Wed | Jun 3, 2020

Mailpac inks new delivery deal with PriceSmart

Published:Wednesday | April 1, 2020 | 12:26 AMKarena Bennett/Business Reporter
Khary Robinson, executive chairman of Mailpac Group Limited.
Khary Robinson, executive chairman of Mailpac Group Limited.

Courier company Mailpac has struck a new deal with long-time business partner PriceSmart Jamaica, through which the retailer’s shoppers can buy through its online platform and have their orders delivered nationwide.

The arrangement between them is meant to facilitate business for both at a time when Jamaicans are to adhere to social-distancing guidelines as containment measures against the COVID-19 coronavirus.

The distancing of the population has seen shoppers avoiding retail establishments and other spaces and places where persons would have normally converged pre-pandemic.

The online platform, Mailpac Local, became operational in February 2016. The company, which operated under the name Caddiz, has delivery partnerships with local providers such as PriceSmart, Hi-Lo Food Stores and The Stationery Centre.

With just about six per cent of Jamaicans said to be utilising online shopping platforms, the courier company sees the e-commerce space as ripe for growth. It’s now looking for areas of opportunity within the coronavirus crisis.

“We are always looking at ways to enhance our offering to customers. Accordingly, additional supplier relationships are always in the works,” said Executive Chairman of Mailpac Group Khary Robinson.

To facilitate its PriceSmart contract, and emerging opportunities, Mailpac has hired 30 new staff over the past week and added five new vehicles to its delivery fleet.

The company employs shopping technology called virtual aisle browsing, which is used by online grocery companies such as Amazon Fresh and Instacart.

“Since the advent of corona, we have seen an almost fourfold increase in our orders. Some of that has come from this enhanced relationship with PriceSmart.

STOCKING UP

However, I suspect that the majority is coming from the increased buying related to persons stocking up during corona. Whichever it is, a lot more persons have been exposed to the value and convenience of local online shopping,” Robinson told the Financial Gleaner.

He added that since the pandemic, Mailpac Local’s client base has grown from 700 at the beginning of March to just over 2,000.

“The scale at which we are growing and the impact of corona has not yet settled so it is hard to say what the financial impact will be. Our focus right now is to build capacity to serve our customers efficiently so that we are able to meet the demand, regardless of how great it becomes,” Robinson said.

The terms of the arrangement with PriceSmart were not disclosed.

Mailpac Group Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of Norbrook Equity Partners and was incorporated on September 19, 2019 to acquire the businesses of Mailpac Services Limited and Mailpac Local Limited, for the purpose of amalgamating both logistics platforms into one operating business.

Mailpac Group went public and listed on the junior market of Jamaica Stock Exchange at the end of last year. Since the first COVID-19 case was detected in Jamaica on March 10, the Mailpac stock has climbed 30 cents or 21 per cent to $1.69, in a context where the overall stock market has been in decline.

karena.bennett@gleanerjm.com