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Photo credit: Grab

Everyone knows the Grab mantra by now: to become Southeast Asia’s “everyday app for consumers.” But closest competitor Go-Jek is also making a claim to that title.

As Grab’s spokespersons are all too keen to point out, it’s not just a ride-hailing company anymore. It’s also your ticket to getting food and online shopping delivered, paying for your meals and purchases cash-free, and securing loans and buying insurance.

And now, it will even stand in a queue for you.

GrabAssistant has been undergoing beta testing in the Philippines since last month. This new feature within the main Grab app turns the firm’s driver-partners into personal shoppers for users who are too busy (or simply can’t be bothered) to head to the store themselves.

Drivers can also be recruited to stand in line for users, allowing them to avoid wasted time queueing – a business idea that has already gained popularity in India.

Users enter a pick-up point, a task or shopping list, and a delivery location, and then can communicate with their drivers through the in-app chat feature. Drivers – who are enlisted from the firm’s GrabExpress same-day delivery service – can buy and deliver goods of up to 1,000 pesos (just over US$18.70)

Prices for the service – which is available across Metro Manila – start at 99 pesos (about US$1.85) and go up as the driver travels longer distances (and not including the cost of their shopping or task itself). Payments can only be made in cash at the moment.

Making the first move

GrabAssistant mirrors Go-Mart, the personal shopping feature that rival Go-Jek has been offering to Indonesian consumers since 2015.

It’s the latest in a string of logistics-related services being trialed by Grab in anticipation of Go-Jek’s arrival on its turf later this year.

Last month, it partnered with ecommerce site Shopee in the Philippines to offer same-day delivery through GrabExpress. Grab plans to expand the service to other merchants.

Following its acquisition of Uber’s Southeast Asia operation, Grab merged UberEats into its own food-delivery app, GrabFood, extending its coverage to Malaysia and Singapore.

Go-Jek delivery

Photo credit: Go-Jek

In its first expansion beyond Indonesia, Go-Jek is set to enter Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines this year by setting up autonomous local units. The company has already unveiled names and branding for its Thai and Vietnamese operations.

Grab already has a presence in multiple countries, which means Go-Jek will have a lot of work to do to catch up to its Singapore-based archrival.

But even though Go-Jek has been restricted to the Indonesian market until now, it has outpaced Grab when it comes to diversification.

Having become an established player in everything from ride-hailing and food delivery to digital payments and events ticketing – and even on-demand massages – Go-Jek is arguably a step or two ahead in terms of being an “everyday app for consumers.”

By launching services like GrabAssistant in the Philippines, Grab is hoping it can play to its geographic advantage and make a mark in Manila before Go-Jek arrives later this year.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

Currency converted from Philippine peso. Rate: US$1 = PH₱53.43

This post In preemptive strike on Go-Jek, Grab introduces personal assistant service in Manila appeared first on Tech in Asia.

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