Vietnamese startup Loship upgrades the customer experience game by combining food delivery and podcasts


Vietnam’s leading one-hour-delivery e-commerce startup Loship has released its newest feature: Loship Radio. The feature allows users to listen to podcast and audio-based content right on the Loship app, providing additional sources of entertainment and news for customers while waiting for food delivery.

In October 2019, Loship had raised an undisclosed eight-digit funding (in USD) led by Smilegate Investment from South Korea.

The growth potential of the podcasting market

Podcasting is considered the fastest-growing entertainment medium at the moment. The global podcasting market size is expected to reach $41.8 billion by 2026, according to ResearchAndMarkets.com.

Experts attribute much of this growth to the accessible nature of the medium and the rise of at-home listening during the COVID pandemic.

In Vietnam, awareness of this medium has also seen a sharp uptick. A proliferation of shows, the popularity of podcast producers like Spotify, and the spread of technologies have all helped the medium blossom. Statistics show that over 50 million Vietnamese spend an average of 2.5 hours a day consuming digital content on social networks.

Speaking of the potential of podcasts in Vietnam, Hamlet Truong – a famous songwriter and content creator who owns a radio channel on YouTube, said: “Statistically, in 2018, the reading rate of Vietnamese people is 1 book/ year. By 2020, this ratio is projected to decrease to 0.08 book/person/year. Looking at neighboring countries like Thailand, people spend on average 30 minutes a day reading. That said, Vietnam’s reading culture is relatively poor, and people are likely to adopt new knowledge by listening rather than reading. As such, radio and podcasts still have certain growth potential.”

The combination of food delivery and Podcast: the Medici Effect

In the prevailing podcast wave, Loship, Vietnam’s fast-growing e-commerce startup, is one of the first-movers in the food delivery sector, taking advantage of this medium. The startup has pioneered integrating radio/podcast listening features right on its delivery app, allowing users to enjoy fascinating audio content while waiting for the food to come. The feature, called Loship Radio, is the first and only podcasting feature among all food delivery apps.

This unique combination can be explained as the Medici Effect, which states that increased creativity and innovation will occur through diversity. In other words, when ideas from different fields are brought together to collaborate, step-changes can happen.

“Food delivery and podcasts are two seemingly unrelated areas, but together they can yield positive effects on the customer experience. By allowing customers to listen to the radio while waiting for delivery, we can turn that boring break time into something meaningful and exciting. All new ideas are combinations of existing ideas,” shared Loship CEO Trung Hoang Nguyen.

Fostering the listening culture in Vietnam

With this in-app radio/podcast feature, Loship has garnered much attention amongst customers and media alike. The Vietnamese startup has cooperated with notable podcast producers to integrate exclusive audio-based content into its platform. Some of the partners include Voiz FM – an audiobook and podcast platform and Hamlet Truong Radio run by Vietnamese songwriter, content creator, and best-selling author Hamlet Truong.

Speaking of the partnership with Loship Radio, Hamlet Truong noted: “A few podcast apps in Vietnam have failed to operate as Vietnamese lack the habit of active listening. To change customer behavior, we should start from passive listening, which means giving them the most favorable and effortless environment for listening. Customers don’t need to look for new platforms to listen to. Let the audio sound come to them most naturally while they’re doing other chores. Gradually, customers will form the habit of active listening and evolve it into a listening culture.”

Loship Radio team and Exclusive Content Partner – Hamlet Truong

Sharing the same sentiment, Loship CEO Trung Hoang Nguyen emphasized: “When embarking on this feature, besides the desire to bring new and interesting customer experience, Loship also wants to foster a strong listening culture in Vietnam. Loship Radio isn’t just for business purposes or profitability. Some entrepreneurs do business solely for profits, and some want their business to have a significant impact society. We’re the latter.”

Looking ahead

The future of Loship Radio looks promising. The integration of podcasts into the existing food delivery platform would cost much less, as there is no necessity of setting up new networks.

Looking ahead, Loship aims to expand its audio-based content to a wider range of topics from history, business, spirituality, to comedy and technology, catering to customers’ diverse tastes.

“At Loship, we envision a world where everyone can enjoy an effortless and seamless experience from food savoring to entertainment – and Loship Radio is our starting point toward that vision,” Loship CEO concluded.

Loship was established in 2017 to provide a one-hour-delivery e-commerce platform for Vietnamese customers. Since then, it has grown to include over 70,000 drivers and 200,000 merchants, serving almost 2,000,000 customers.

In the second half of 2020, Loship raised an undisclosed amount in a bridge funding round led by Singapore-based Vulpes Investment Management and Saudi Arabia-based venture capital firms including DAAL Ventures and Wealth Well.

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