Dishthefish — Digitalized the Fishing Industry While Preserving the Wet Market Culture
Successful entrepreneurship stories never cease to amaze people how young entrepreneurs beat the odds and start everything from scratch. Here’s the story of the innovative Singaporean husband-and-wife team Jeffrey Tan and Angeline Ong who digitalized the fishing industry with cloud solutions while preserving the wet market culture in the country.
New Age Fishmongers
Coming from the backgrounds of accounting and technology, Jeffrey and Angeline see themselves as new age fishmongers. Confidence had played an important role in spurring Jeffrey and Angeline to launch DishTheFish. Traditional perceptions of filthy fish markets and dirty fishmongers are overturned when the husband-and-wife team started the DishTheFish business at fishmonger stall in Beo Crescent.
People are curious what motivated Jeffrey to give up his lucrative salary in business IT and threw his life into a fish market business. He recalled his overseas experience in the United States as an exchange student many years ago. Their clean and organized wet markets prompted him to look at the dirty and noisy fish market back in Singapore and think: “Why can’t we have such a fish stall in Singapore?” That’s one of the many questions that contribute to the setup of DishTheFish, changing the old perception of fish markets with their new, clean and well-organised fish stall which has both offline and online presence.
Closing the “Knowledge Deficiency Gap”
Jeffrey, who used to help his brother at their family-owned fish stall, finds that consumers are generally lacked common knowledge about fish and ways to handle/cook them. Despite an increasing level of communication and engagement between consumer and retailer, one large gap still exists: the knowledge gap between customers and sale associates. This is one of the important reasons that steer the direction of their business: close the “knowledge deficiency gap” by demonstrating how to handle and cook different types of fish at their physical store.
Adopting Digital Strategy
The idea of incorporating technology and digital solutions in fishing industry didn’t happen in one night. According to Jeffrey, nowadays customers are doing more and more research on the different brands they engage with before ever entering the physical store due to the proliferation of online presences for most retailers.
Customers will browse and compare prices, compare price history, read reviews, and make decisions before they purchase. To them, the current trend of customer behaviour implies the possibilities and needs of adopting digital strategy in their business.
Digital strategy is, in fact, another important reason that makes DishTheFish stands out from the crowd. DishTheFish adopts cloud solution in their business where the information systems are all intertwined so they can communicate with one another.
For the point-of-sale system, they use Vend to record the retail sales and online Shopify to record the online sales. In addition to that, they apply the cloud accounting in their business with a Xero account. The digital strategy extended to their human resource management with HReasily, a human resource management software.
Opportunities for Innovation and Growth
In fact, the digital approaches have eased the hassles and challenges in running a newly setup business, allowing them to plan ahead, focus on business expansion and marketing. The husband-and-wife team realized that the dynamic nature of emerging markets creates challenges that have never confronted the developed world, but also opens up opportunities for innovation and growth. Payments are an area where this dynamism is already well-established. They find the payment tracking has become easier with their UOB bank account – they get direct bank feeds into Xero and that enables them to identify and trace a coming up cost, unaccounted revenue or any pending transaction.
The Vacuum-packing Fish
Other than the digital approaches, DishTheFish has come up with many innovative ideas to boost sales and attract more customers. They roll out the ready to cook idea that makes perfect addition to many people’s dinner menu – the vacuum-packing fish with ingredients such as ginger, spring onions and fermented soybeans in heat-proof bags for the convenience of customers. Customers can simply heat up the fish by putting the bag in boiling water, making life easier for many working parents with tight schedules.
Though life is not always a bed of roses and they still need to manage the fish stall in the traditional way like waking up early to get fresh supplies and descaling the fish, they still find it fulfilling and worth venturing. Their success story proves one thing: we can do this and we can do it as well as anyone around us.