While Malaysia has a countless number of businesses that carry out logistics (seriously, just check out this 2019 directory that lists them all out), perhaps none are as well-known as Lalamove when it comes to last-mile deliveries.
However, it’s not a Malaysian startup. It began in Hong Kong and moved into Malaysia when it noticed a gap in our market that it could address: the pressing need for on-demand or same-day deliveries, especially for SMEs.
In an interview with Vulcan Post, the Managing Director of Lalamove Malaysia, Shen Ong, shared that the goal upon Lalamove’s entrance into our market was to become the 1-stop delivery solution for businesses of all sizes.
Half A Million Deliveries In 1 Year
It was expected that specific considerations would have had to be taken when Lalamove set foot on our shores.
From a cultural perspective, Shen Ong said that there is still a need to educate the market, not just from a brand perspective, but also from a technological standpoint, such as market penetration for mobile phone use.
Besides that, Lalamove also had to first understand the market needs, and find its niche in the competitive logistics sector.
“We had to ensure that we priced ourselves fairly and launched the delivery options that were the most likely to succeed,” Shen Ong told us. In addition to focusing on the wider consumer market, they also prioritised SMEs.
But are same-day deliveries really so important?
Apparently so, since Lalamove Malaysia has already completed over 500,000 deliveries so far, the most common of which are 2-wheel vehicle deliveries.
“On the end consumer side, we are now conditioned towards instant gratification,” Shen Ong explained, “As a result, the expectation to receive goods and services instantly has become the norm.”
From a B2B standpoint, however, Shen Ong stated that businesses want to grow faster than ever before. In order to scale up, they would need partners who prioritise rapid accomplishment of tasks or keep up to their pace, which is where on-demand delivery comes in.
But deliveries do come with their own set of challenges.
The Higher You Go, The More Challenges There Are
A key challenge Lalamove Malaysia faced back then was to figure out relevant industries to prioritise.
“A lot of time was spent on trial and error, cold calling, surveys, and determining our target demographic,” Shen Ong said.
Businesses were also still doing things the traditional way, and end consumers were used to the manual, time-consuming process of delivery.
In fact, end users were so used to the longer process that it was a challenge to break the habit, even if it gave better, quicker results, according to Shen Ong.
To combat this, the Lalamove Malaysia team had to educate segments of the market on the benefits of a same-day or on-demand delivery solution.
As they moved higher up the value chain, the challenges of delivery also increased in both number and complexity.
Since crossing their one-year milestone, Lalamove Malaysia’s existing user base has grown (and is still growing) exponentially.
So not only do they have to ensure that they have the capabilities to support this growth, but they also need to constantly add new value-added services.
One example is their recently launched van delivery service, which brought along its own set of challenges which Lalamove Malaysia then had to tailor solutions to address.
Because same-day deliveries can seem pretty demanding for riders, we wondered how the company avoids overworking them.
Shen Ong expressed his understanding that good service is what matters the most to customers and keeps up the retention rate, and good service can only come from healthy employees.
“We do not mandate compulsory working hours at all, since we are running a gig economy set up,” he said. “If the riders are tired or don’t feel like working, they can always take a break and continue on later.”
When we asked how many registered riders and drivers Lalamove Malaysia now has, Shen Ong gave us a ballpark number of about 40,000.
Multiple Competitors, But No Real Competition
“We have multiple competitors who offer part and parcel of what we offer, yet none of them provides a comparably holistic selection of delivery options like we do,” Shen Ong said.
“Our lorries, vans, cars, and motorcycles can manage a wider spectrum of delivery sizes, from moving services to local courier services. Our key advantage is we are providing on-demand deliveries, and as a result, we are able to offer an improved customer experience.”
At the moment, however, the only customers who can enjoy this experience are those located in the Klang Valley.
While Shen Ong didn’t explicitly state that they’ll be expanding their services to other Malaysian areas anytime soon, he did say that they see themselves as the last-mile logistics provider in the country, so keep your fingers crossed.
I personally tried out Lalamove the other day, and got to experience for myself how easy, quick, and efficient delivering a small package was.
Granted, I didn’t have to get it delivered in the same day, but as someone who has low expectations for delivery services, I was surprised when the rider graciously called half an hour earlier than the set time for pickup.
Because I was available then, I managed to pass the package to him and about 20 minutes later, the recipient messaged me to inform me that she had already received it.
It may or may not have been a one-off experience, but it certainly has convinced me that Lalamove Malaysia would probably be my service of choice for future deliveries.
Featured Image Credit: Lalamove Malaysia