By Renuka Sena November 29, 2016
- It’s the country's first single-point logistics service
- Operates in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand
[Corrected: An earlier version mentioned Exabytes Venture Sdn Bhd as the operator of EasyParcel. It is actually EasyParcel Sdn Bhd.]
IN THE past, the average person or online seller would not have easy access to courier services, as most courier companies require a company registration, office address and a monthly committed volume in order for you to use their services.
This placed many online sellers in a bind, as the high shipping costs of courier services would turn customers away, while normal mail services would take too long to deliver packages to buyers.
What was needed was an easy and affordable way to book a courier delivery service that would be available to everyone online. EasyParcel Sdn Bhd has come up with the perfect solution. It’s called EasyParcel.
EasyParcel is now solving a very ‘meta’ problem and has disrupted the entire industry. As the country's first single-point logistics service, EasyParcel allows online retailers to explore all shipping and delivery options available, compare prices and terms and conditions, as well as track their deliveries from the user-friendly EasyParcel website.
Idea to inception
EasyParcel founder and chief executive officer Clarence Leong (pic, above) was once an e-Commerce seller himself. While living in the UK as a Project Engineer, he sold items on eBay on a part-time basis.
“Working was always part of my university life as I worked both full time as an internship process engineer and part time over the weekends in Chinese takeaways along with multiple jobs during the summer holidays to pay my own fees.
“My first experience selling on eBay was to sell my second-hand winter gloves which I bought at one of the weekend car boot sales. It was the wrong size,” he explained. Leong graduated in 2007.
He was impressed with the technology and advanced services that were available, which made things so convenient to online sellers there. He wondered why such innovative services were not made available in Malaysia. If online delivery was made available, he thought, anyone could access courier services whenever they wanted and with no limitations.
When Leong came home to Malaysia in 2010 with dreams of starting his entrepreneurial journey, his first venture was a daily deal business called EziVoucher, which focused on the Food and Beverage and services industry by offering discount vouchers in Penang.
“We decided to pull the plug on EziVoucher after running the business for two years when the competition became stiff, especially with the market being flooded with international competitors offering deals at zero commission. We knew this was no longer our game even though we were the local boys who knew the environment inside out.”
But Leong always felt the need to act on his original vision of introducing easy, efficient online delivery services to Malaysians. Then, in December 2013, he bumped into an old classmate, Chan Kee Siak, the Founder of Exabytes Group (Malaysia’s No.1 web-hosting company). That chance meeting produced an amazing ‘synergy’ between the two. Ideas and plans unfolded with ease and EasyParcel Sdn Bhd was born.
“We’ve known each other since high school as we were schoolmates in Chung Ling Penang and both of us were very active in school activities.
“After graduating from high school, I continued with my studies in TAR College Setapak and Chan stated his entrepreneurial journey. I shared the EasyParcel idea with Chan over coffee during our high school reunion dinner and that’s how we further enhanced our friendship and became business partners,” said Leong.
EasyParcel was launched in July 2014. While the main target audience is e-Commerce sellers, EasyParcel is also a great solution for just about anyone who needs a delivery service, be it individuals, business entities or even courier companies as it works as a front line customer service that helps manage delivery issues like late or missed deliveries.
For sellers, EasyParcel solves a vast variety of problems, including expensive delivery costs, complicated registration processes, manual address writing on air waybills and much more. Best of all, sellers don't even have to go to the post or courier office anymore — pickups are made right at their doorstep!
The only thing that’s needed to get started is an account with EasyParcel. Then all that’s left to be done is to compare delivery prices between the different courier services, and book the delivery service. Everything happens online and at the click of a button. This saves valuable time and effort, leaving online sellers more time to focus on their businesses.
Leong has faced quite a few complex challenges in introducing EasyParcel to the market. One of the biggest, he says, was getting local courier companies to accept their idea. Conventionally, each courier service would operate individually with their own existing system, which would focus more on manual work. "No one had ever seen something like this in Southeast Asia," he explains, "and the idea for everyone to work together under one roof was new."
Their first few courier partners were Poslaju, Nationwide, Skynet and Airpak. They now have more than 20 courier partners on the platform across Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand.
As the first online delivery business model in Southeast Asia, EasyParcel needed to introduce its new system to many different courier companies, consolidate them all and educate them on how to apply the new system. The EasyParcel team also had to understand each courier company’s individual business model, as well as the problems faced by both customers and partners. To solve this issue and continue providing excellent service, Leong says that communication is crucial.
"As the front line on all communications from customers, EasyParcel also has to get latest status updates and push for deliveries once we receive a complaint from customers. As we do not make the deliveries ourselves, we need to have the best communication with our partners," he goes on to explain.
Along the way, EasyParcel has made numerous enhancements and tweaks to their system to ensure a smooth process and system for all involved; from the end users to the courier companies.
Apart from the growth of team members and our regional expansion, EasyParcel has received the “People’s Choice Award" by BOSS Award and the "Best Startup Award" by APICTA Award.
“These marked a significant milestone for us as a small startup with no courier or logistics background to have come this far by believing in what we do throughout the journey,” said Leong.
Across the globe
In the future, Leong hopes that when people think of delivery, they'll think of EasyParcel. He is currently striving to take EasyParcel to other parts of the region and to pursue international expansion. EasyParcel is currently in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand.
Leong also plans for EasyParcel to have the latest delivery technologies, to further simplify delivery across the globe. In the future, he says, deliveries will be very convenient and reliable for anyone to use, no matter what the size of the deliveries or destination.
"As long as someone has something to deliver," he explains, "We would like to help them make the delivery with just few clicks on their devices." This will remove complications for businesses of all sizes, and both full-time and part-time business owners will be able to manage their businesses without worrying about delivery, he surmises. In other words, EasyParcel creates time for business owners to work on their business goals and ultimately achieve success.
Reframe the problem
Fuelled by the firm belief that self-learning is essential to running a business, Leong enrolled in the Coach and Grow Programme (CGP). The CGP, he says, enables entrepreneurs to change their way of thinking.
For example, "If you still can't find a solution after you've tried many ways, you need to reframe the problem," he shares. In his opinion, the power of this thought process is very important to entrepreneurs as, "More often than not, what you think is the problem is not actually the problem!" He also credits the CGP with the excellent network he has gained — one that money can't buy.
Having become an entrepreneur in order to achieve his dreams, Leong says he wouldn't call entrepreneurship a ‘career’ per say. Instead, he describes it as, "Doing something you are passionate about." And most importantly, he advises, "To be an entrepreneur, you must believe in what you do and do what you believe. Never be afraid to take the first step!"
The above is an excerpt from the book Startups to Scaleups published in October 2015 by Cradle Fund and Proficeo Consultants, the programme manager for Cradle’s Coach and Grow Programme. DNA will be featuring every entrepreneurial story from the book in a special commercial arrangement.