Australian logistics startup eyes SEA e-commerce market with Singapore launch

Australia’s logistics tech startup Shippit has opened an office in Singapore, where it is hoping to tap as a launchpad to grow its footprint in Southeast Asia. It also has partnered Shopify to provide its cash-on-delivery (COD) service to support Asian online retailers on the e-commerce platform. 

Touting its COD offering to be “specially designed” for the Southeast Asian market, Shippit said in a statement Tuesday its partnership with Shopify enabled merchants on the online platform to provide the service as a payment option regardless of order volume of business size. 

After registering for a Shippit account and connecting their Shopify store, the online retailers also would not need to negotiate COD rates with their couriers, as this was handled by Shippit. Discounted rates also were available for regular cross-border delivery, it said. 

Citing research from Google and Temasek Holdings’ e-Conomy Southeast Asia report, Shippit noted that the region’s e-commerce market was worth $38 billion last year. With an internet economy that was projected to more than double to $150 billion by 2025, Southeast Asia presented significant opportunities for the Australian startup, it said, adding that 296 million or 74% of the region’s population remained unbanked or underbanked. 

Shippit’s director of market development Lavneesh Arora said: “Southeast Asia has one of the fastest growing internet economies in the world and, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve seen a rapid acceleration of e-commerce, with many businesses realising they need to go online. 

“However, we’ve also seen the majority in Southeast Asia are still heavily reliant on cash over credit cards and online banking,” Arora said, pointing to Shippit as an “e-commerce enabler” with its COD service, which would provide online retail platforms such as Shopify access to a section of the market that they otherwise would not be able to reach.

Founded in 2014, Shippit shored up almost $10 million in its fund raising efforts, led by Asian investment firm Aura Group. Tapping automation and machine learning technologies to streamline the order fulfilment process, Shippit said it serves more than 6,000 customers a month across Australia, New Zealand, and Southeast Asia, including Sephora, UNIQLO, CottonOn, and Harvey Norman.

Shippit said its platform enabled retailers to ship with major Asian carriers, accessing seamless tracking and notifications as well as dedicated delivery support. The platform processes “hundreds of thousands of orders daily” and, since April, has been used by small retailers in Singapore such as Common Man Coffee Roasters.

Noting that the city-state had one of the region’s most active online buyers, with two of three purchasing products online at least once a year, Shippit said it hoped to tap market opportunities here and help local retailers access consumers in other Southeast Asian markets that preferred to transact with cash.

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