As consumer habits shift and online shopping continues to grow in Cambodia, the need for reliable and timely package delivery services is on the rise. The Post’s Robin Spiess sat down with Leakhena Long, COO and co-founder of local startup Joonaak Delivery, to discuss the importance of delivery services in the changing consumer market that is dominated by small business owners.
What services does Joonaak Delivery provide?
We offer delivery services for online shops and distribute goods like packages, gifts and letters. We also offer fulfillment solutions, which include warehousing and packaging for our clients. Our delivery rates range in price depending on size of the package and distance to delivery.
When did you launch and why did you choose to focus on delivery?
We officially launched in March of 2015. At first, we just wanted to start a business, so we looked at the market to see what type of service would be unique because we didn’t want to start a business others had already started. We noticed that e-commerce is growing in Cambodia and people are starting to buy things online, but the delivery element is still lacking.
Back then, there were only food delivery services, but after a year or so other businesses started to offer the same sort of delivery services as us and now there are maybe 20 in the market. They saw that this was a great business idea because many small businesses operate on Facebook and do not have logistical support. A lot of these businessowners don’t have their own staff, and many run their shops and also work day jobs.
For people who work multiple jobs, this delivery service can help them to sell their products and not have to worry too much about logistics. They can increase their profits by using our services.
We also have business owners from the provinces who sell their products and transport them through us. Phnom Penh is very centrally located, so you can send packages anywhere from here, but it’s very hard to do that from the provinces.
How big is your business?
We don’t make that much in profits yet because we have to reinvest our revenue back into the business. We have 21 staff in total, as well as 15 motorbikes and two three-wheelers for delivery. We only have one warehouse for now, but we just introduced warehousing services last year so we haven’t yet filled the available space. Over the past two and a half years, we have had about 250 businesses use our services to send their packages.
Do you have any plans for expansion?
We’ll be expanding soon, and are about to launch an app which we are tweaking and testing now. We will have the app for merchants and for customers, so customers can check the status of their delivery and merchants can request the pick-up of packages more easily. We are going to expand into other provinces, too. For now we’re only based in Phnom Penh, but we want to expand into one or two new cities soon.
As it is right now, we only offer transfer services to people in the provinces. We usually arrange a taxi or make use of bus services to take packages to people outside of the city, and clients can then retrieve their packages from the taxi or bus station. We charge $1 for the transfer plus the bus or taxi fee, which is normally $1.25 to $2. We can usually get a package to someone in the provinces within 24 hours.
What types of challenges have you faced?
In Cambodia, two houses might have the same address and it’s really hard to find the proper location sometimes. For now, our drivers have our client’s phone numbers and can call them to confirm location. Clients have to be present to receive packages, because we also rely on cash on delivery. We do not yet accept alternative forms of payment.
Also, this is becoming a competitive market. Other businesses like to try to compete on price, but we don’t do that as much. We find other ways to promote our services, like ensuring our high quality and offering add-on services like warehousing. We were one of the very first in the market so people know us, and we have a very good reputation.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.