Founder Alexander is a frequent traveller for work, as an entrepreneur who has held a few regional positions over the years.
Travelling across Asia and the USA is like a Tuesday for someone like him, so friends and family would often pile him with requests for items and souvenirs they can’t otherwise get without some pretty bombastic shipping fees.
They started out with requests for food, products or duty-free items, but they soon grew into requests to ship items to the hotel Alexander was staying at.
Seeing a clear interest in the Malaysian market, Alexander turned what we can imagine being an annoyance into a business opportunity. With the help of an angel investor, Jetspree was born.
The premise? Jetspree will bring on board a gaggle of frequent travellers who join for the promise of earning a bit of extra income while they jetset across the world and back.
Alexander of Jetspree informed us that, “While we are aware of competitors, our online and offline surveys show us that Malaysians are still not familiar with the concept of cross-border shopping.”
To Jetspree, they are delivering on a product that, according to their research, is in demand.
To Alexander, “We see people offering cross-border shopping with limitations, for example, individual proxy shoppers over Facebook or WhatsApp groups. We want our customers to have a safe and secure platform with payment security. We want to open the doors and to truly offer a complete solution for cross-border shopping.”
“Our team believes in our vision to make cross-border shopping as easy as everyday e-commerce. It is critical to ensure that our product and technology works well.”
How the platform works is this: they’re the middlemen.
Users make their orders on products that they would like shipped to them. They can choose to make payments either through credit or debit card, but either will only get charged once a request is fulfilled by a traveller.
On the traveller’s end, Jetspree’s staff will be on standby to meet travellers at the airport, or on the day they return home.
After they’ve checked out the purchases for acceptable quality, it’s Jetspree who will deliver it to the customers—thus releasing payment for travellers to collect.
“A traveller earns a percentage of the item price they claim, which is when they take up the order posted by a shopper,” said Alexander. “The percentage rates are determined by the shopper. We encourage travellers to claim as many item requests as possible to earn more during one trip. The more you claim, the more you earn.”
According to research by Forrester, cross-border shipping will eventually make up 20% of e-commerce worldwide by 2022. And sales are predicted to go into US$630 billion.
Not to mention, cross-border buying online is also predicted to eventually outpace any domestic growth. The joint annual growth rate is predicted to be at 17% somewhere between now and 2022, compared to the 12% annual growth enjoyed by B2C e-commerce.
So how do Jetspree plan to win a slice of the cross-border pie?
- Customer safety and security (in regards to their payment system)
- A good UI/UX design for simplicity
- High product assortment—in fact, users are even allowed to request for anything from anywhere they want by customising their request, if browsing did not yield the product of their desires.
And here’s how they’re streamlining between request and demand.
Their strategy lies in acquisitions of both shoppers and travellers.
“In order for Jetspree to work, there needs to be demand of shopper requests and supply of traveller trips. Demand and supply growth is healthy now based on what we have seen during our first week of launch.”
“Being in a competitive marketplace, Jetspree needs to be operations savvy while maintaining a customer-centric approach. We handle the entire process, from request validation, moderation, product research, matching and ensuring requests are claimed.”
“Moderation is the key. We want to ensure that requests are valid and travellers benefit from claiming them. We are constantly looking to improve our technology and algorithms to drive growth, matching and moderation.”
As a baby startup that only launched 30th August 2017, they’re not quite yet able to deliver on 100% fulfillment—their lofty goals.
But they think that by handling the process from A–Z makes a difference, and they’re “willing to go the extra mile to offer a personalised experience to our shoppers and travellers”.
Not even a month into their launch, Jetspree has gained 10,000 sign-ups, combining both shoppers and travellers.
“We see a high amount of travellers posting their trips, which is what we want and it shows we are on track. This is the perfect scenario for shoppers to request for items knowing that there are travellers out there who will claim their requests.”
After their soft launch, they found that the requests they received ranged from luxury makeup to electronics.
“We also have requests for very specific products such as the Michelin-star cup noodles from Japan, rare comic books, and a colouring book by a KPOP artist.”
“Jetspree was designed to be user-friendly on the frontend, but it is complicated on the backend from an operational point of view.”
The team is learning on the fly, coming up with solutions and technical improvements as they go.
They think that cross-border shopping platforms are established in certain countries, but still reasonably new enough in Malaysia to give them a go.
“The idea of Jetspree is extremely technical, it is a business model with a difficult solution to engineer which we overcame by conducting research and business hypotheses. We are now testing our hypotheses methodically in order to unlock value for our users.”
“We are improving moderation to avoid asymmetric information, and improving our matching process to ensure effective matching between shoppers and travellers.”
Editor’s note: This article has been edited to correct the attribution of statements and also to clarify the timeline of users acquired.
Feature Image Credit: Jetspree