“A lot of people think that Easy Parcel is a courier service company. But we are not.”
“If you understand the business model of Booking.com, EasyParcel plays the same role,” founder Clarence Leong explains at the start of the interview.
Preferred to be known as an e-commerce shipping solutions provider, Easy Parcel essentially an aggregator that connects with many courier companies, where one and have the option to compare price and delivery options between the companies.
The ecommerce industry is booming, a lot of people are starting online businesses but the delivery and logistic aspects can be a challenge.
“The ecommerce industry is booming, a lot of people are starting online businesses but the delivery and logistic aspects can be a challenge.”
EasyParcel also offers pick up services on its platform– a key convenience aspect and service that only used to benefit sellers who signed up a business account with courier companies.
“Even so, the price is probably still high because they (couriers) don’t see the volume coming from you,” says Leong, referring to a group of ‘social sellers’ – people who use social media to sell products online but don’t necessarily run a full time e-commerce business.
“EasyParcel came to solve that particular vertical where you can actually open an account within five minutes time and get the best rate in town without any commitment or volume.” Business accounts with courier tend to have a contract period and a minimum spend in order to provide added benefits.
“We aren’t in competition with courier companies such as DHL or Pos Laju.”
“They are our partners that we work closely with. Therefore, our role in this business is as the middleman,” he adds.
Before venturing into entrepreneurship, Leong worked as an aerospace engineer in the United Kingdom for four years until he decided to return to Malaysia to start something of his own.
“I don’t even know how I came into this industry in the first place. I don’t have a background in logistics at all,” he says with chuckle.
Since moving back home, Leong has had his fair share of starting new companies – and failing; experiences, he says, were instrumental in preparing him to become a better entrepreneur.
One of his failed venture was online coupon purchasing platform EziVoucher that he started in 2010.
“We ran EziVoucher for almost two years until we decided to close it because I was pumping money into the company from my own savings and I couldn’t do that anymore,” says Leong.
In 2014, Leong started Easy Parcel. It now serves more than 450,000 users across four countries - Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand.
“Our revenue almost doubled every year,” says Leong. “In the last financial year, we closed at about USD16 million in revenue.”
Only the Malaysian operations is profit-making but he is confident of Easy Parcel’s prospects in line with e-commerce growth in Southeast Asia.
“We are just scratching the surface of every country. There’s still a lot that can be done. For Malaysia, we command about five percent market share – so there’s still 95 percent to grow.”
“My focus for the next 12 months will be on these four countries,” says Leong. “I want to simplify the ordering process even more for businesses.”
Another one of Easy Parcel’s key feature is its drop-off and pick up service in collection points.
Introduced in 2017, in partnership with convenience retail chain Bison Consolidated, the service called Pgeon Points allows senders to drop off their parcels at convenience stores, pharmacies and even hair salons near them, and the courier will pick them up later.
With over 4000 Pgeon Points nationwide, including Bison-owned myNEWS.com and 99 Speedmart outlets, Leong says the feature help ‘kill two birds with one stone’.
“Most of the time customers are not at home when the parcels get delivered. Courier companies are actually making a lot of losses when they have to re-attempt delivery.” By having a collection point, courier companies can reduce costs incurred from having to redeliver parcels.
“Meanwhile, by consolidating volume at one pick up point, couriers can collect many parcels. Thus, bringing the price down (for consumers),” says Leong.
Admittedly, the e-commerce and delivery solutions space is a crowded one but Leong feels optimistic about the opportunities available on the back of e-commerce growth.
“Many big players in the industry used say that a middleman (like us) was not necessary,” says Leong. “It took a lot of effort to be where we are today.”
“Now, the response is very encouraging. We’ve managed to catch the attention of big courier companies along the way, not just in Malaysia but in other countries as well.”
“You really need to believe in your dreams because when we first started, a lot of people didn’t really understand what we did.”
Ready for the next phase of growth, Easy Parcel will be embarking on fundraising soon, as it seeks to ramp up customer acquisition and invest in technology.
“If you look at Taiwan and China deal with logistics, there’s still a lot of things courier companies can do.”
“For example, do you know the estimated time the parcel will be at your doorstep? Most of the time, you don’t,” says Leong of the need to introduce real-time collection and delivery tracking service.
“So, there’s still a lot of basic things that can be done to be done but they (courier companies) need a lot of help.”
“As a start-u, we don’t mind taking the first bite and push the market a little bit. That will also contribute to our courier partners to be more efficient as well,” he says.