DHL eCommerce: Asia is particularly active when it comes to online business
“The worldwide e-commerce story is a logistical phenomenon of our time – and a huge opportunity,” says Charles Brewer, CEO for non-European markets at DHL eCommerce. His company has long seized this opportunity. The motto goes: “You sell. We deliver.” The market volume is huge; according to data from DHL eCommerce, one billion people will be ordering goods across borders via the internet as early as by 2020.
Logisticians also want to benefit from the growth of online retailers. DHL eCommerce, a Deutsche Post DHL Group subsidiary operating in 220 countries and regions worldwide with more than 20,000 employees is rapidly expanding its network, especially in key markets, in order to attract customers and retailers alike. Example of Malaysia: “Our country is at the forefront of e-commerce in the B2C sector in Southeast Asia,” says Gerard Sta Maria, Acting Managing Director of DHL eCommerce Malaysia. “In order to offer our customers even more options for picking up and placing their orders, we expanded our network to 350 ServicePoints in November 2017.”
ServicePoints in response to changed recipient behavior
“These ServicePoints benefit sellers and buyers alike,” explains Cheryl Han, Senior Director Marketing and Communications at DHL eCommerce: “We have specifically targeted small shops and kiosks with very long opening hours as places in which to set up the ServicePoints. Here, the sellers can drop off their shipping packages for onward transport and buyers can pick up their ordered goods.” The ServicePoints are a response to worldwide changes in recipient behavior; Han continues: “In 2016, 92 percent of the customers still ordered delivery of their goods to their doorstep. However, this figure dropped to 82 percent in 2017. 39 percent would be prepared to pick up their goods at fixed stations or in shops or are already making use of this option.” While packing stations have proved very useful for picking up goods in Europe, customers in markets such as Malaysia, Thailand or Vietnam have opted for the “communicative” version of the ServicePoints integrated into shops: “Our customers here simply enjoy talking to people when picking up or dropping off packages,” says Cheryl Han.
The Asia-Pacific region is the fastest growing e-commerce region in the world. Online business is also showing very dynamic growth in Malaysia: The market volume is expected to increase by 15.8 per cent to €1 billion per year by 2020.
DHL eCommerce is thus also implementing its strategy in Vietnam: the country already boasted 100 ServicePoints in the summer of 2017. This figure is expected to rise to over 1000 in the near future. For collectors and receivers alike, all transactions can be processed at the stations without paper in less than a minute, including via an app.
Vietnam’s largest digital marketplaces, with hundreds of thousands of connected online retailers, already boast up to 40 million visits per day. With the help of partnerships, DHL eCommerce wants to dock onto these marketplaces and take over the associated logistical services. The company has also announced plans to dramatically increase its fleet of delivery vehicles, cargo bikes and electric courier motorcycles.
Moreover, the logistics company is putting special priority on the approximately 900,000 micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in Malaysia, which account for around 97 percent of national trade. DHL eCommerce wants to offer them efficient solutions not only for shipping processes, but also to facilitate access to digital marketplaces.
DHL eCommerce wants to become a game changer in Chile too
There is a long list of countries in which DHL eCommerce is heavily investing: 1000 new ServicePoints in Thailand, a new distribution center in Delhi, India, as part of a €250 million investment strategy by 2020, another new distribution center in Narita, Japan, or recent activities in Chile are just a few examples of the logistics giant’s expansion plans. Charles Brewer finds the elongated country on the southwest coast of South America particularly interesting: “Chile’s economic prospects look bright. The country is already number one for online shopping in the southern part of the continent, and the volume is expected to double to 2.3 billion US dollars by 2020.” Country Manager Hugo Donoso adds: “72 percent of people in Chile have access to the internet, and 50 percent own a smartphone. This makes Chile the leader in Latin America. We want to leverage our services to become a game changer here, filling a gap in the market with high-quality logistics services.”
DHL eCommerce is however not focusing exclusively on the small or medium-sized companies in the future markets mentioned above: In addition to the high network coverage offered by the logistics provider, international online retailers such as Babyonline from China, Shiseido from Thailand or The Healthy Chef from Australia, rely primarily on additional services such as shipment tracking or fulfillment options, which range from order acceptance to warehousing and billing.
Text by Behrend Oldenburg