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Entrepreneur

Why Logistics Startup Pickupp Built An E-commerce Arm To Support Home-Based Bizs In S'pore

The Covid-19 pandemic has been a catalyst for a new wave of entrepreneurs.

Singaporeans have steadily witnessed fresh home-based businesses climb onto the digital bandwagon to establish their place in the region’s maturing digital economy.

With that, Hong Kong-based logistics startup Pickupp launched Shop on Pickupp to aid home-based businesses in starting up online.

Founded in December 2016, Pickupp expanded to Singapore the following year.

Pickupp Singapore’s co-chief operating officer Lee Chee Meng told Vulcan Post that he was acquainted with Pickupp’s CEO Crystal Pang when she was looking to launch the startup in Singapore.

Whilst chatting over coffee, he discovered that the two were aligned and shared similar views like how the future of last-mile logistics should be data-driven and asset-light.

We believe that the Pickupp model supports the flexibility that can help businesses scale affordably in a fast-changing environment. This conviction to redefine logistics and help businesses grow has kept me motivated throughout my journey with Pickupp. 

Lee Chee Meng, Co-Chief Operating Officer of Pickupp Singapore

Before he knew it, things moved forward and Crystal got him onboard to be part of the journey to build and grow the Pickupp network in Singapore.

Supporting Over 10,000 Businesses

Pickupp Singapore Delivery
Image Credit: Pickupp

Pickupp was founded with an objective to help businesses across all industries solve the inefficiencies in their deliveries.

Chee Meng said that the team realised that most SMEs have limited manpower and resources to facilitate large and bulk delivery orders.

Additionally, most businesses use a fixed fleet model, where supply cannot adapt to fluctuations in demand.

To help solve that, Pickupp provides flexible, tech-driven logistics solutions that enables businesses of all sizes to scale and thrive.

Through highly optimised batching and chaining technology, customers can book a delivery anytime without sacrificing speed and cost, while real-time GPS tracking provides end-to-end transparency.

Pickupp’s flexible delivery windows and handy scheduling feature enable customers to be nimble and capitalise on business opportunities.

The startup also uses a hybrid of freelancers and in-house delivery fleet to cater to fluctuating levels of demand.

Today, the company has grown its operations in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and Taiwan.

It has also provided logistics support to over 10,000 businesses spanning MNCs and logistics giants to smaller retail and e-commerce stores.

The team had to put in a lot of hard work to build a strong foundation for the brand, and most of Chee Meng’s efforts were channelled towards building awareness for Pickupp at the start.

We had to pursue delivery agents one by one, to get them on board. To onboard merchants, we would schedule as many appointments as possible.

My days were made up of meetings with potential merchants, explaining how we envision our delivery network to operate and why it was the way forward compared to the more “conventional” options in the market. I would be repeating the same pitch to different potential merchants for days on end.

Lee Chee Meng, Co-Chief Operating Officer of Pickupp Singapore

According to the Pickupp website, it offers offers three services: on-demand couriers who deliver within a two-hour window, same-day deliveries and next-day deliveries.

It also claims that it can save clients an average of about 28 per cent in logistic costs.

Most recently, the company decided to tap on its delivery and logistics expertise and translate it to an e-commerce platform called Shop on Pickupp.

From Logistics To E-Commerce

pickupp delivery
Image Credit: Pickupp

The idea for Shop on Pickupp was conceived in late 2019 when the team wanted to leverage on their expertise as a logistics company to provide delivery support to e-commerce merchants. 

“Aside from the usual on-demand food delivery platforms where deliveries were often limited to a 3km radius, and commission from merchants and delivery prices are relatively high, there were no other significant combined e-commerce and delivery platforms in Singapore,” explained Chee Meng.

Noting this gap, the team wanted to provide flexible and affordable e-commerce and delivery support for local merchants.

For instance, Shop On Pickupp offers a four-hour same-day delivery solution to many online-based bakeries such as The Unsalted Butter and Tartisan by Grain.

It also supports newer bakeries that do not have a fully operational e-commerce and delivery platform in place yet.

On top of that, automatic delivery fulfilment on Shop On Pickupp allows bakeries to save time on managing and handling delivery orders.

The platform also caters to these bakeries’ need for longer order lead times, stock cap and specific delivery time-slots.

It has made significant progress since its launch in March 2020, as it sees a healthy growth of users and merchants.

Over the past year, Shop on Pickupp has had more than 200 merchants listed on the platform, with close to 100 active and permanent merchants.

Popular merchants on the platform include Cat & the Fiddle, Wu Pao Chun, Matchaya, Nassim Hill Bakery, Mdm Ling Bakery, just to name a few.

It has also fulfilled over 10,000 orders, marking a ten-fold growth since launch.

Besides e-commerce, it also helped with digitalising the popular Shilin Night Market. The annual event usually draws large crowds with its various limited-edition Taiwanese food and product offerings.

Since it could not be hold a physical event in 2020 due to the pandemic, Pickupp hosted the digital version of the food festival on its web portal and mobile app.

A category called “Digital Shilin 2020” was curated specially for it, which included close to 100 unique F&B vendors.

Customers could make purchases from these shops from the comfort of their homes and have their orders delivered to their doorstep at their preferred time slots during the two weekends.

E-Commerce Will Continue To ‘Pickupp’ In Southeast Asia

Pickupp delivery
Image Credit: Pickupp

The future of e-commerce is bright in Southeast Asia.

The shift in consumer behaviour and the region’s growing digital economy will undoubtedly entice more established and new retailers online.

“We continue to see ourselves supporting home businesses in Singapore as they grow in the months to come, and expect to maintain a steady volume of orders during the festive periods via the platform,” said Chee Meng.

Building on that momentum, the team aims to continue expanding its platform to offer more options from popular bakeries and cafes with affordable islandwide delivery fees.

As a tech-driven logistics company, we’ve learned that businesses must be agile and remain open to changes. Those who leverage technology and implement strategies to facilitate transparency and flexibility will see an enhancement in the quality of online-to-offline customer experience.

By incorporating our expertise, we’ve created a reliable and cost-effective e-commerce platform for new and established businesses that allows them to focus on what matters most: accelerating their sales growth.

Lee Chee Meng, Co-Chief Operating Officer of Pickupp Singapore

In the coming years, Chee Meng and his team plan to improve the delivery offerings on Pickupp to tailor to the specific needs businesses across various industries have.

As Shop On Pickupp grows, users can also expect on-demand delivery, special campaigns paired with a diverse range of products and deals that are exclusive to the platform.

Featured Image Credit: Pickupp

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