As quick as they can

With just a few simple steps on a computer or smartphone, Ms. Pham Huong Lan, the owner of a sportswear shop in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1, is able to arrange delivery of her products to customers within a day. 

She downloaded a delivery app on her smartphone and it’s proven to be very useful for her shop. Each order in the inner city costs just VND10,000-VND30,000 ($0.4-$1.3) for shipping to customers. “Our clients are ready to pay the extra because it’s convenient and saves time,” she said. 

Booming market


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Ms. Lan joins thousands of online shoppers in benefiting from rapidly-growing express delivery services in Vietnam. Customer confidence is commonly regarded as the greatest obstacle facing e-commerce businesses but has also become a “precious” asset these businesses are keen to acquire. 

“Vietnamese people appreciate the importance of speedy goods delivery, especially those in major cities,” Mr. Nguyen Tran Thi, Co-founder and CEO of Giao Hang Nhanh, told VET. Domestic and foreign businesses who can deliver faster and have better service quality, he said, will win the trust of customers. 

According to a recent report from Euromonitor, e-commerce revenue in Vietnam is expected to reach $2.86 billion by 2020 and the scale of its e-commerce market may increase seven-fold by that time. Online retailers need high quality logistics and transportation solutions to expand their operations. 

“E-commerce booming presents a great opportunity for forwarding businesses in general and fast shipping in particular,” said Mr. Thi. 

Vietnam has a young population and a high proportion of people using smartphones and the internet. There were more than 23 million “Connected Spenders”, who have the ability to access the internet and are willing to spend their discretionary income, in Vietnam in 2016, according to Nielsen Vietnam’s latest study, and that number is expected to nearly double to 40 million in 2025. 

More sizeable, their spending will also rise, from $50 billion annually to $99 billion over the same time period and, by 2025, they are expected to account for half of all consumer spending.

Meanwhile, “Vietnam’s e-commerce market has huge and relatively untapped potential for local retailers, e-tailers, and marketplaces,” said Mr. Charles Brewer, CEO of DHL eCommerce. “In 2016, total e-commerce spending hit $1 billion despite barely over 50 per cent of the population being online. 

With e-commerce spending expected to grow at around 23 per cent per year between now and 2020, local e-tailers need scalable, high quality logistics solutions with nationwide coverage more than ever before.” 

Figures from the Vietnam E-commerce Association (Vecom) show that e-commerce shoppers paying online in 2016 accounted for only around 8-15 per cent of sales, while cash-on-delivery (COD) was 85-90 per cent. 

“This makes COD a must-have feature for e-commerce to succeed,” said Mr. Thomas Harris, Managing Director of DHL eCommerce Vietnam. “That, combined with concerns about the hassle of returns and refunds, has made growth an uphill battle for many local e-tailers.” 

Major players

Express delivery has become a gold mine for logistics enterprises and a range of global giants along with local startups jumping into the market has triggered fierce competition.

DHL eCommerce, a division of the world’s leading logistics company, Deutsche Post DHL Group, launched nationwide domestic B2C delivery operations in mid-July in Ho Chi Minh City. 

It offers domestic delivery nationwide around the country, managed by hubs and depots strategically located throughout the country. It supports next-day delivery in Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, and other primary markets.

At the same time, Yamato 365 Express, a joint venture between Yamato Holdings, one of Japan’s largest door-to-door delivery service companies, and Vietnam’s 365 Express, last month announced the launch of its flagship temperature-controlled service in Vietnam. Mr. Masaki Yamauchi, President of the Tokyo-based Yamato Holdings, said it will start offering refrigerated delivery services in the country, first working with restaurants and other businesses before moving on to consumers. 

“Vietnam’s growth rate of over 6 per cent makes the country a particularly attractive market,” he told the launch ceremony in Ho Chi Minh City. 

Mr. Dinh Vinh Cuong from Yamato 365 Express told VET that the joint venture was created to provide freight and other optimal services to individual and business customers. “Demand for cold supply in Vietnam is quite high and ranks seventh in the world,” he said. “Loss rates are at 25-30 per cent, however, mainly due to the transportation of cold transfer in Vietnam remaining limited.”

As one of the leading companies in the forwarding market, Giao Hang Nhanh is planning to increase its market share to 16-17 per cent with 2,000 forwarders over the next two years. 

