Yee Hoi Coffee is a traditional coffee roastery in Ipoh that was founded in the early 1950s after the founder left the tin mining industry due to the Great Depression. Yee Hoi Coffee has supplied their signature blend of coffee to over 60 kopitiams and Mamak stalls, as well as directly to customers, since then. However, since dine-in restrictions were imposed during MCO in 2020, coffee sales have plummeted dramatically.
Helping a traditional business join the tech world
The pandemic prompted Yee Hoi Coffee to sell its products online. Aaron, who has a background in the IT services industry, joined forces with Yee Hoi Coffee in May 2020 to sell their convenient-packed coffee directly to consumers via eCommerce platforms. Getting online sales from a large audience who had never heard of Yee Hoi Coffee proved difficult for a coffee brand that had had no online presence since its inception. Aaron only completed 10 – 20 orders per month with the help of friends and family, gradually building up the credibility of Yee Hoi Coffee on Lazada and Shopee, which is an important criterion that influences people’s purchasing decisions.
Aaron participated in various sales organised by various eCommerce platforms in addition to running Facebook Ads. He received 20 orders in a single day during the recent 11.11 sales last year. Many customers who had Yee Hoi Coffee prior to the pandemic lockdown were overjoyed to learn that they could now purchase their favourite coffee online as word spread. To date, Yee Hoi Coffee’s online store has received 100 percent positive seller ratings on Lazada and an average of 4.9 out of 5.0 ratings on Shopee. The monthly sales volume has also increased to 30 – 50 orders.
Aaron hopes to expand the eCommerce business to other countries so that many homesick Malaysians can enjoy a taste of home while abroad.
The supportive coffee-loving community
The same coffee beans are used in both traditional kopitiam style coffee and espresso-based coffee served in cafes. With this in mind, Aaron reached out to the Malaysian coffee entrepreneur community. Despite the fact that the number of coffee brands available on the eCommerce landscape tripled within six months of the pandemic, the competitive nature of this industry does not prevent its community from sharing knowledge with fellow entrepreneurs and supporting one another.
This community shares the same passion for spreading the coffee drinking culture that Malaysians from all walks of life have embraced. This sense of belonging drives Aaron to continue promoting Ipoh’s traditional heritage while also keeping up with modern times.