Conversations With the Buyer: Jaya Grocer Malaysia

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Last month, Export Connect – in partnership with Investment NSW and the Department for Trade and Investment South Australia – hosted an inbound buyer mission featuring Jaya Grocer Malaysia. Following the Market Insights Presentations, valuable first-hand insights were shared about the Malaysian market. Let’s take a look!

About the Buyer: Jaya Grocer 

Jaya Grocer is a Malaysian-based high-end supermarket chain that specialises in premium grocery products and high-quality fresh and organic produce. Founded in 2007, they currently have over 36 stores located throughout Malaysia, including in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Penang, Johor, and Negeri Sembilan. They are well-known for their selection of local and imported products, excellent customer service, and commitment to sustainability and community outreach. 

Q&A Session Insights

Question 1: Which food and beverage categories present the strongest opportunities in Malaysia?

Suppliers are focused on catering to consumer trends, like natural foods and organic foods, but the base for these categories is still quite small. So there is a huge opportunity to grow into these categories. Other categories like confectionery, biscuits, snacks and beverages are very important to us as well, because they form a significant part of our business. So we’re very much looking for innovation in these categories.

Question 2: What are the biggest challenges and barriers for Australian food and beverage exporters seeking to enter the Malaysian market?

The market is very competitive, so everyone is fighting for a space in the retail supermarket. But Jaya Grocer as a retailer are currently focusing on small format stores, so we’re being very careful in selecting the right products for our shelves. As such, we apply pressure on our suppliers to ensure they have a proper marketing plan. These are the main things that I would like to highlight. And also, getting the right distributor is very, very challenging. I’ve gone through many suppliers and many distributors who are desperate to list products in Jaya Grocer. But once they get the item listed, they seem to forget about promoting or marketing their brand to grow further–they will just leave their products on the shelves for six months or even one year and it’s only when the buyer contacts them down the track that they’re reminded that they need to continually grow their brand. So, don’t forget to develop a solid marketing plan so that we can continue ordering from your product list to create a longer-term relationship.

Another point that I would like to highlight is price positioning. When it comes to getting new products on the shelves to introduce to customers, Jaya Grocer aims to offer the best price. But, when we’re talking about natural foods or organic foods, they’re usually double or probably triple the price of ordinary products. Suppliers are talking about wanting to grow this category, but when we look at the price, it’s a very little or small group of customers that can actually afford to buy from this category. So it’s been very challenging to determine what price we should put on the shelves. Suppliers and distributors want their margin, but of course, retailers, we want to maintain our margin as well. Currently, suppliers are just talking about the benefits of natural organic products, but I don’t see many successful efforts to grow the category because the price is just too high. So hopefully, in the future, suppliers will have better strategies and plans in place to grow these categories.

Question 3: What advice would you give to a potential exporter seeking to enter the Malaysian market?

On the topic of marketing, probably ten years ago, we were talking about printing leaflets, and then we would arrange a house drop to distribute them to all customers, or we would put them at the front of our stores so before customers walked in, they’d just grab a leaflet and go through. But now, we are very much talking about social media. The online information on platforms like Instagram and Facebook is a big opportunity right now. It’s proven that these online social media marketing strategies are effective, so having an online presence is key now.

We hope you’ve found these insights on the Malaysian market helpful. As always, if you’ve got any questions or want to discuss export opportunities for your company, feel free to drop us a line at Export Connect – we’d love to hear from you.