Business

MD Courier adds home delivery

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

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In an attempt to set itself apart from what has become a thriving business here, shipping company MD Courier JA has added home delivery to its list of service offerings.

Earlier this month, MD Courier informed customers via e-mail that it is now offering delivery service to persons unable to make pick-ups at its offices due to time constraints.

According to the company, delivery is offered on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, and a request should be made from the day before.

With the emergence of electronic commerce, or e-commerce as it is more popularly known, many Jamaicans have turned to buying and selling goods online.

According to data provided by Jamaica Customs Agency, the change in buying habits — while small — has already begun to impact the island, with several entrepreneurs capitalising on the trend.

In 2015, the number of courier companies using the agency to facilitate international delivery, such as MailPac, MD Courier and ShipMe, stood at seven. But that number has increased to 20 companies as at the end of May.

While most of the items imported into the island through the courier companies include clothes, jewellery, shoes and small electronics, MD Courier indicated on its Facebook page that Jamaicans are now looking to import big items such appliances and mattresses.

It noted that to date, it has over 10,000 users delivering over 50,000 packages and has a staff complement of more than 50 individuals to manage operations.

But as online purchases trend upwards, more entrepreneurs are exploring the business of shipping services, leaving their competitors to find new ways to appeal to customers.

The local growth in online shopping is following a growing trend in the United States, home to tens of thousands Jamaicans, many of whom send money and goods to their families in Jamaica.

Earlier this month, Agence France Press ( AFP) reported that Wal-Mart Stores announced that it acquired New York delivery company Parcel as it girds to compete with Amazon and other supermarkets for home delivery of groceries.

The purchase of Parcel, a Brooklyn-based specialist in same day, overnight and scheduled deliveries of perishable and non-perishable items, adds to Wal-Mart's push into e-commerce following the US$3.3-billion purchase of Jet.com in 2016 and other smaller acquisitions.

According to AFP, many analysts expect stiff competition among supermarkets in home delivery of groceries following Amazon's purchase this year of Whole Foods Market.

Grocers including Wal-Mart now regularly take online orders that are picked up by shoppers at curbside. But analysts say more work is needed to improve home delivery of fresh food.

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