At The Forefront of Merchant Apps in Indonesia


On March 2021, Benjamin Tanone, better known as Ben, joined the Grab Software Engineering team.

Although he had only joined us for a year, Ben has contributed a lot to the progress of merchant experience at Grab.

Merchant portal is a platform created for merchants to control their business  on the Grab platform. Through this, they can freely manage their merchandise, from adding photos to writing descriptions of their products.

One of Ben’s tasks was to create a merchant experience website. Previously, the merchant experience could only be accessed via a mobile application, which did not provide the ideal experience for high-volume Merchant Partners editing a large amount of items. To create accessibility for merchants, this dedicated website was created.

Ben gave an insight into the business:  every day hundreds of photos can be uploaded onto the Grab platform by merchants. But it’s impossible for them to be viewed individually. In order to solve this, there is an AI engine which filters the photos, so if there is a merchant who uploads photos other than food, the photos will be rejected. #funfact


Ben on his working space


When asked about the challenges he has faced, Ben admitted that there are indeed many challenges to overcome so as to provide the best service for our merchant-partners, and one of those challenges is pricing.

“When we want to create a new pricing system, we have to pay attention to whether the merchant-partners will be in favour of it. Luckily I used to run my own business, so I can see from a merchant’s point of view.” 

In addition, there are many business regulations in different countries. For example, Merchant Partners selling alcohol in Singapore can directly register and upload photos of their items on the Grab platform, but in Indonesia, our Merchant Partners must contact Grab’s internal team if they want to update merchandise that contains alcohol.

To ensure that Grab’s Merchant Partners get the best experience while using the Grab platform, Ben and his team gather feedback from merchants regularly through Product Managers who are in direct contact with merchants. If there are complaints, Ben and his team will seek to find solutions to resolve the issues.

Apart from working on GrabMerchant Portal, Ben is also part of the SDK team. The SDK team is tasked with creating a scalable platform for Grab to launch new features. An example is GrabMart, which has only been released for one year. From an engineering point of view, GrabMart reused  existing features from GrabFood which were later modified slightly to suit GrabMart’s needs. The SDK team is working hard to minimise this coupling, which would allow Grab engineers to release bespoke features for our offerings in a faster and safer manner.  

Through his journey at Grab, Ben has learned many valuable lessons from his work and his team members. By embracing challenges as opportunities to learn and grow, Ben has found working at Grab to be very enjoyable with a good work-life balance. 

For those who are interested in joining the Grab Engineering team, a tip given by Ben is to take ownership at work. What Ben noticed from his co-workers, is that if there is a problem, colleagues will always be around to help. 

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