SmartPOST, a company that has installed parcel terminals with venture capital financing in major shopping centers aims to become a market leader by the end of the year. Despite of the economic downturn.
Published in Eesti Päevaleht
Author: Kertu Kalmus
Although the launch of postal service was not easy. SmartPost concluded the first half of the year with 8.3 MEEK losses. The company is sure that this type of business will soon start growing.
Current economic situation has been our baptism of fire, so to speak,
says Indrek Oolup, chair of the board, to Päevaleht Online and asserts that number of people who use parcel lockers is growing steadily. For instance, number of people who used the lockers in one day exceeded 1000 limit in the end of August.
Pre cent wise, we can be satisfied with how much the parcel terminals are used,
he added. Oolu told there are around 100 different web shops and catalogues that actively offer their service.
Usage rate varies – about 30-80% of customers select us as the preferred delivery method,
Number of private individuals who used parcel lockers to send parcels to one another has been in average 2000 in the recent months. According to Oolup this shows that people use the lockers rather willingly. It is true, however, that people are a bit reserved when it comes down to something new or unfamiliar, Oolup admits.
Oolup says that one could compare red parcel lockers with ATMs. When the ATMs first emerged, many people still preferred to get their cash from the bank assistant at the bank branch. Now it is rather rare that anyone would ever go to bank office to collect cash, explains Oolup. He then adds that parcel terminals will most probably face the same destiny. Parcel lockers will soon take post offices’ place in delivering the parcels, Oolup is sure.
Estonian Development Fund does not see a problem in initial losses.
Development Fund, that invested 13,4 MEEK into a launch of SmartPost does not believe their investment to fail despite the last year losses. Heidi Kokku, Head of the Investment Division of Development Fund, explained to Päevaleht that real gains of the investment will be clear only after they exit their investment. Once they sell their stake in the company.
The investment period is approximately 5 years and although it is possible to exit earlier that mark, Development Fund does not have any plans to sell their stake in SmartPost in the moment, says Kakko.
According to Kakko it is usual and expectable that in case of the early phase investment into a growing company, there will be substantial investments. Also costs related to service development are high. Thus possible gains will start to grow later. Therefore all similar companies are in losses in accounting terms.
The bookkeeping losses in 2008 definitely do not mean that the company or the investments in it would not have any value, says Kakko.
Kakko admitted that planned usage levels have been achieved with some delay compared to the initial estimations. However, this is not a big issue.
We are on the position that in the conditions of the general economic downturn the team of the company has done a good job. They have managed to start operating the service in the changed business conditions. In addition, they have managed to keep the costs under control, told Kakko.
The world’s largest known parcel locker is located in Tallinn
- SmartPost installed a probably the largest known parcel locker in Lasnamäe Centrum shopping center in last week.
- The newest SmartPOST parcel locker has 198 lockers for parcels and is total 17 meters long. Knowingly there are no other locker in the entire world that could rival this giant. This both in terms of its dimensions and its capacity.
- The company has altogether 36 parcel lockers all over Estonia. The usability of those varies according to the number of people living in the proximity of the given terminal.
- Estonia is the second country in the world after Germany where such country-wide network of parcel lockers has been put to work.