Grab Powers Southeast Asian MSMEs with Dynamic Tools that Meet Business Needs


SOUTHEAST ASIA — Now, more than ever, Grab continues to grow its super app with more and more features that connect businesses, merchants, and customers, the platform is amping up its offerings in order to uplift the entrepreneurial spirit across Southeast Asia. The app’s developers have smoothened the process of starting up a delivery service through Grab, with the GrabMerchant Portal for easy access among food entrepreneurs, and the GrabExpress service that could serve as the logistics arm for any type of product-based business.

Starting with GrabMerchant, the platform assists small business owners in making their food services available through GrabFood and GrabMart with easy onboarding, quick operation, and easy-to-digest optimize solutions:


Grab reveals in a recent market analysis that 95% of GrabFood and GrabMart merchants are onboarded within three days. With self-onboarding, new merchants can sign up via the GrabMerchant App and have their virtual stores activated quickly. Merchants can also activate multiple services at once, such as listing their restaurant on GrabFood and activating GrabPay in-store payment. Self-onboarding is currently only available in Indonesia, but more countries are revealed to be going live very soon.

In terms of setting up the virtual shop, Grab has two services to ensure all necessary details will be uploaded on the platform:

  1. AI photo engine – Grab’s AI-based photo engine detects poor-quality photos (e.g. stretched, blurry, unrelated) and are flagged for review or instantly blocked. Merchants will then be alerted to upload a better photo.
  2. Employee profiles – Business owners can assign user profiles for employees to open up different levels of access across their team:
    • Owner – Full access, including ability to view and manage other outlets, and more.
    • Store manager – Partial access, including updating store information, buying ads and supplies, and tracking sales history
    • Cashier – limited access to order and payment-related features

Grab’s own training program, GrabAcademy, was revealed to launch on the GrabMerchant app soon to provide structured training to raise merchants’ service level quality, and to help business growth. At launch, the program will have additional enhancements that will roll out in separate phases:

  • Content recommendation which can identify and recommend relevant training content based on Grab’s rule engine which identifies merchants’ business performance and needs.
  • Engaging video and text-based courses to mimic 1:1 training.
  • Progress tracker to help keep merchant-partners’ completion rates and for Grab to also have data on which strategies are working.


When the store goes live, merchants can conveniently manage the crowd on the other side of the screen by adjusting the Store Status: Normal, for default mode; Busy for the ability to key in more prep time required, while ETA is extended accordingly; and Pause wherein merchants cannot take in more orders, and users cannot place orders for a period of time.

Business owners who need support can also go through the Help Center within the GrabMerchant app, and choose to chat with a CE agent in-app. If the expected wait time is too long, Grab has upgraded its Chat room with a dynamic queue formula that will direct merchants seeking help to other support channels.


Data will be available for merchants to understand their market better on the Grab platform. With Menu insights, merchants can view sales performance for each item, as well as the top menu combinations. This will give them the opportunity to up-sell by creating combo pairings within minutes, based on real in-app data from the market.

In terms of marketing their offerings within the app, Grab is also offering loads of self-serve promotional tools to boost visibility and sales for its partners. With just a few clicks and a small cost, they can create unique combinations of ads and promotion campaigns via Grab’s Ads tool:

  • Promotions tool enables merchants to create discount codes or promo campaigns to encourage more buyers for specific menu items.
  • Banner ads which offers high-visibility on the GrabFood homepage to boost an existing promo. The app automatically pulls all existing promotion for the merchant to choose from, and generates a banner for preview as well as a way to provide suggestions for the target audience and campaign duration, based on in-app data.
  • Search ads enable merchants to appear at the top of the search ranking to target consumers with specific intent. There are also recommended keywords to choose from, to ensure relevance and scale.

GrabMerchant Portal – A Back Office Solution

The entire GrabMerchant portal provides merchants with a quick view of their business performance across outlets and Grab services. It grants access for back office staff to insights and options such as:

  • Make instant changes to menus across all outlets.
  • Easy accounting, reconciliation and financial reporting – saving merchants hours of manual work every month.
  • Provides in-depth insights across multiple functions such as business, operations, menu performance, marketing and consumer insights.

The portal is a larger platform than the currently available GrabMerchant app, and is packed with more powerful features and tools to help merchants understand and plan their business better. More in-depth insights include:

  • Operational insights – individual outlet performance; peak hour distribution; driver wait time & order ratings; as well as any lost orders and reason why.
  • Customer insights – percentage of new, existing, and returning customers; customer retention & purchase frequency; consumer demographic profile; as well as ratings and reviews.



Meanwhile, for business owners of non-food product-based stores, GrabExpress has also revved up its services to give entrepreneurs more control over their deliveries. As it was specifically developed with social sellers in mind, multiple delivery options have been added on the app since launch: Instant delivery within an hour (with an option for multi-drop offs), Same-day delivery within 4 hours, and Scheduled Delivery (of up to 7 days), which is slated for release in the months to come.

Multi-stop delivery has also been a great help for online sellers, with the app’s route optimization technology automatically sharing suggested routes that are shorter, quicker, and cheaper, in real time. Additionally, a delivery form has been added where sellers can send a link to their customers for them to fill up with the necessary delivery details. The information is then automatically shared in the sellers’ app for a seamless booking experience. These forms help reduce error, and lessen the time it takes sellers to prepare orders by 50%.

For social sellers and businesses that need to consistently arrange high volume of orders, GrabExpress Web allows for bulk uploads, opening up the platform to up to 150 delivery bookings at a time. By downloading Grab’s Excel template, sellers can enter delivery information into the spreadsheet, upload it on the platform, and await approval. If the system detects any errors or inconsistencies, the system will notify the sellers accordingly.


Another big aid for e-commerce sellers is the ability to integrate GrabPay and GrabExpress into different online retailers’ platforms. When customers opt to pay with their GrabPay wallet, the system also calls on the GrabExpress API to schedule the delivery. Grab’s delivery partners then accept the booking, and complete the whole transaction through door-to-door deliveries.

PayLater have also been recently introduced to the market, where consumers are granted access to instant credit for purchases within and outside of the Grab app, with no interest. They can choose to either pay for a product or service the following month, or to put in a downpayment, and pay the rest in small installments over a few months.

Online-to-Offline Store Traffic

Lastly, businesses with physical stores, permanent or pop-up, could also enjoy GrabAds’ online-to-offline (O2O) solution wherein they could create ad campaigns to go live on the Grab app. They can target customers from specific demographics, or with targeted keywords. Call-to-action promos can also be added on the campaign, with codes and deals they can redeem in-store. Afterwards, merchants could study the effectivity of these ads with a follow-up survey of users who were presented with the ad.

Grab is dedicated to supporting business owners across the region with powerful tools they can conveniently employ to reach their customers more efficiently. Through the GrabMerchant platform, GrabExpress, GrabPay, and the different services of GrabAds, the ever-growing super app is laying down the foundations for their partner-merchants to flourish. And they’re gearing up for even more releases across Southeast Asia in the next few months.

Learn more about Grab’s programs for merchants at