Honestbee review

I received my first Honestbee groceries delivery yesterday. Well, they were more than 3 hours late. So much for “get groceries fast”. I was sceptical and my scepticism turned out to be right. If you read their website about how they work, they basically recruit temporary staff to do all the work – packing and delivery, and I would imagine that more often than not, these temporary staff are not up to the task, especially if they only do the work on and off.

I was handed 3 recyclable groceries bags, and among the items I bought were frozen mid joint wings. Guess what was the state of the frozen mid joint wings? That’s right, half thawed. Obviously, with many deliveries to fulfill, it is not unreasonable to assume that by the time i received mine, it would have been at least more than an hour since they packed the stuff (or worse, and i think likely the case, it could have been more than 4 hours, since they were more than 3 hours late). Without cooler boxes, frozen items thaw very quickly. It goes to show Honestbee has not given enough thought to their operations. In contrast, Redmart delivers frozen stuff in cooler boxes, and they can even deliver ice cream without problem. Furthermore, the Redmart delivery always comes in sealed boxes which are only opened in your sight, so Redmart saves themselves some trouble if there were to be any discrepancy between what was ordered and what was delivered – it can only be caused by the packing personnel. And since packing is done in a centralised location (unlike Honestbee whereby they actually gather the stuff together from an actual supermarket – which I think introduces a lot of unpredictability), Redmart can deliver on time. The delivery window for Redmart is 2 hours, whereas Honestbee is overly optimistic in setting theirs to be within one hour.

Anyway, why did I try Honestbee? It’s because of the one-off promotion of $25 discount on a $60 order. Will I try Honestbee in the future? Only if they have attractive discounts. The minimum purchase required to get free delivery is $60, which is harder to hit than Redmart’s $50. Honestbee did get themselves onto Shopback.sg though, offering less than 9% of cashback. Now that Redmart is no longer on Shopback (Update 9/10/2015: Redmart is back on Shopback), perhaps there is a case for Honestbee. But honestly speaking, I think Honestbee will have to make their operations a lot more fail-proof.

It is interesting to note that the Uber (part time taxi driver) business model can even be applied to selling groceries, whereby you get part time helpers doing marketing (buying groceries) on your behalf. Goes to show that there is a huge shakeup that is happening in all traditional business models, to the benefit of consumers. It is slashing at the margins. Adapt or perish.

Update 15/11/2015: Get 9% cashback on Shopback for your Honestbee purchases. On top of any other discount you’re getting, you can get a further 9% discount on the final amount of your order.

Update: They’re no longer on Shopback. I guess they leveraged Shopback for their kick start marketing, and they don’t have much margin to allow such deep discounts, unlike Redmart. Theirs is a very high cost operation.

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