Crossborder e-commerce challenges & developments: Takeaways for Europe from WMX Asia

Sponsor interview with Spectos CEO Niels Delater ahead of WMX Asia

Ahead of the World Mail & Express Asia (WMX Asia) Conference in Hong Kong, Post&Parcel caught up with Niels Delater. Niels is the CEO of Spectos GmbH.

P&P: Why do you feel Asian online marketplaces (like Alibaba) are such important drivers for cross border e-Commerce?

ND: Asia is a hyper-dynamic market and it is driven by digital initiatives in combination with a very flexible workforce and logistics concepts. We see that a lot of innovation is going on in Asia and it will have impact on other “old” markets in Europe and the US.

P&P: What are the distinct differences between Asian e-Commerce and Western e-Commerce?

ND: The discussions are completely different. For example, in Germany we always think how to serve the whole country with one service standard. When it comes to a service experience, such as same day delivery, those concepts are very expensive. In the bigger cities in Vietnam for example, e-Commerce shoppers are used to having delivery not just in days, but right away in hours. In rural areas, things can take more time. The service mentality and experience will push e-Commerce in Asia beyond the products and services we see in Europe.

P&P: Do you envision similar environmental restrictions being placed on inner city logistics in Asia like we have seen in Europe (introduction of clean air zones etc.)

ND: Like e-Commerce, I think some cities in Asia will be at the forefront of this development. We are already seeing emission free delivery by electric motorbikes or vehicles. Air pollution is higher in the more populated cities in Asia, so the pressure is on to create ‘clean logistic’ initiatives in the future.

P&P: Why do you think the crowd sourcing delivery model for delivery is so successful in the Asian market?

ND: Because of an abundance of labour in many big cities, low restrictions and regulations (at least so far), especially in South East Asia. People are very keen to work, but only when it is suitable for them and practical for businesses with a customer service mentality. However, this must be better controlled in relations to crowd sourcing.

P&P: What challenges do you foresee for the logistics industry given the rapid urbanisation of large parts of Asia?

ND: The fast business and fast money approach works well for small volumes and crowd sourcing peer-to-peer services, but there is a limitation when it comes to larger centralized volumes – e.g. from a national warehouse. Demand is growing quickly more so than what the infrastructures can handle. Often there are no high volume infrastructures in place, even from national post administrators. It’s a big challenge to invest in such infrastructures in a rapidly changing and moving market.

P&P: What other trends do you feel are important for the Asia logistics market?

ND: In past years, it was all about new business – growth, growth, growth. Now we see a demand in higher quality services, robust service levels and as well as better customer support. Consumers, especially in the cities have an increased service awareness, and buying decisions are not purely price driven anymore. There’s a great opportunity to transform and evolve.

Spectos will be sponsoring of the World Mail & Express Asia Conference (WMX Asia) 2018. You will be able to meet Niels and Spectos at WMX Asia at the Mira Hong Kong Hotel on the 16 – 18 September 2018. WMX Asia is the premier logistics and supply chain conference in Asia. Visit the conference website for more information. 

This article was originally published on Post&Parcel in August 2018.

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