Monday, April 02, 2007

SNS News : - Malaysia's First Online Bulk Discount Store

Today marks the launch of Tumpang.Com, Malaysia's First Online Bulk Discount Store. Going live with a brand new user interface, this website that has been undergoing test for the better part of last year is now open for business.

Tumpang presents a new concept in online shopping. The name is taken from the Malaysian word "Tumpang" which essentially means "Pooling" as in "Car-Pooling". As the names suggests, Tumpang.Com facilitates a transaction by letting users pool their resources to qualify for a bulk discount.

"Assuming a mobile phone costs RM 1,000 at the retail outlets," Tumpang's Senior Marketing Manager, Mr. Raymond Chuah explains, "most retailers are willing to give a discount if you buy more units, perhaps RM 900 per unit for 10 units." Acknowledging that no individual shopper can commit to 10 units of mobile phones, Tumpang allows other interested parties to "ride" on this bulk. All it takes is simply for someone to "drive" or post this item up on Tumpang. The driver of an item, may be a retailer or a distributor, or even just an interested buyer looking for others to share his or her bulk.

This fundamental concept of Tumpang makes it very different from online auction sites such as the ever-popular eBay and its local variant, Lelong. While auction sites have buyers competing with one another to purchase an item, Tumpang encourages its users to cooperate with one another to get good bargains. Basically, bulk discounts simply mean that if you buy more, you get more discounts. And by this logic, gathering more people to buy and item will get you a better price for it.

Tumpang is not merely a website or a glorified webshop. Beyond the colourful pages we see on the homepage is a powerful tool that helps sellers or drivers organise their sale. Fully designed and engineered from scratch, Tumpang's engine is able to support complex orders by organising and managing the buyers of an item. Users can mark a buyer as having paid for the item or having collected it. He is also able to communicate with his buyers via SMS or email, provided within Tumpang. At the very same time, buyers are able to confirm a booking or cancel it with just a few clicks. He can also ask questions or discuss payment methods with the seller via Private Messaging or by merely leaving a comment on the item page. These functions also make Tumpang suitable for other applications.

Tumpang founder, Mr Jefrey Ong, has this to say, "We created a tool to facilitate and manage a bulk purchase but it has potential to do so much more." Tumpang can be used to organise group outings, fishing trips, futsal or badminton games, group tours, paintball challenges and other kinds of social events. "Imagine trying to organise a futsal game for 20 players," said Ong, "Trying to get in touch with all those people can be a nightmare." Tumpang takes care of this easily. All the organiser has to do is to set up an item page and specify how many people it will take to make the event possible. This item can be open to the public or even set for private viewing amongst friends. From there on, it's up to the users.

From a technology standpoint, Tumpang is certainly up there with the latest applications on the web today. Powered by PHP 5 and MYSQL 5, most of its processes are run on the databases side using stored procedures. On the front end, Tumpang is designed very differently from most e-commerce websites being crafted entirely on a CSS architecture. This will enable a better user experience and will cater for future expansions. There will soon be an Application Programming Interface (API) in the near future for developers who may be keen to customise or integrate Tumpang into their blog or corporate websites. For now, web users can still make use of Tumpang's RSS feeds to see the latest items on sale.

Tumpang currently has a little over 500 registered members in its system since it started testing almost 12 months ago. However, the company is confident that this figure will climb with the new user interface and also with some exciting events planned over the next few months.

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