29 January 2021

Thriving in Retail Amongst a Post-COVID-19 World

: Lennise Ng (Dropee CEO), Imran Shahid (Maxis Head of Solution Sales & Presales), and Aizat Rahim (Dropee COO) at Dropee’s Digital Wholesale Market: F&B Edition 2019
Lennise Ng (Dropee CEO), Imran Shahid (Maxis Head of Solution Sales & Presales), and Aizat Rahim (Dropee COO) at Dropee’s Digital Wholesale Market: F&B Edition 2019. Source.

Aizat Rahim

Founder & Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Dropee
Bachelor of Management (Marketing)

Growing up in a family full of entrepreneurs and surrounded by many close relatives – including his own father – in the retail business sector, Aizat Rahim feels very fortunate to have been immersed in such entrepreneurial and ambitious energy, providing inspiration from a young age.

It’s no surprise he was set on a successful business career trajectory very early on.

After founding and shuttering a job portal tech company while still at university, Aizat’s seen his fair share of successes and failure too. By the age of 28 he had also established and sold a medical tech company, founded and raised US$2M in funds to invest in tech companies with his company Infinite Ventures Malaysia (Venture Capital), and had it later acquired by Kern Technology.

Since 2017 however, he has occupied himself with the world of retail with company Dropee – which also earned him, and his business partner Lennise Ng, a Forbes 30 Under 30 honour – at the forefront of the booming online e-commerce, which, based on Gartner & Nielsen reports is an industry that has been growing at a rapid rate between 300-400 per cent annually.

Dropee, headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, is a B2B marketplace (which is essentially an online platform) where the team assists both retailers or buyers and suppliers such as manufacturers and distributors (the shops or sellers) to buy and sell in bulk.

Dropee aims to bridge the gap between brand owners and retailers as most brand owners are usually focussed on their ability to forecast their annual top lines (revenue and turnover) and their bottom line, without knowing the details of the distribution network of their goods.

Kawan Food Solutions
Kawan Food Solutions, one of Dropee’s suppliers participating at the Digital Wholesale Market: F&B Edition 2019, Malaysia's first B2B offline-to-online (O2O) wholesale exhibition organized by Dropee. 

“A platform like Dropee helps them to understand in detail their entire performance in the supply-chain network, from which products sell best at which territory or area, to which distributors are generally pushing for their products most. Our platform allows them to have a complete and transparent overview for their businesses,” says Aizat.

“We initially wanted to work directly with brand owners, manufacturers and principals to create a channel directly towards the consumer – in the best-case scenario, reducing friction and middle-men in the equation. Shortly after we figured that the retailers are  actually the biggest channel of network and revenue for businesses as brands to have a better outreach in the supply-chain of goods.”

In addition to his ambitious family – which Aizat says gave him an innate knack for providing the best services and solutions for small-medium enterprises regardless of wherever they are in the world – his time at UniSA enabled him to hone these skills.

As a result, he has also surrounded himself with lots of UniSA talent in all his business ventures, citing that compared to most of his peers, a UniSA degree tends to focus a lot more on real-world practicality. He knows that, even in his own experience, he has been able to adapt quickly and implement those practical theories learnt during study into the business world.

It's this confidence and hands-on learnings he gained while at UniSA that has served him well as Dropee continues to grow and prosper even after an incredibly disruptive and rough year with inspired, innovative solutions.

Noticing a significant drop of purchases from retailers on their platform as a result of the global pandemic, Dropee’s business development team began reaching out to their customers and really listened to the issues they were facing.

Announcing an important partnership
Announcing an important partnership (L to R) Lucas Chew, Country Head of Transaction Banking, UOB Malaysia, Beh Wee Khee, Country Head of Commercial Banking, UOB Malaysia, Ng Wei Wei, Country Head of Wholesale Banking, UOB Malaysia, Lennise Ng, CEO of Dropee and Aizat Rahim, CFO, Dropee.

With most of these retailers and suppliers reserving cash to ensure the sustainability of their businesses, Aizat quickly reacted and started to engage with banks to facilitate the underwriting of small and medium-sized enterprises and inventory financing to support the retailers on their platform.

Dropee even partnered up with Malaysia’s United Overseas Bank (UOB) to enable investment and issue credit loans to retailers and were the first platform in Malaysia to do so.

”We have started exploring ‘vertical’ revenue, whereby we are currently supporting the retailers and suppliers to have larger lines of credit (loans) – we hope we are able to continue innovating and keep enabling the supply-chain industry by introducing more technology solutions that can either reduce their cost or increment of sales by optimisation” says Aizat.

He's also predicting that there will be a huge surge of business-to-business marketplaces in this year – he’s already started seeing a lot of replicas of their business due to the huge demand from the brand owners – Aizat and the Dropee team are motivated and excited for the future.

“Whilst the rate at which we and the online commerce industry is growing is huge, we work closely with a lot of big brands such as Mondelez, Unilever and many others, and we are aware that the online sales only contributed less than five per cent of their annual sales and turnover, which tells us clearly that there are still plenty of opportunities and room for growth,” he says.

“The next goal for Dropee is to reach out to as many underserved retailers as possible. These small businesses are what keeps us motivated to do what we do every single day.”

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