SingPost's e-commerce business spikes in Nov

Singapore Post's volumes of cross-border e-commerce shot up in November on the back of major retail events occurring during the month.

The firm handled 4.6 million packages last month, 60 per cent up on the same month last year, according to an update posted on the Singapore Exchange yesterday.

Mr Marcelo Wesseler, chief executive of SingPost unit SP eCommerce, told The Straits Times yesterday that November is a particularly significant month to track because of major shopping events like Singles Day on Nov 11, Black Friday on Nov 27 and Cyber Monday on Nov 30.

The higher volumes were not driven only by the increasing popularity of online shopping, but also by SingPost stepping up its marketing, "which has helped quite a bit", added Mr Wesseler.

SingPost has also done well in domestic e-commerce, with orders for goods made online for South-east Asia and Australia increasing 384 per cent year on year, for the period from Black Friday until Cyber Monday.

Mr Wesseler said being a full-service e-commerce logistics provider has allowed the company to overcome major challenges.

"Your technology has to be able to handle (the spikes in volume), your warehouse needs to be able to pack, and you need to deliver the packages on time so the customers are happy," he noted.

"What got us excited was that we were able to do that rather well, and that business grew by more than 300 per cent."

SingPost offers companies e-commerce services from setting up a website, to payment systems, deliveries and returns, to even product description.

It launched nine new sites in the last two months, and now supports more than 100 brands.

The most recent clients include French beauty giant Clarins, fashion firm Calvin Klein and tech leader Canon.

Mr Wesseler added that fashion apparel has become the top online shopping category in recent months, displacing the long-time leader, consumer electronics.

"It's a bit of a surprise as fashion apparel usually requires more savvy shoppers. Shoppers usually buy basic things before they start buying apparel," he said.

"This hints to us that the consumers are getting more savvy and more familiar with buying online. On the domestic e-commerce sites, it has also become much easier to do returns, even free returns, so that has really driven up the increase."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 30, 2015, with the headline 'SingPost's e-commerce business spikes in Nov'. Print Edition | Subscribe