STARTUP SPOTLIGHT

Finding success with algorithm-based tech

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Ninja Van courier service delivers the goods in the Philippine market

Yes, it’s all about taking the hassle out of your parcel.

Already a strong presence in Southeast Asian countries like Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia, Singaporean startup Ninja Van, has also launched its Philippine operations last February. The logistics company uses technology for a hassle-free delivery experience for sellers and customers with features that include real-time tracking and flexible options for clients that include e-commerce and startups.

Ninja Van Philippines country head Martin Cu

Since its launch, Ninja Van has gained numerous clients including Lazada, Shopee, KimStore, Beauty MNL, Human Nature and Penshoppe. Covering 80 percent of the Philippine population, it delivers to 40 provinces nationwide. Ninja Van is also present in other countries in the Southeast Asia including Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, and of course, Singapore.


Managing challenges via tech

Martin Cu, Country Head of Ninja Van Philippines, says that the Philippines is a challenging country to operate in, because of its archipelagic nature. This is why they use algorithms similar to navigation app Waze to create the best possible routes for delivery, fleet management, and better plan the increasing number of deliveries. The startup’s volume of deliveries increased especially during last year’s Christmas season.

Ninja Van offers sellers access to a shipper dashboard. This allows them to book and manage all their delivery needs, reserve pick-up timeslots and monitor their shipments. Customers can track their packages in real time via the website https://www.ninjavan.co/en-ph/. They can also enjoy the cash on delivery option and receive updates on their orders from a customized integrated system with autoflow orders, order status updates, and personalized email and text notifications.

Customers can enjoy services that include real-time tracking of packages; Cash-On-Delivery (COD) option; quick and effective customer service to ensure customer satisfaction; proprietary systems to manage deliveries, parcel status and customer service recoveries; and two free redelivery attempts in cases of unsuccessful deliveries.

Catching up in e-commerce

The Philippines is admittedly a laggard in the e-commerce and cashless transaction scene. Cu says that it’s really the e-commerce site’s job to entice the customer to shop, especially in the Philippines where malls are popular. This is unlike America for example, where malls and retail stores have been closing because of the popularity of online shopping in sites like Amazon. “It’s not something Ninja Van can help with per se,” says Cu. “But having a great courier option and [giving]a great customer experience [to our customers should encourage them to buy online].”

Cu says that confidence can be passed on to customers to avail of shopping online and thus, courier services. “If you remove that uncertainty, you add value to e-commerce,” he noted. He adds that even if there’s mall culture, countries like the Philippines also have traffic culture, which in turn encourages customers to buy online instead of personally going to stores.He also says that there are products that are available only online and not on retail, giving customers access to more stuff and encouraging online purchasing.

Further expansion and modernization

Ninja Van plans on expanding their coverage in the Philippines, and to further expand in areas where they have established a presence. “[We are] ensuring that we are offering a great logistics experience [among all these expansions],” says Cu.

Cu sees more growth in e-commerce in Southeast Asia, especially with the increase of factors like mobile phone usage and internet access. The Philippines though, can be a laggard when it comes to e-payments, as compared to its neighbors. “For us, we think there’s a long way to go before we do robotic deliveries,” he admits, referring to the drones that Amazon has been using in the USA. Modernization is within their scope however, such as in Singapore where they’ve launched an automatic conveyer belt system that scans parcels and automates towards the storage facility.

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