Today I’m with Chris, the Delivery Manager of Qoo10 to talk about how it is accelerating the development of e-commerce deliveries.
(Chris Lee, Delivery Manager for Qoo10)
James: Chris, thank you for taking my interview. I just wanted to find out if there are any new developments going on with Qoo10, in terms of parcel deliveries.
Chris: Currently, we are trying to cooperate with many delivery companies such as Singpost and Qxpress. What we are looking to achieve is the next level of delivery service to improve the quality of delivery – one of our ideas is to have a delivery locker.
Normally, parcels are dropped off from Singpost normal mail or delivered by courier services. But now people feel more comfortable collecting from certain places. Services like SingPost’s Popstation and Qxpress’s Bumbox are looking into how they can provide convenient delivery locations for customers to pick up their parcels.
(Singpost PopStation Locations)
James: To paraphrase what you are saying, so Qoo10 customers can choose 2 types of delivery options. One is standard delivery to their home and the second is a click and collect option, whereby they can have their Qoo10 purchase delivered to a locker in a convenient location. How big will the network of lockers be and where will they be located?
Chris: Popstation which is run by Singpost has 150 collection points islandwide and you can find one every 1.5 kilometers. Qxpress is currently in talks with Bumbox, which is working with universities to put the locker service in their campuses. For instance, in NTU, deliveries can’t be made to certain parts of the campus. So drivers drop off parcels at Bumbox and university students can collect from there.
James: So it’s sort of like a one-stop postal box for university students in NTU? How does it work exactly? If I buy something from Qoo10 today, do I have a limited time to collect my parcels and how will I be updated about the delivery?
Chris: Actually both locker services are quite similar. Sellers have to first offer this delivery service on Qoo10 because our sellers have the freedom to choose their own delivery companies. Buyers can then choose normal delivery or the locker service. They can choose the locker location and the seller will pass the items to Singpost or Qxpress. They will deliver the items to the locker and then send a message by SMS or email to the customers to notify them that the deliveries have been made. The customers can open the lockers with these messages.
James: So a PIN is sent to their mobile phones or emails, with which they can unlock these electronic locker boxes to retrieve their parcels. How many days do they have to do this from the point they receive the message?
Chris: Once the seller dispatches the package, both services are similar but Popstation could be faster. In less than 1 day, the items could be delivered to the boxes.
(How Bumbox Works)
James: This Singpost Popstation and Qxpress Bumbox development, why did Qoo10 decide to go into this area? Is this a trend that is catching on in Singapore – Singaporeans preferring to do click and collect instead of home delivery? Especially since Singaporeans are usually working or in school or out, is it more convenient to collect their parcels from these locker boxes instead?
Chris: Yes, it’s true. The difficulties for delivery companies are quite similar. Even though they try to deliver to the house, most of the time Singaporeans are quite busy so they are not at home. It takes a lot of time and effort to rearrange or collect the item from Singpost post office. During work or school, it’s quite difficult to deliver to their office or school. A lot of demands coming from such a busy situation - so buyers prefer to collect nearby where it’s easy to access. According to Singpost staff, it is really fast moving. Once they send the message, the time customers take to collect their parcels from these lockers is quite short and it’s usually within one day.
James: Chris, earlier we were chatting about your new same day delivery service Qxfresh. Do you mind talking a bit about it as well?
Chris: That is still in the planning and development stage. We are trying to deliver items on the same day. Singaporeans love to eat fresh food but such items are usually frozen and need temperature controls. In those cases, the delivery time for these items is crucial to keep the freshness. The second thing is we are trying to make customers purchase lifestyle necessities like soap and diapers, necessities which are regularly needed in their life. If you do not have enough toilet paper today, you need to go to the convenience store. What we are trying to bring to customers is deliver those items urgently to customers and that’s why we are developing same-day delivery at this moment.
James: So basically there’s a focus on fresh food, frozen meat for example. The other part is daily groceries and daily necessities. For this service, will customers be paying a premium? How will it work out?
Chris: If the price is too high, people might still choose to purchase these items from offline channels. We have to find a balance between the cost and service itself. Actually this is still in development stage so if we can find a low-cost, faster-delivery solution, that’s the best.
James: That sounds like something we will definitely be looking forward to. I just wanted to ask when these two projects will be past the development stage?
Chris: Locker services with Qxpress and Singpost will be launched in a month or so (August) as the infrastructure is already there. Now we are exploring technical issues so it shouldn’t take much time to do this. Qxfresh will need some trial and error – we are trying our best to provide the service ASAP.
James: You are from Korea, where e-commerce is so much more mature and there are a lot of advancements there, but not in Singapore yet, in terms of delivery for e-commerce. Are these two projects trends in Korea and how has the response been?
Chris: Actually the locker service is quite unique for Singapore. It’s a quite different environment. In Korea I’m not sure if you heard of kyeong bi won or guardhouse – every condo and public housing flat has one of these. Even though there is no one at home, there’s someone who can receive parcels on their behalf so they don’t need a locker service. In Singapore, HDB flats only have small mailboxes and condo guardhouses doesn’t keep the parcels for the residents.
James: So basically you’re saying that the security team would have a room where they keep the parcels. Is Qxpress trying to explore a commercial form of this, whereby they are putting these lockers boxes in convenient locations around Singapore? What do you see for Singapore in 5 years, since you’re an e-commerce delivery expert? The trends you hope would happen or bring to Singapore?
Chris: This is just a plan but I think we can cooperate with many retail shops. TaQbin is already cooperating with 7-11. A lot of delivery options will be available, including the new locker boxes. If Qoo10’s items can be collected from 7-11, Macdonalds, Starbucks, definitely it will be much more convenient for our customers and there are some customers who will demand this service. I believe there is room for collaboration between offline and online stores, in terms of delivery.
James: That sounds really exciting. Thank you Chris for the talk today – it was really good to understand how Qoo10 is improving the development of deliveries for e-commerce. I’m sure we will catch up with you soon.
Chris: Thank you so much
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