PandaBuy is an online logistics platform that enables users to buy items from China (cross-border shopping) through its shopping agent services. The service also includes customs clearance, shipping, warehousing, quality check, and customer service.
Quick commerce is a term for the trend of making purchases through quick, easy, and convenient methods such that deliveries or order fulfillment happens within the same day or a few hours or even minutes. This type of commerce is growing in popularity as it allows for a more streamlined and convenient shopping experience.
Nearshoring is the process of outsourcing work to a nearby country. The term is often used in relation to the business practice of outsourcing to countries with lower labor costs. Nearshoring can provide companies with a number of benefits, including lower shipping costs, reduced communication barriers, and improved quality control.
Faire Wholesale is a wholesale marketplace that specializes in connecting local businesses with consumers by providing them with the right tools and technologies. The company offers a wide range of products, including home goods, fashion, and food. Faire was started by Max Rhodes, Daniele Perito, Marcelo Cortes, Jeffrey Kolovson, and Lauren Cooks Levitan in 2017.
Parcelhub is a parcel delivery service that offers a one-stop-shop for businesses sending and receiving parcels. The service offers a variety of delivery options, as well as a parcel tracking system, to make the process of shipping and receiving parcels easier for businesses.
TForce is a US-based logistics company and transportation provider that's focused on last mile logistics for same-day and next-day delivery services. The company helps ecommerce businesses with fast and affordable delivery of their products.
Budbee is a transportation and delivery service for ecommerce products. The Sweden-based logistics company provides ecommerce stores with a hassle-free delivery service using its applications and products. Budbee was founded by Fredrik Hamilton in 2015.
FarEye is an intelligent logistics and delivery management platform that aims to simplify last mile delivery logistics. The platform offers real-time visibility of shipments, delivery orchestration, and customer experience solutions like track and trace.
A virtual business address is an address that is used by a business for correspondence purposes, but is not a physical location. The address can be used by businesses who are not located in the city that the address is located in, or for businesses who want to maintain privacy.
Lalamove is a Hong Kong-based company that offers on-demand transportation and logistics services. The company operates a fleet of trucks, vans, and cars that can be booked through a mobile app. Lalamove is one of the largest players in the on-demand transportation space.
Last mile delivery is the final stage of getting a package to its destination. It is the last leg of the delivery process and is often the most expensive and time-consuming part. This term is often used in the context of e-commerce and delivery services.
Lytx is a technology company that provides fleet safety solutions for businesses using video telematics. The company’s products include video telematics, driver safety solutions, and fleet management tools.
Trend Highlight – The Fascinating Rise of FreightWaves
While Freightwaves is a freight logistics software company, many in the industry know them for their strategically built media empire which targets industry workers in order to grow the Freightwaves brand, part of the driver behind their 1,800% growth in 2019 from the prior year.
For truck drivers, a particularly captive audience, an audio-only medium is the ideal way to reach them as they can't use normal workday distractions like Twitter or YouTube. Freightwaves' "What the Truck?" podcast taps into this enormous audience. Truck driving is the single most common job in the majority of US states, with 3.5 million truck drivers in total across the country.
As the brand became more widely-known because of their media play, it became easier for them to sell their logistics software into enterprises. This has helped Freightwaves begin to penetrate what is one of the world's largest industries: At 9.6 trillion dollars, the global logistics industry is downright massive and represents about 12% of the global economy, bigger than even the insurance industry and financial services industry combined.
Trend Highlight – International Counterfeits
On the surface, Wegobuy seemingly helps consumers navigate an unfamiliar ecommerce site (TaoBao) that's not written in their native language. But in reality, Wegobuy is actually helping shoppers buy counterfeit clothes from major brands.
Wegobuy combines an e-commerce front-end with logistics to help customers buy products from Taobao, the Chinese e-commerce site whose GMV is larger than the entire US e-commerce industry. First, customers request products, then Wegobuy buys them, ships them to a company warehouse, photographs them for inspection, packages them, and ships them to the US (in part to avoid US anti-counterfeiting rules, Taobao does not allow shipments directly to residential US addresses).
Wegobuy's power users are members of Reddit communities like the 332,000-member-strong FashionReps ("reps" is short for "replicas", and "replicas" is a euphemism for "counterfeits"). Users on the subreddit post extensive guides to finding high-quality knockoffs, as well as "haul" posts highlighting the products they bought (with prices quoted in RMB and volumes quoted in kilograms). The FashionReps community seems to view itself as the digital version of thrifting: while users want to look great without spending much money, some of the thrill comes from tracking down the first Taobao seller to offer knockoffs of a hot new product.
Brands still exert a pull, but most consumers realize that the quality premium doesn't quite match the price premium. Companies like Brandless tried to play this up. Italic, which sells un-labeled products made by factories that work with known premium brands, also comes close.
With counterfeit products, consumers are taking a legal risk, but also a financial one: if a seller ships the wrong product, a low-quality copy, or simply doesn't deliver anything at all, there's no recourse. In the counterfeit goods market, a middleman like Wegobuy serves exactly the same function as a brand: a way to know for sure that the product will be high-quality.
Trend Highlight – Consumers Want Realtime Updates
When Domino’s added a pizza tracker to its ordering app, it saw a spike in sales (Google and Domino’s both went public in 2004, and Domino’s stock has actually outperformed Google’s over that time period). For many customers, seeing that their order is making progress is more important than exactly when it arrives.
While some companies can build this service internally, others operate at a smaller scale where a third-party product is a better fit. Beetrack is a startup that helps e-commerce companies in South America track packages for customers, and manage delivery logistics.
The company has technology to make delivery routes faster, and in the process of building that, they built precise tracking for each package, which the seller can share with customers. This doesn’t just engender indirect customer loyalty: it cuts down on customer service calls, which reduces the cost of customer service and improves profitability. Part of marketing Beetrack to businesses is helping them to see a seemingly fixed cost, like customer service, as a variable one that can be controlled through better technology.
Customer expectations around package tracking have been rising as well as searches for “where’s my package”, and that's especially challenging for places with poor last-mile infrastructure and spotty communications.
The logistics business is strongly scale-dependent. Higher scale increases utilization and also creates more data on routes. For example, UPS studied traffic and accident patterns and discovered that it's almost always better to avoid turning through oncoming traffic so UPS trucks very rarely, if ever, turn left in dense cities. A small operator with their own fleet, or a local logistics company, can't find patterns like this, but a software provider will have a larger sample size. For countries with poor roads and less comprehensive maps, the gains from aggregating information are correspondingly higher. While faster and more reliable delivery doesn't directly produce revenue, it can indirectly reduce costs; Beetrack's customers have found that package location questions are a common customer service query, so tracking actually lets them operate with a lower headcount.
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