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Customers’ expectations are always changing, which means that you need to be constantly on your toes as a business owner.
In recent years, with the advent of e-commerce and the pandemic, online shopping has become the norm, with customers expecting quick or same-day delivery with tracking thrown in — perks that are offered by many vendors and have become a presumption when consumers place their order.
There are also figures to back these trends. According to Statista, revenue in Singapore’s e-commerce market has been on the rise, with an annual growth rate of 10.61% from 2021 to 2025 on the cards. The revenue in 2021 itself is projected to hit S$4,300m, with our largest market segment being electronics and media.
We should see 4.1 million users on e-commerce platforms by 2025 (that’s about 67.2% of Singapore engaging in online shopping), with each person spending about S$1.3k.
A report by McKinsey in 2016 was way ahead of its time when it found that the majority of consumers were still price-sensitive and preferred the cheapest option, but almost a quarter of people were willing to pay a significant premium for same-day or instant delivery.
In addition, the report predicted the growth of the same-day or instant delivery segment would be up 25%, with an emphasis on speedy delivery for groceries and medication. Developments and investments in instant delivery, the report found, was focused on the F&B sector.
These results are still congruent today, but with the catalyst of Covid-19 and added demands — we love free shipping yet want it quicker than ever.
Challenges that come with e-commerce
At the centre of these last-mile delivery developments are the small- and medium-sized enterprises, which while aiming to please all customers, struggle with various challenges associated with e-commerce.
To the customer, last-mile delivery might seem like a given, but for the SME, it’s actually the most costly part of their logistical arrangements, not to mention complex and stressful. About half of their costs occur here — have you ever wondered who bears the cost of failed delivery, damaged/lost goods, late deliveries, vehicle maintenance and repairs, returns from unsatisfied customers, online complaints and so on?
I’ve personally received damaged/missing goods, and sometimes my parcel gets lost or comes late. There are also occasions where the item I receive doesn’t seem exactly like what I ordered (oh, the risks of e-commerce).
While I don’t really sweat the small stuff, as a customer, I don’t want my credit card to be charged for something that is unusable/missing or wrong — and then when I get a refund, no questions asked, a small voice at the back of my head wonders how much the business just lost.
SMEs might also be struggling with a small delivery fleet that can’t keep up with changes in demand and high costs, thus making the business unable to scale due to this limitation.
Providing solutions as a last-mile delivery partner
SMEs that have little to no resources to spend on an in-house delivery fleet thus turn to a last-mile delivery partner.
Some last-mile delivery providers, such as Lalamove, are not only able to provide an on-demand delivery fleet, but can also step in to help manage the whole process, from route-planning, allocation of deliveries per driver and even tracking orders from end-to-end.
Same-day delivery? No problem. Need a larger vehicle? No sweat. Keep the goods refrigerated till it reaches the customer? Not an issue as Lalamove has a variety of vehicles and a huge network of drivers.
To date, Lalamove has served 6,000 clients per month on average, with 55,000 drivers ready for activation islandwide. It can even deliver within 55 minutes, islandwide.
Other services the last-mile delivery partner provides also include monthly statements, proof of delivery with e-signatures, multi-stop delivery to help SMEs get more bang for their buck, and even account management support from a dedicated point of contact.
With that said, let’s look at how 2 household names in Singapore grew their business with the help of Lalamove as its last-mile delivery partner.
Case study #1 — FarEastFlora.com
For FarEastFlora.com, ensuring that beautiful, fresh blooms get delivered in pristine condition to their customers and recipients is a major part of their e-commerce business.
Marketing manager Chris Kok, notes that during peak seasons such as Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, the volume of orders increases up to 4 times compared to off-peak times. Even then, the business operations differ for each occasion — with over a thousand orders going out on a single day on 14 February, while the delivery volume for Mother’s Day is usually spread across 2 to 3 days.
She adds: “It is critical for florists like us to have a good and strong relationship with our logistic partners to plan and ensure on-time and successful deliveries, and service level rendered by the drivers to our customers. A reliable logistics service will be able to boost value and help to maintain our company’s brand and image; connecting us with our customers.”
