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Market stalls in Saigon resort to online sale, contactless payment during social distancing

Market stalls in Saigon resort to online sale, contactless payment during social distancing

Wednesday, June 23, 2021, 11:52 GMT+7
Market stalls in Saigon resort to online sale, contactless payment during social distancing
Nha, a confectionery trader at Binh Tay Market in District 6, Ho Chi Minh City, counts his cash. The majority of his customers now choose online payment as their preferred option. Photo: N.Tri / Tuoi Tre

As the social distancing mandate in Ho Chi Minh City is here to stay for a few more weeks, sellers at traditional markets are picking up on tech solutions, including social messaging apps and contactless payment, to sustain sales in the new circumstance.

Nguyen Hoang Ngoc, a seller at Binh Tay Market in District 6, said she is now more adept in online remittance than ever.

Her stall, once only accepting cash, is now open to digital remittance as repeated waves of COVID-19 since early 2020 have disrupted her bricks-and-mortar operation for months.

According to Ngoc, more customers are switching to online orders and contactless payment as fear of contagion discouraged them from going out.

Seeing the trend, Ngoc has opened a bank account and learned how to send and receive money via an e-banking app on her phone, and started running her business in a different way.

“To gain customers' trust, I send them pictures of my products that I took myself via the instant messaging app Zalo,” the vendor said.

“As soon as they send money to my account, I ship the goods to them.

“Thousands of other small-scale sellers are doing this way as well."

Nha, the owner of a confectionery kiosk near Ngoc’s, has also jumped on the bandwagon.

Counting the banknotes in his store, Nha found that he only made VND1.5 million (US$65) in cash sales that day -- an amount much lower than usual. 

However, a large proportion of the money transfers to his store are now made online, he revealed. 

The man has recently bought a new smartphone just to manage online sales.

A seller at a market of Ho Chi Minh City is seen on the phone. Photo: N.Tri / Tuoi Tre

A seller is seen using his phone at a market in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: N.Tri / Tuoi Tre

He disclosed his bank account to every customer and suggested digital payment as an alternative option. 

Thanks to his effort, the online revenue figure of the shop is on an upward trajectory, making up for poor in-person performance. 

“Digital payment is beneficial for both the buyer and seller, especially during social distancing periods, which explains why it’s becoming increasingly popular,” Nha said.

According to him, vendors in their fifties and sixties at Binh Tay Market are now well-versed in card payment and digital remittance no less than the younger generation.

Several other stalls at the same market, including Minh Hung, have gone a step further by equipping card payment machines to support customers.

As Minh Hung specializes in wholesale with high-value transactions, its buyers tend to shy away from cash payment since they do not want to carry many banknotes around, a staffer at the stall expounded.

Its new payment device proved to be of great help.

“We were not used to the new way and stuck to cash payment at first, but now it turns out that the card payment machine is quick and convenient as we don’t need to count the bills,” the staffer said.

The shift to contactless payment is not only noticed at Binh Tay Market, but also at other big shopping places, including Ba Chieu Market in Binh Thanh District and Tan Dinh Market in District 1, where sellers of all ages can be seen swiftly handling online payment on their smartphones.

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