Fresh Right to Your Doorstep


With PasarTap, fresh groceries are just a click away.

Being in the Food & Beverage (F&B) business for more than10 years has made Hisham Talib, the Co-Founder and CEO of PasarTap capable of envisioning the power of technology and how it can change the quality of our lives. With the tagline ‘Go Fresh and Local’, PasarTap is a brainchild of such a vision. The startup aims to provide a platform for the local wet market vendors to sell their fresh products online and by doing so, help to bridge the gap between the local food producers and the buyers. “We want you to consume food hyper-locally”, says Hisham.

Targeting urbanites living in the big cities, Hisham told us that most households don’t go to the pasar anymore simply because of the time constraint. Ultimately, most working adults find it much easier to spend 2-3 hours at the supermarket buying groceries during the weekends.

When asked why people should buy their groceries via PasarTap, Hisham simply answered: “Freshness”.

“You can’t beat pasar. Everybody knows the fact that fresher goods are from the pasar—and the price is cheaper too”, he added.

To understand more, we spoke to Hisham who shared the in-depth concept of PasarTap and how it works.

Can you tell us how PasarTap started?

In 2016, my friends and I just came back from the UK. Some of us worked in the F&b industry—in fact, I was in F&b too. It started when we had an issue of where we can buy products directly from the pasar (wet market)—due to their better quality and pricing—for our restaurants, but we couldn’t do the same for our households. For our houses, we still needed to go to the supermarkets or the retail markets in Chow Kit and Taman Tun, which were—of course, limited in terms of products and the price point was also expensive.

That’s when I saw an opportunity along with my friends—some of whom were involved indirectly with startup scene in the UK and understood a little bit about how the industry worked there. We thought that we could use the context of the pasar for our restaurants and applied (the concept) for our houses.  We started with the vendors and the suppliers that we had been working with for years since we already had the trust built between us.

Without thinking much, we opened up a website and got 10-15 vendors to put in their products on our platform. We just wanted to test this business model and see whether it has the market (or not). So in January 2016, it started off on a small scale between our friends and families. After 3 months, we saw there was a healthy demand for this kind of service and finally, in April 2016, we (officially) launched PasarTap.

How does PasarTap work?

Essentially, we are a platform. We connect the vendors and the buyers/consumers. So, we aggregate the products that we find in the pasar and the prices in a stock and put them on the platform. When the customers see on the website, they order just like you order from Lazada—pick items, put into the cart, complete the payment, and then specify the delivery time slot.

There is a limitation for every order slot—that means if it (the delivery slot) is finished, you have to push it to the next slots or the next day. The reason why we have delivery time slots is we want to guarantee the freshness, so we only buy 15 minutes before the chosen time slot. The idea is that the time when a person goes to a supermarket and come back with the groceries should be the same as the time when we deliver (the groceries) to your house. That’s how we control the freshness.

Logistically, how do you maintain to continuously meet the demand of the deliveries?

Initially, the idea was through crowd-sourcing. But it did not happen because we were not ready at that time. We couldn’t guarantee the delivery so we scrapped that out. And then we started off with our team only. It was capital intensive because we had to have our own bikes and riders to work with us all the time. So, the times when we had a lot of orders were fine, but when the number of orders went down, it was not efficient in terms of our operations.

In the end, we’ve decided to go hybrid. We have a small team of dedicated riders but at times, we also work with third parties. Based on the order patterns collected from the date, when we anticipate a spike in the orders, we will bring in the riders that are already in our database, and I think, this hybrid model is working well for now.

A post shared by ?PasarTap – Your Pasar Expert (@pasartap) on What are the challenges you’ve encountered since operating?

The paradigm shift for both the vendors and the buyers. The same thing that happened to Uber and Grab when they were at their early operations. For the vendors, they are quite used to people walk-in and prepare orders for them. It’s quite a paradigm shift when they have to prepare for someone they cannot see (online buyers). They do not necessarily trust us to actually sell their products online.

For the buyers, they have the mental block of buying fresh goods online. You can buy clothes from Lazada or FashionValet online and if I don’t fit, I can return back. But buying fish, vegetables, and fruits online is something very alien to them and something that they are not willing to do. They still think that the idea of buying fresh goods is you have to feel it.

But, things have changed quite quickly because at that time we had a strict policy. If there’s a complaint from the buyers, that’s it. No questions asked. We either replace it or money back guaranteed. In a matter of a few months, the return rates have dropped drastically and we eventually built the trust with the vendors too by showing them the data collected and the extra revenue we had brought to them.

Where do you see PasarTap in the next 5 years?

I see that we will be in a few countries,  empowering the local businesses and working with local partners, providing the platforms and the infrastructures for them to flourish in their own markets.

I think, in 5-6 years time, ordering products from farms would be as easy as you buy clothes from Zalora.


Jalan Tun Ismail, 50480 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Tel: 03 – 4050 6831

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Like this story? Check out our piece on GrubCycle for more ways how could shop for your groceries online.

Basir Zainuddin

Basir Zainuddin

Of coffee, music, and sea breeze.
Basir Zainuddin

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