This is why FarEastFlora.com decided to engage Lalamove as its last-mile delivery partner. Lalamove’s allocation of orders per driver and route-planning are key to ensuring the successful deliveries of FarEastFlora.com’s orders during peak season, such as on Valentine’s Day.
After a discussion with FarEastFlora.com, Lalamove also conducts training for drivers and briefs them during the pre-peak season so that the drivers know exactly what to expect, the do’s and don’ts, the flow of deliveries and what is required of them.
So far, Chris notes that since FarEastFlora.com’s partnership with Lalamove, the whole delivery experience has been great.
She says: “With Lalamove, we are able to ensure that customers’ orders arrive safely and on time. Accurate delivery ETAs are a vital piece of info required by our customers and our team. There are also contingency plans in place when customers are not around to receive the gifts — these include re-delivery at a later time or to a different location, requesting permission to leave it at the doorstep or leaving the order with a designated neighbour.”
“Lalamove understands well the nature of our business, the handling requirements of our products, and the service level expectations. Lalamove has been our reliable logistics partner all year round and is able to support us well during our high volume seasons.”
“As a last-mile delivery partner, Lalamove is very reliable for providing both on-demand and planned bulk delivery services. Delivery is on time, and updates are prompt. The drivers/delivery personnel are adaptable and willing to go the extra mile, such as learning how to handle floral products. They are also mindful of sensitive occasions. They have gone out of their way to redirect orders to a different location or wish the customer a happy birthday if they notice the item is for a special occasion.”
Chris is proud to share that since onboarding Lalamove, FarEastFlora.com’s bread-and-butter e-commerce business has grown by 40%, pre- and post- the peak of Covid-19.
Case study #2 — Hjh Maimunah Restaurant & Catering
Many of us would be acquainted with Hjh Maimunah (HJH), a long-standing F&B name in Kampung Gelam for their sedap nasi padang dishes steeped in rich heritage and tradition. However, even a household name that is known for its delicious fare has been badly hit by the various dine-in restrictions during this pandemic.
During this time, Ms Maryam Didih, the youngest daughter of the family-run eatery had a brilliant idea: How about shifting their focus to online and pivoting to food deliveries using e-commerce platforms?
Thus, she took the opportunity to relaunch an old project — tingkat service during Ramadan — with the help of last-mile delivery partner Lalamove. This was previously shelved due to logistical issues of using an in-house delivery fleet and concerns of irate and hungry customers due to late deliveries. Back then, there was also no tech capability to track the exact location of the drivers to ensure that meals would be delivered on time.
Ms Maryam shares: “HJH created an online storefront on food directory Oddle Eats and started providing home catering and bento meals. But instead of fulfilling orders ourselves via an in-house delivery fleet, we chose Lalamove as our delivery partner.”
As a result, demand for HJH’s tingkat service in 2021 was up to 30% from the year before. In fact, the response for the relaunched tingkat service during the fasting month this year was “astounding”. Before Covid-19, HJH’s average number of deliveries during Ramadan had peaked at 20 per day with their own fleet of drivers — however, after onboarding Lalamove, the family restaurant received a whopping 7,000 orders that month…more than a tenfold increase!
Ms Maryam notes: “The eating culture has changed. People are used to getting food delivered to their homes and having gatherings there instead.”
She reveals that working with Lalamove has broadened HJH’s scope for expanding the business. The restaurant has plans to diversify its business and venture into the B2B space by creating its own line of retail products and supplying other F&B companies — which it aims to do so, hand-in-hand with Lalamove.
Moving ahead with its SME partners
FarEastFlora.com and Hjh Maimunah Restaurant & Catering are just 2 of the businesses that have gained an edge in the e-commerce space thanks to the help of a reliable last-mile delivery partner.
However, despite success, Lalamove doesn’t rest on its laurels and is constantly working on new ways it can better serve its SME partners and assist them in reaching greater business heights.
These include the launch and integration of the Lalamove app on Shopify, an e-commerce solution that’s popular with SME partners as it can further simplify their operations.
Are you a business owner or helping an SME build its e-commerce business? Find out how Lalamove can help you as your last-mile delivery partner.