In the pandemic, consumer behaviors changed to favor online shopping in light of travel restrictions and other PCOS. This represented opportunities for entrepreneurs to launch e-commerce businesses and for traditional businesses to be able to connect to the Internet as well.
In turn, companies that provide service to e-commerce and logistics space have seen an increase in demand for their services, which are essential for companies to reach customers.
A local startup that benefited from the boom is EasyParcel, which provides delivery services and helps you compare different delivery prices. For a quick introduction, it’s a Home of Penang of Bayan Lepas, founded by Clarence Leong. He also runs Pgeon, a last-mile delivery service provider.
EasyParcel currently serves 700,000 customers on 4 continents and, in 2020, the team recorded an 85% increase in revenue over the previous year.
It launched 4 new programs despite scarce resources
Now, when the pandemic first hit, the EasyParcel team saw a 40% drop in their parcel volumes during the first 2-3 weeks, as many vendors were still adjusting to the sudden blow.
Fortunately, sellers quickly switched to e-commerce and their package volumes began to pick up in the fourth week of the first MCO, which Clarence shared with Vulcan Post. Since then, they have been able to comfortably achieve their monthly goals.
But this boost in business opportunities also meant a double-edged sword. “Due to the e-commerce boom, our business expansion plans advanced rapidly from the third quarter to the first quarter,” Clarence said. They had to deal with a sudden increase in package volume while managing scarce resources such as transport equipment, labor and reduced working hours due to MCO restrictions.
However, they still found the opportunity to launch new programs:
- Paperless Pgeon: Paperless shipping labels designed specifically for consumers who do not have access to a printer. Instead of printing a physical shipping mark, customers can hand-write the tracking number directly to packages;
- PgeonMart: An online grocery market for local and local produce grocery store;
- PgeonFlex: A service that hires self-employed drivers who have lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic and travel restrictions;
- Entrepreneurial woman: An initiative launched in August 2020 to help women entrepreneurs deliver parcels and leverage e-commerce to expand or start their businesses.
The Womenpreneur campaign empowered 10,000 women in 6 months by providing them with delivery solutions for a total of RM 3 million, which meant 50 free deliveries for every women entrepreneur who joined the campaign.
Clarence added that they would even organize a similar campaign in the future, as women represent 36% of small business owners and are the majority of EasyParcel users.
Navigation for travel restrictions, limited manpower and more
To overcome the travel restrictions, they had to go through various departments to get the most accurate information about the operation of these restrictions.
“Every state or district has different legal applications, some might say yes, others might say no, and those decisions change overnight,” Clarence explained.
Fortunately, they had the help of the Malaysian Express Carriers Association (AMEC) to speed up communication between different parties and obtain the appropriate documents to overcome this problem.
Realizing the need to get digitally involved, especially at times like this, the EasyParcel team also created a variety of “How To” content, such as booking a delivery service, properly wrapping the package and select the best messaging service providers.
Over the past 6 months, they held more than 100 live streaming events to continue informing potential and new customers about how to use their services as well.
As mentioned, they had launched 4 programs in the middle of the pandemic and, to bring out these new programs to perfection, they used the existing workforce to contribute instead of creating new teams.
“A 10% contribution from each existing team works wonders instead of 100% from a new team, which would take a few months to launch a new project,” Clarence explained.
“This made it possible for PgeonMart to launch in 7 days from project planning, merchant acquisition, fleet arrangement and website creation.”
A network also makes sleep work
One of the new programs, PgeonFlex, was the one that helped the team manage the increase in parcel volumes for the year and during the holidays, as they feature many drivers from various ethnicities.
On a larger scale of things, be one Malaysia Center for Innovation and Global Creativity Alumni (MaGIC) offered them networking opportunities and, by joining the e @ Stanford program, learned from giants like Facebook, Google, and Stanford College in Silicon Valley.
“Having seen the difference in how the East meets the West is an open experience that has motivated us to review our business model and key control metrics based on what we have experienced through the program,” he said. remember Clarence.
Stepping on other SEA countries
Unfortunately, their expansion plans in the SEA region were hampered by the MCO, but they are still eager to see it and in the long run are looking for talent in other SEA countries to help bring their services to abroad.
In addition, they were challenged by the rising costs of complying with SOPs, but supported them to ensure the safety of their employees and drivers throughout this period.
“The biggest lesson we’ve learned is to be agile, to be able to move things quickly from backend support to people who are on the ground making picks and deliveries,” Clarence reflected.
And since e-commerce logistics is a hot industry that many are looking for a piece of the pie, we had to find out if I was worried about EasyParcel’s position.
“One of our strengths is that we had the advantage of being the leading logistics service provider in Malaysia and we have developed a strong network between local and foreign courier companies,” he replied.
“That said, we will be happy to form a partnership with new industry agents entering the logistics field in Southeast Asia, as we did with other established companies.”
We are confident that the logistics sector will continue to grow and thrive in the future, as the current pandemic contributes to the e-commerce boom. This boom relies heavily on logistics, which plays an important supporting role in e-commerce activities.
Clarence Leong, founder and CEO of EasyParcel
- You can learn more about EasyParcel here.
- You can read about more EasyParcel articles we’ve written here.
Featured Image Credit: Clarence Leong, founder of EasyParcel (left) and EasyParcel team (right)