Analysis: Can Air Asia Food's Aspiration take flight Amidst Stiff Competition

Besides leveraging on its current capabilities and's super app, airasia food would also need to gain an in-depth understanding of the insights of Singapore and other markets. Wong Mei Wai, founder, CEO and chief change catalyst at APAC Global Advisory, said while food delivery initially surged during the earlier phases of the pandemic in these markets, Wong said it declined in the later stages once the respective markets started to open up. 

Another area that is critical for success includes building its awareness and credibility as a credible food or product delivery platform on digital and apps management, beyond what its master brand franchise represents.

"Aside from this, airasia food will need to be successful to acquire the support of merchants with attractive commissions and offers. Most importantly to leapfrog the competition, it will need to demonstrate that it can pass on the value to the consumers through more competitive pricing and ensuring that the entire process of delivery and management of the supply is smoothly backed up by excellent customer service," Wong explained.

She added that the success of such a venture hinges on excellent execution and the on-boarding of strong anchor merchants that can provide a unique array of product and/or services. At the same time, it should also offer mainstream accessibility and sustained delivery at a significantly improved commission rate for merchants. "The savings from this should then be passed on to the consumers in food prices or food promotion packages or bundles. The cross-country leadership into the new category through great talent management will help to seal any success," Wong said.

This latest move by AirAsia comes as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the travel industry and organisations are innovating their business models to adapt to the new normal. According to Wong, brands are jumping on trends such as food delivery, in-home consumption and the opportunity to bring greater value to the community these days.

AirAsia is no different from the many companies which have pivoted from B2B to B2C to eventually become an online digital marketplace, Wong said. She explained that the pivot often starts with an initial test market in familiar territory such as food or grocery in the home market during the lockdown.

"Eventually, when there is some initial success and the management realises there is a huge potential unleashed through digital platforms and direct access to the community through the supply chain, they then boldly forge forward to take on diverse merchants to become a marketplace to serve the community," Wong said. She added that this may eventually even become a new pillar to business. Another reason for pivoting is to also keep the brand top of mind and engage consumers, just like how Singapore Airlines did with its SIA@Home initiative last year.


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