 2024 – more than eight times that of the USD 41 million generated in 2017[2].

“If instant messaging is the way forward for people to communicate, then we need to help businesses find a way to engage their customers on such platforms simply, seamlessly and invisibly,” said Jeremy Soo, Head of Consumer Banking Group (Singapore) at DBS Bank. “We are aware that consumers today are more likely to have ‘app fatigue’ and have become resistant to downloading new mobile apps. And so as Singapore’s leader in payments with over four million cards in circulation and the nation’s most popular mobile wallet – DBS PayLah! with over one million users – we saw an opportunity to combine our strengths with Singapore’s most widely used social media platform.”

Foodster – How it works
Upon logging onto Facebook Messenger, customers can search for participating outlets by entering the outlet’s name and adding a “Foodster” suffix (e.g. “Kopi Ong Foodster”). The Foodster solution offers a full menu selection, accepts customised food orders, and retains the user’s order history, so customers can easily reorder their favourites with one tap. The solution also automatically offers eligible customers discounts and promotions, which can be redeemed with their purchase.

At check-out, customers can choose to pay via DBS PayLah! or DBS/POSB debit and credit cards. DBS has also enabled an “Express” option where after a one-time authorisation and set-up, customers will be able to pay for all future orders with one tap.

Foodster currently supports seven F&B merchants in the Marina Bay area, including Gemstar, Kopi Ong, Local Coffee People, NUDE Seafood, Old Tea Hut and Omnivore. Upcoming merchants include Kopitiam and Holey Moley.

Merchant benefits
Kopi Ong, which sells quick-serve beverages, was the first merchant to test the Foodster solution. Since then, the business has seen daily sales grow by 20% without additional manpower or space required.

The Foodster solution was developed with Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning algorithms which allow it to become ‘smarter’ with every transaction. In addition, it allows merchants to implement targeted and personalised customer loyalty programmes on the platform with its rich data tools and analytics.

Other benefits of the Foodster solution include:
• Help merchants grow revenue by providing an automated and immediate service to consumers, without the need for additional manpower or space. Rental and manpower costs currently comprise around 47% of operating costs for F&B merchants[3]
• Streamline merchants’ product inventory and new menu/ item launches. Merchants can conduct customer surveys to help them better understand their customers’ needs, and contextualise marketing promotions
• Reduce customer acquisition costs – Foodster leverages Facebook’s massive user base and can handle multiple orders at a time
• Help SMEs digitalise easily and affordably – set-up is easy using DBS’ open banking APIs and requires minimal equipment

“We see endless possibilities with Foodster’s predictive data analytics and smart learning capabilities. Merchants get an inexpensive yet wide-reaching solution to engage with more customers, which will provide a welcome uplift to their businesses,” said Soo.

Said Kopi Ong owner Alfred Tan, "The F&B industry in Singapore is highly competitive. To keep our customers loyal and coming back for more, we have to be able to offer customised orders and provide a personalised touch to every transaction. With Foodster, we can survey our customers on their preferences, which then allows us to provide contextualised offers. With its real-time order dashboard at our fingertips, it enables us to optimise our store operations and better manage inventory in anticipation of peak periods."

DBS and F&B SMEs
To cater to the financial needs of Singapore-based retail F&B and food manufacturing companies expanding overseas, DBS has established a dedicated F&B coverage team to better serve these customers. F&B customers are now able to tap into the bank’s expertise in financial structures, cash management and foreign exchange solutions to help better manage their cashflow. In addition, customers can benefit from DBS’ Asian network, and its domain knowledge in areas such as rental, manpower and taxation in the markets they seek to expand into

DBS has also supported the growth and development of F&B SMEs in Singapore and the region with a suite of digital products and services including:
• DBS Corporate Multi-Currency Account, which helps manage up to 13 currencies in a single account and enables SMEs to manage foreign exchange fluctuations, as F&B SMEs tend to import a lot of their ingredients
• DBS-Xero partnership, which simplifies bill payments for F&B SME customers so that vendors and suppliers can be paid on time
• DBS BusinessClass, a global social network for F&B SME owners to seek business advice and opportunities
• DBS TechMatch, a cross-industry, cross-border business matchmaking service in which the bank refers relevant tech solutions to companies in different industries, including F&B SMEs.

For more information on Foodster, please visit go.dbs.com/Foodster.

[1] We are social, “Digital in 2018 in Singapore”, https://www.slideshare.net/wearesocial/digital-in-2018-in-singapore-86861961
[2] https://www.marketwatch.com/press-release/chatbot-market-in-asia-pacific-to-witness-36-cagr-to-2024-2018-09-05
[3] Department of Statistics Singapore, Singapore Food & Beverage Services Industry 2016; https://www.singstat.gov.sg/modules/infographics/-/media/472bc5d302d645f6a93c10092ef95cff.ashx

About DBS
DBS is a leading financial services group in Asia, with over 280 branches across 18 markets. Headquartered and listed in Singapore, DBS has a growing presence in the three key Asian axes of growth: Greater China, Southeast Asia and South Asia. The bank's "AA-" and "Aa1" credit ratings are among the highest in the world.

Recognised for its global leadership, DBS has been named “Best Bank in the World” by Global Finance. The bank is at the forefront of leveraging digital technology to shape the future of banking, having been named “World’s Best Digital Bank” by Euromoney. In addition, DBS has been accorded the “Safest Bank in Asia” award by Global Finance for ten consecutive years from 2009 to 2018.

DBS provides a full range of services in consumer, SME and corporate banking. As a bank born and bred in Asia, DBS understands the intricacies of doing business in the region’s most dynamic markets. DBS is committed to building lasting relationships with customers, and positively impacting communities through supporting social enterprises, as it banks the Asian way. It has also established a SGD 50 million foundation to strengthen its corporate social responsibility efforts in Singapore and across Asia.

With its extensive network of operations in Asia and emphasis on engaging and empowering its staff, DBS presents exciting career opportunities. The bank acknowledges the passion, commitment and can-do spirit in all of our 26,000 staff, representing over 40 nationalities. For more information, please visit www.dbs.com.