Ramadan is just around the corner yet there is no sign that coronavirus is going on a fasting mode. This means there might be no taraweeh, no community iftar and no Bazaar Ramadan in Malaysia this year, as crowds and mass gatherings are prohibited.
The cancellation of Bazaar Ramadan might not be a big deal to some but for thousands of low-income households, it is their only lifeline to put food on the table. The Ramadan Bazaar is their only means of generating income by preparing and selling food for Iftar, and is now cancelled. But necessity is the mother of all inventions.
If a cobbler offering shoe repairing service can operate digitally why not a Ramadan bazaar?
Ramadan Bazaar Going Digital
MuslimBrands is a mobile app that offers e-commerce marketplace to business owners to sell Halal products and Muslim brands online, similar to Shopee or Lazada. The app started as a directory of Muslim brands and products.
MuslimBrands is now going a step further by introducing the Bazar Ramadhan online, known as the E-Bazaar. The E-Bazaar feature within the app is for the users in Malaysia to offer ease of buying ready-cooked food during the holy month of Ramadan where meals are delivered to the customers’ homes.
The E-Bazaar feature in the MuslimBrands app is location-based, where customers can choose from Bazaar food sellers within their vicinity, and the meal will then be delivered to the customers.
Supporting The Muslim Economy
We spoke with the CEO and co-founder of MuslimBrands, Abd Muhammad Tasnim, who told us about how it all started.
MuslimBrands is a startup founded by four tech-based Malaysian Muslims who truly believe in helping Muslims to create their own economic ecosystem to help Muslims establish themselves economically, rather than relying on external help. This is to the extent that they have all personally invested in the startup themselves.
MuslimBrands became prominent during the Buy Muslim First campaign when it started its mobile app as a directory for genuine halal Muslim businesses and entrepreneurs.
While their mobile app offers an experience similar to popular shopping apps such as Shopee or Lazada, their pricing for sellers is far more competitive, at four to five times lesser than the more popular apps charge. This reflects MuslimBrands’ dedication to help Muslim and Halal businesses thrive.
The startup founders are also aware of the pains of the low-income families who rely on selling ready-cooked meals during Ramadhan in Ramadhan Bazaar. As Malaysian authorities are canceling the Bazaar to take place this coming Ramadhan due to the coronavirus epidemic, they are introducing the Bazar Ramadhan online feature in the MuslimBrands app to enable these people to earn an income as food sellers or as delivery riders.
Ease of Mind For Customers
According to Muhammad Tasnim, “We want the customers to have ease of mind when buying on our mobile app. Customers can be assured that the products sold on MuslimBrands are 100 percent Halal.” “We are the first Shariah-compliant marketplace.”
“This is different from buying from other general shopping apps, where customers must check first if the product they selected is halal or not. We check all products to ensure that they are Halal before we allow it to be sold on the MuslimBrands app.”
Customers buying via the app can also be assured of the guarantee that the items they purchase are in good condition before the money is released to the seller.
Muhammad Tasnim revealed that their app already has 20,000 users and is growing daily. They currently have over 300 sellers on the platform and are looking for more sellers to join their marketplace app.
“There’s currently a lot of demand for Halal products sold on our platform.”
“A few of our sellers have mentioned that the lockdown due to Covid-19 have helped them increase their sales online by three to four times more by using our mobile app. More people now see the importance of e-commerce.”
“We are inviting more sellers to join our marketplace. We are also inviting Ramadhan Bazar food sellers to join us on the E-Bazaar in MuslimBrands.”