Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Express Companies: Chokehold for China’s Online Shopping

Since the day was born in China, online shopping was widely accepted by the people, and years after years, it's become more and more popular. PaiPai (powered by Tencent), Joyo Amazon, Jingdong Mall, Vancl, Dangdang…… A series of online shopping websites suddenly popped up from nowhere, B2C or C2C, they finally become a part of people's lives and hot issues.

Without a doubt, online shopping provides a more convenient way to buy things, a more efficient way to make small business, and because of those B2C online shopping websites, you don't have to go to local electric appliance store anymore, you can choose Joyo Amazon, they will directly deliver to your home, or wherever you are, credit card is also acceptable; no time for shopping, but you want some gorgeous and beautyful clothes? No more hanging on the street, no more closet watch, just by logging on (B2C) or (C2C, B2C), you have what you want. Utile now, you would finally realise, I mean if you were a online shopping rookie, that express companies played a very important role in the shopping process, sometimes you will pay more attentions on them than merchandise itselves. No, this article is not about online shopping, not even close, it is about the pain in the ass during the process, the express companies. And yes, they definitely make you suffer, sometimes.

Technically speaking, online shopping gave birth to most of express companies in China. Because there were originally just couple of companies on the road, including Federal Express, State-owned China Post's EMS, and Sagawa Express from Japan, they covered almost all express business before there were online shopping. China's express business were actually breaking out among people, Taobao's appearance created a requirement for the express, then dozens of express companies were founded in one night, like Shunfeng, Yuantong, Shentong, Zhongtong, ZJS Express, Yunda, Huitong, Tiantian…… Those companies were made by ordinary people who serve for the ordinary ones, have become the main power of China's online shopping, which means, you will deal with one of these companies during the process.

Maybe just because those companies were founded by ordinary people, employees are less educated, they are not able to normalize their systems and services. Express companies should be known as "fast", but more and more express companies are accused of transport overtime, 5km –distance takes 4 days, 2-bus-stop-distance wastes a whole week….. things always happen. According to investigation, because Beijing city-wide express delivery's bad timeliness, "city-wide" has become meaningless. Express company explained, that because of increasing number of users, and fuel price hike, the employees are not able to deal with all deliveries, even work over time. It's not their fault. "Staff working for delivery companies work very hard, but are paid very little, that is not a secret." Said an express company spokeman. Mr Lin, a staff of express company also confirmed the truth: his base salary is only RMB600, plus 10% bonus payment of total amount of delivery, it's about RMB3000-4000 for a month, but the work load is heavy. The staffs send deliveries in the morning, afternoon is for picking up, "because there are no benefits for 'sending', so I must stop sending to pick up at noon, for a better pay off. If I couldn't send all deliveries that day, those have to be delayed for tomorrow."

So that is the basic reason cause consumers' discontents and complaints, the express companies make short-distance delivery delayed, and consumers have to wait much longer than usual, endure the whole process, online shopping has become a very unhappy experience. And for those private-owned express companies, it's very hard for you to check the status of you delivery, contact with your postman, or sue a compliant. Their call center might not to provide the phone number of the postman, or you have the number; but the postman wouldn't pick up the phone, or answer the phone with an impatient attitude. This will happen when you want to change the address, or you need to leave the location for a while. If you can't contact with the postman, well, it has to be sent next day.

According to Tencent Technology's investigation, 89.59% of online shopping consumers have the above-mentioned experience, randomly check on the B2C online shopping websites in China, countless consumers sue complaints against the express companies, if someone ask those consumers, will you go online shopping next time? I bet most of answers are "no", because they can not stand the torment anymore, not because they are not content with the sellers. Express "kills" those consumer from online shopping.The express companies now have seriously broken the balance of B2C and C2C online shopping market, has become the obstacle for the development of online shopping, just like a chokehold on the throat.

The problem needs to be solved, and the express companies need to strengthen their management, to make it normalize. Just like Joyo Amazon, one of the biggest B2C online shopping websites in China, which perfectly inherits Amazon's advanced management, has its own professional express team. Being different from those above-mentioned express companies, Joyo Amazon's express has strict management, perfect system and good service. It's very easy for you to check the status of your delivery, or contact with your postman. Normally, your delivery will ship on next day, at the very most, it will not take more than two days. The postman will even take POS machine to your house, credit card is also acceptable in arrive-and-pay mode. Most importantly, Joyo's call-center provide an extraordinary service, you can get any imformation you need. Joyo Amazon's express offers a standard to this industry, and re-define the image of express company in China. Besides, Federal Express, Shunfeng and EMS are also good at what they do, but they are not widely used for Taobao, due to the higher shipment fee.

Now we can see, the importance of express company, it's a part of industry chain, and it directly effects consumer's behavior: will you buy something online next time? But to consumate a system, is not in a day, although Joyo Amazon has provided a standard. The current situation is, most of private-owned express companies can't have what Joyo Amazon do, if they want to survive in this market, they must upgrade their service quality. Some say higher shipment fee make a better service, but I think it's no use if the service would not be accepted by the sellers, only cheap and fine survive. Private-owned express companies in China still have a long way to go, they needs to continually compete their systems, no more being obstacle for the development of online shopping.


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