The company now has 86 freight stations, covering major cities nationwide and with a “compensation regardless of reason” policy attracting customers. “Giao Hang Nhanh is trying to take advantage of market opportunities to develop and complete our services,” Mr. Thi said.

Yamato 365 Express and Giao Hang Nhanh are just two of many enterprises now involved in Vietnam’s rapid shipping market, which has boomed in line with the popularity of e-commerce. Startups such as ShipS, Giao Hang Gia Re, Ninja Van, and Bagasus are also players of note, and many large companies in different sectors are also trying to enter the market. The rapid delivery market, which had just five or six players in 2013, now has more than 60, from small- to large-size.

Thanks to the potential, every business has its own development strategy to gain market share. Viettel Post is trying to increase its share, with the goal of becoming a leading delivery company in Vietnam. It has 860 post offices and 1,200 transaction points, covering all communes and districts around the country, and opens a new post office every day on average.

To improve delivery capacity, it has invested in more than 80 new vehicles of all types, bringing its total to more than 500, enabling it to execute large domestic and international contracts. 

Along with expansions in Ho Chi Minh City and northern Phu Tho province, Viettel Post will have nine key centers and four other centers in the major cities and provinces of Hai Phong, Hai Duong, Quang Ninh, and Nghe An, as well as more than 60 small branches around the country. 

Cost & technology race

Business

Year of establishment

Main services

DHL eCommerce

2017

E-commerce delivery, COD, Open-Box-Delivery

Grab Express

2015

E-commerce delivery, same day parcel delivery

Giao Hang Nhanh

2012

E-commerce delivery, COD, fast shipping, order management

Viettel Post

1997

Door-to-door delivery, COD, logistics, trade in services

UPS

1994

Door-to-door delivery, COD, logistics, trade in services

Vietnam Post

2007

Postal delivery, Postal finance, freight


A survey by US market researchers Temando found that more than 80 per cent of customers hope for delivery within a day, with 61 per cent hoping for even faster delivery. 

“We are now promoting the application of science and technology in management and operations, which helps us cut costs by 10-12 per cent,” said Mr. Thi. “We are also investing in more technology, with the AhaMove app, to help our customers access faster delivery services.”

According to Mr. Nguyen Thai Son, CEO of Tiki.vn, the biggest difficulties for e-commerce businesses are technology, warehousing, and human resources. “Delivery services should be both fast and at a reasonable price, as this would help enterprises gain sufficient capacity to compete,” he said. 

“To resolve the issue, Tiki is renovating its technology and using algorithms to precisely forecast customer demand.” 

Mr. Harris understand that express delivery and COD are the main factors in determining the success or otherwise of forwarding companies. 

“We recognize that having a fast and reliable delivery service won’t solve all issues, which is why we’ve tailored our nationwide network to seamlessly handle cash payments with next day cash remittance and returns, to take the burden off local e-tailers so they can fully focus on growth and customer experience,” he explained.

One shipping startup said that with a population of about 8 million people, as in Ho Chi Minh City, securing just 10 per cent of transport demand would result in a profit. In order to secure their fair share, businesses are concentrating on delivery speed and complete services. The country’s largest ride-hailing network, Grab, has offered Grab Express in Ho Chi Minh City since 2015, with prices of VND15,000 ($0.6) for the first five km in the inner city and delivery within the hour. 

Most online retail platforms offer free delivery when customers buy above a certain minimum price as part of their competition strategy. For example, Tiki has free delivery for purchases of more than VND150,000 ($6), while Lazada Express began a pilot last year on free delivery nationwide, as a step towards providing customers with easier access to online shopping.

Yamato 365 Express, meanwhile, revealed that it will focus for the time being on customers who have demand for cold storage. Its “Cool Ta K Bin” service is of Japanese standard and been used in many countries around the world. “Yamato 365 Express will register for PAS standards (the highest in cold services) and apply them in Vietnam,” Mr. Cuong said. The company is also preparing to launch a special service dedicated to e-commerce, called giaohangthutien.com.  

VN Economic Times

The rise of e-commerce in vn, vietnam economy, business news, vn news, vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietnam, vietnamnet news, vn news, Vietnam net news, Vietnam latest news, Vietnam breaking news
 
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