Seko Logistics launches e-commerce business unit

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Logistics and supply chain management company Seko Logistics has launched an e-commerce business unit to grow its international cross-border shipping, global fulfillment, heavyweight last-mile, returns and re-commerce solutions into a multibillion dollar-plus business by 2025.

Seko E-commerce offers clients four core solutions: international e-commerce shipping and delivery services; global e-commerce fulfillment; global parcel returns and re-commerce; and heavyweight e-commerce shipping and last-mile delivery.

In its international e-commerce shipping and delivery services, the company includes Section 321/Type 86 Clearances for cross-border inbound deliveries to the USA, and customs management and end-to-end solutions in the UK, EU, Greater China, Australia and other prime international markets.

Seko’s global e-commerce fulfillment services are carried out in its own facilities, to enable clients to deploy fungible inventory around the world through multiple channels by providing one integration with frictionless visibility into multiple global locations.

Seko also intends to deliver an end-to-end service through its own facilities and middle-mile solutions as well as through partner technologies, under its global parcel returns and re-commerce services offering.

And when carrying out heavyweight e-commerce shipping and last-mile delivery, the company uses its asset-light direct to consumer white glove delivery solutions in the USA for oversized deliveries, including furniture, TVs and home décor products.

Since joining the global e-commerce space in 2011, Seko has been growing its international cross-border parcel volumes through organic growth and acquisitions. Seko’s share of the market is underpinned by its single platform technology solutions and 15 regional e-commerce fulfillment centers in China and Hong Kong, the USA, Australia and Europe.

Seko E-commerce will continue to work primarily with fashion, beauty, cosmetics, tech and lifestyle clients, which have spearheaded its e-commerce growth for over 10 years – giving it the ability to process international orders and track individual parcels on a single Seko platform. Seko E-commerce is also working with other aggregators and postal operators to better facilitate global international e-commerce parcel shipping. In the USA, Seko will also grow its service offering for larger consumer purchases.

The global e-commerce market grew by 24% in 2020, producing market sales revenues of US$4.2tn. Another year of record growth in 2021 is expected to boost sales to nearer US$4.9tn. The launch of Seko E-commerce reflects the rise of direct to consumer (DTC) brands selling through their own channels, utilizing platforms such as Shopify. Seko has pre-built integrations to all major e-commerce platforms, including Shopify, Magento, Commerce Cloud and Demandware, enabling faster onboarding and frictionless implementations to enable accelerated global growth for clients. Existing clients include digitally native direct-to-consumer brands, retailers pivoting to e-commerce, marketplaces, merchants, e-commerce technology partners and more within the growing and diverse e-commerce market.

Seko E-commerce, therefore, expects quick growth by working with brands that sell through multiple channels and marketplaces, including Alibaba, Amazon, eBay, Tmall and Walmart. Accounting for 40% of Seko Logistics’ annual revenues, Seko’s e-commerce operation has more than doubled in size in the last 12 months as online consumer purchases accelerated during Covid-19 lockdowns. The company also credits its success to its ability to offer fast ‘plug and play’ solutions for retail brands entering the e-commerce market, as well as digitally native brands and startups and existing online merchants targeting rapid cross-border growth.

The new business unit is led by David Emerson, senior vice president of Seko E-commerce. He joined Seko in 2003 as a partner at Seko UK. He was vice president of sales-EMEA, responsible for expanding Seko’s footprint between Europe, Asia and the Americas, before accepting this role.

Emerson said, “For a lot of brands, using integrators to move their products is the ‘easy button’ when they start out, but our model is fundamentally different. Integrator services are essentially built for scale, but scale is not always what clients want. They need speed, reliability, accountability and support from a partner like Seko which truly understands their business. Price points are critical too – a US$12 dress doesn’t need a US$25 delivery cost.”

“Seko has a big advantage with international e-commerce because we have our own middle mile – airfreight – whereas a lot of our competitors have to buy that in. We’re also winning business through our investments in global fulfillment centers strategically located across the globe and all connected through a single technology platform. This works best for clients who need co-locational stock. If a company, for example, needs inventory in Hong Kong, Melbourne and Los Angeles, there are not many companies that can help, whereas Seko E-commerce can. Using our end-to-end solution means clients moving product out to Asia to the UK, as an example, have sight of their product 28 days before it lands. This gives them far greater predictability about what they can sell, which is why our business model is evolving into a factory-to-consumer one.

“E-commerce is moving at such a pace, so a lot of forwarders are now jumping on the bandwagon. Customers just need to look at what they’re being offered and ask, ‘Is it real? Is it compliant?’ Is the solution available now or is it just Powerpoint? Can they genuinely move or warehouse your parcels? Cross-border parcels have been moving around Seko’s network since 2013, so we’re equipped to deal with the biggest and most ambitious players in the e-commerce market. We also have a unique opportunity to connect our e-commerce solutions with Seko’s primary supply chain products for companies looking to implement and grow quickly. We’re ready for these client conversations.”

Chris Zheng has also been promoted to senior vice president of global cross-border for Seko E-commerce. Zheng was previously executive vice president at Air-City when Seko acquired Air-City in 2019 and has been instrumental in spearheading and growing Seko’s cross-border parcel solutions, including T86 parcel clearance and final mile delivery into the USA.

Zheng said, “As a lot of the traditional e-commerce market drops down into the mail market, this leans into our commercial model too, and we also see a significant opportunity to lean into the integrators’ world to earn a share of the 600 million parcels they carry each month into the US. A lot of brands are questioning if they need to use a full tariff, two-day service. We will give them options best-suited to their business model.”

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