Aras Kargo Once Again Acquits itself in E-commerce
UTA LOJİSTİK MAY 2020
Publication: UTA Logistics
Issue: E-commerce Logistics
Spokesperson: Aras Kargo Director of Operations Çağatay Işık
1. How much has the e-commerce sector grown in the world and in Turkey? Which sectors are on the rise in e-commerce?
E-commerce continues to be a sector of growth in the world and in Turkey. With breakthroughs in many areas such as social commerce, mobile commerce and e-export, 2020 will be the year of digital shopping. In 2019, the sector's overall growth was 45 percent, and this rate is expected to be even higher in 2020. While the total volume of retail sales worldwide is $25 trillion, e-commerce is expected to reach $4 trillion by the end of 2020.
In Turkey, the e-commerce sector saw a further growth in 2019, reaching a volume of 83.1 billion TL, an increase of 39 percent. According to the report "e-Commerce Market Size in Turkey" by the Informatics Industry Association (TÜBİSAD), the retail, online holiday and travel sectors in particular can be noted to be at the forefront compared to other sectors in Turkey.
2. How much growth did you record as Aras Kargo in 2019 and what do you have in store for 2020?
We have been leading the industry with our pioneering and innovative services from the day we were founded as Aras Kargo, and we remain committed to investing with the vision of growing into a “global brand”. This year we celebrate 41 years in the industry. With more than 4,000 vehicles, over 800 branches, 28 transshipment centres and 14,000 employees, we rank among the shipping companies with the largest distribution network in Turkey. We transport an average of 600,000 shipments every day. With our investments, we continue to create jobs and value in our country. We plan to continue this steady growth in the coming period.
3. How do you support e-commerce with Aras Kargo solutions? Do you offer a wide range of delivery methods to your customers? Which delivery methods are most preferred?
As Aras Kargo, we offer delivery solutions to meet all our customers' needs, both domestically and internationally. Other than our standard service, our preferred products are Aras Tahsildar (Cash on delivery), where we offer easy payment at the doorstep, and Aras Aircraft, which expedites the shipping time in our provinces that are suitable for air transport. We also receive very good feedback on the solutions and services we provide to satisfy our customers. According to the SME e-commerce report, we have been voted the "SME's preferred shipping company" for the past three years. In addition, we have been named "Brand with the Best Design and Customer Experience" at the ALFA Awards for the last two years in a row.
4. Can you elaborate on your technological and operational infrastructure for e-commerce? Are there new solutions and investments on your agenda in this area?
The e-commerce sector is in a state of rapid growth around the world. E-commerce sites, which are the biggest players in this growth, expect fast, safe and high-quality shipping transport to keep up with this momentum. Making digital transformation a priority and investing in technology infrastructure are key to living up to the current expectations and keeping pace with global change. We keep a close eye on the technological developments required for the sector and adjust our investments accordingly.
With this in the background, one of our investment priorities this year is mapping infrastructure. Our main goal is to fully transition to optimising courier routes. Another investment priority is handheld terminals, which are an indispensable part of our couriers. With our investment in handheld terminals, we are able to track all our business transactions using the "direct scanning" method.
Again, we maintain our commitment to investing in the technologisation of our transfer centres, which we started a few years ago, in order to make our business processes more efficient. To this end, we first technologically upgraded our İkitelli Transfer Centre, one of our largest transfer centres in terms of both operations and square footage, and increased the centre's capacity from 5,500 items per hour to 15,000. It was built as one of the largest facilities under a single roof in Europe. Last year, we technologically renovated the Orhanlı transshipment centre on the Anatolian side of Istanbul and our Izmir transshipment centre and converted them to the sorter system. We plan to complete Ankara this year. To better handle the increasing volume of e-commerce shipments, we have commissioned investments in small parcel sorting machines on both sides of Istanbul. This year, we plan to continue the same investments in Izmir, Adana and Bursa.
5. Can you share a bit about your e-commerce client portfolio? Are there any new partnerships on your agenda?
Today, e-commerce and cargo shipping act as two sectors that are mutually interacting and cross-fertilising. Our portfolio consists of companies from different sectors, from big-name brands in e-commerce to textile retailers, cosmetics companies, SMEs and entrepreneurs who are just starting out in e-commerce. We also plan and work on new collaborations.
6. How much of your total business volume and turnover is e-commerce? What is your annual shipping volume?
Investments made in e-commerce have enabled the shipping sector to seize very important opportunities and, as a natural consequence, it continues to grow day by day. Turkey's potential to fully exploit the potential of e-commerce also positively affects the volume of business in the shipping sector. More than 35% of the shipments carried by this sector are e-commerce shipments. During campaign periods, this share even reaches 50 %.
7. What was the impact of the coronavirus on your business volume in e-commerce? Have you made any changes to your business model?
We can say that there has been a shift in shopping patterns and priority needs and mobility due to the coronavirus outbreak that has affected the whole world. Basic needs, hygiene and cleaning products, sports equipment, etc. saw an increase in demand, while there was a decline in orders for some products.
8. What sort of measures have you taken in the context of the pandemic?
We are following the recommendations of the World Health Organisation and the Ministry of Health to protect both our customers and our employees, which means we hold our measures to the highest standards.
To combat the COVID-19 outbreak, we conduct non-contact fever checks at the entrances to all our units and refer cases of high fever to our occupational health doctors. We pay attention to maintaining a distance of at least 1 metre between our customers and couriers when collecting and delivering goods, as recommended by the Ministry of Health. When delivering goods, we make sure to use contactless delivery. If clients' ID cards have a chip, we scan them without contact; if it is an old ID card, we check the card remotely and record the first and last name. We provide enough masks and disposable gloves for all our staff. We allow a maximum of 3 customers into the branch, tell them verbally to keep their distance and make them aware with written instructions in our branches. We use floor marking tapes to maintain the recommended distances. In terms of sterilisation, disinfection procedures are carried out in all our branches at the required intervals. Furthermore, sterilisation procedures are carried out at our head office, regional offices and transfer centres. We have placed hand sanitizers throughout our units in Turkey. In-vehicle sterilisations are carried out in the transfer centres, including our staff shuttles. We carry out all our business processes with great precision.
9. What kind of goals does Aras Kargo have in terms of growth in e-commerce? How do you aim to be in this field in the next 5 years?
The shipping sector has seized very important opportunities as a result of the investments made in the e-commerce sector, and as a natural consequence, it grows day by day. As Aras Kargo, we keep abreast of this change and continue our infrastructure investments on the technology end uninterruptedly. Our technological investments in our existing transfer centres will continue. After our big cities, we will focus on the technological investments of our transfer centres in Anatolia starting next year.
10. Which technologies will shape the e-commerce sector and distribution processes in the near future? How is Aras Kargo preparing for this?
As technology develops, so do the sectors in this direction. In the shipping sector, with its dynamic structure, technological investments according to changing demands, strengthening the infrastructure and making business processes more efficient are more important than ever. We keep abreast of this change and continue our infrastructure investments on the technology side uninterruptedly. In this sense, we expedited our work on the digital transformation process that started nearly three years ago. Our first investments were made mainly in technologies such as vehicle renewal, handheld terminals, resource planning software, electronic measurement weighing systems, and conveyor systems. Through digital transformation, we started to transform not only software and systems, but also our organisation, branches and transfer centres. This transformation positively affects the workflows of our customers and gives them competitive power in their sectors.