How DHL Express is preparing for an e-commerce boom
The growing levels of globalisation and digitalisation mean a strongly increasing number of merchants are selling globally and online marketplaces, such as shopping apps via which customers can choose from offerings worldwide.
As a result, this has meant that cross border trade has only increased in prominence over the past few years. To add to that, COVID-19 has meant that consumers are moving to e-commerce at a rate like never before. This will only increase during the popular mega shopping days such as ‘Black Friday’ and ‘Cyber Monday’. As a result, DHL Express is expecting an all-time high in e-commerce trade globally. Having already overseen around 35% e-commerce volume growth during 2020 in its network, the upcoming peak season will further accelerate this and will mean higher shipment quantities above 50% compared to last year’s peak season.
“Megatrends such as globalization and digitalization have an enormous impact on global trade,” commented John Pearson, CEO at DHL Express. “In recent decades, we have seen how globalization, increased trade and interaction have raised prosperity and choice, reduced poverty, cultivated diversity and enriched lives. At DHL Express it is our mission to enable global trade and support our customers during the most important days for their business. We make sure that goods are delivered as fast as possible - and Christmas gifts are being delivered to households all over the globe in time. We are proud of the strong commitment of our employees and couriers who are out there to fulfil our mission of connecting people and improving their lives. In times when the coronavirus hits both economy and private lives, their efforts are outstanding.”
With more than 100,000 employees worldwide and active in over 220 countries and territories, DHL Express has taken a number of precautionary measures, not just at the level of offering face masks but also introducing social distancing and working from home where possible. DHL has also implemented safer delivery procedures for receivers, without the need for customers to sign for their shipments. DHL has introduced these standards in a bid to continue to operate undisrupted but with safety at the forefront.
“COVID-19 and its impacts such as curfews or distancing led to massive changes in the retail sector all over the world”, says Michiel Greeven, EVP Global Sales at DHL Express. “As a consequence, the buying behaviour of consumers, but also B2B Buyers, changed significantly and shifted more and more into the online world. From an e-commerce perspective some might even say that Covid-19 brought 2030 to 2020, with online shopping and the necessary shipping as the new normal. And this not only counts for B2C retailers but also in the light of B2B E-commerce. Particularly in current days of uncertainty many giant stores will be going online with their sales promotion. This will have its effect on peak season as well and shoppers will be mainly going online to get the best deals instead of going to physical stores. With the result of fast shipping needs as well.”
Cainiao Network Launches Customer-Centric Logistics
As the logistics division of the Alibaba Group, Cainiao Smart Logistics Network has decided to provide its Southeast Asian customers with unsurpassed service during its annual shopping festival. Based on customer feedback surveys, the company will expand its real-time customer service support and speed up delivery times. ‘By expanding and deepening our services, we aim to provide a stronger logistics infrastructure that can bolster the booming eCommerce sector, support merchants’ expansion into new markets and diversify retail options for consumers’, said Chris Fan, Head of Cross-Border, Singapore, Cainiao Network.
Who Is Cainiao?
According to TIME Magazine, Cainiao ‘is far from a typical logistics firm’. The company controls an open platform that allows it to collaborate with 3,000 logistics partners and 3 million couriers. This means that merchants can choose the least expensive and most efficient shipping options, based on Cainiao’s real-time logistics analytics. The company’s goal is to ship packages anywhere in the world in under 72 hours—and for less than US$3.00.
For countless small business owners around the world, from coffee-growers to textile-weavers, this could change everything. Usually, it costs about US$100 to ship a DHL envelope from Shanghai to London in five days. Cainiao aims to change that. Said its CEO Wan Lin: ‘The biggest barrier to globalisation is logistics’.
What’s Part of the Upgrade?
Throughout the Tmall festival, Cainiao’s logistics upgrade will be divided into four critical segments:
- Real-time customer service support. Cainiao has launched a direct WhatsApp channel for customers to receive logistics updates and ask questions.
- Expansion of air freight parcel size and weight limits. Packages can now be up to 30 kilograms or 1-metre x 1.6 meters to help ship large items such as furniture.
- Daily air and sea freight connections. Shipping frequency will almost double to seven times weekly to maintain resilience and efficiency.
- Compensation for lost or damaged packages. Customers will be reimbursed up to RMB 2,000 (US$311).
Where is the Company Headed?
From June 1st to June 20th, the finale of Tmall, Cainiao will ensure that its customers feel confident in the company’s ability to deliver their packages. Despite global shipping delays due to COVID, the show will go on. Said Fan: ‘This series of customer-centric logistics upgrades reaffirms our goal of pursuing value-added services to enhance customers’ shopping experience while mitigating challenges posed by external factors’.
Furthermore, Cainiao has recently expanded its Southeast Asian operations, achieving revenue growth of 68% year-over-year. In Malaysia, the logistics operation has partnered with BEST Inc. and Yunda; in Singapore, the company has partnered with Roadbull, Park & Parcel, and the Singapore Post. And if its recent measures help retain and grow its customer base, the company will be well-poised to lead the industry in resilient and customer-centric global logistics. ‘COVID-19 made everyone realise how important the logistics infrastructure backbone is’, said Wan. ‘And it gave us a peek at what Cainiao should look like in three years’.