Saudi Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MCIT) organized recently a public virtual forum under the Hope Hackathon Initiative. Jollychic’s representative was invited to attend the event, in a panel discussion with the topic of “Logistics challenges during Covid-19 pandemic, and how innovative digital platforms are supporting”.
The Hope Hackathon Initiative aims to discuss and tackle the digital challenges erupted due to Covid-19 crisis, and how experts of technology-driven industries see solutions in the future. Jollychic was invited to share its perspective as a leading e-commerce and logistics company in the GCC region in general and the Kingdom in particular, other panelists include:
1- Ayman Alsanad: Co-Founder and CEO of Mrsool, an on-demand delivery platform serving over 4 million users in KSA.
2- Mradul Khandelwal: VP at LogiNext, a leading company in the region for cloud-based Last-Mile Delivery and Route Optimization software.
3- Rayan Qutub (Moderator): Chairman of Nama Al Baraka Holding and a board member of several companies including IKEA KSA. Nama Al Baraka Holding is a global multi-million dollar investment portfolio in Logistics, Mobility Solutions, SaaS, E-commerce Development among other sectors.
Mr. Raya Qutub the moderator pointed out Jollychic’s role as one of the first-movers of e-commerce in both GCC and KSA, and its contribution in shaping the Tier 1 landscape of the online retail business in the region as an international cross-border yet highly localized platform with great market influence in GCC and beyond.
Jollychic’s representative shared the company’s concepts and solutions to tackle the unprecedented challenges in the logistics sector due to all kinds of containment measures. Since the very beginning of the pandemic outbreak, Jollychic took swift actions to accommodate its logistic operation to the unconventional situation, and to mitigate the pandemic-related effects. Jollychic geared up efforts to maximize the utilization of its well-established logistics infrastructure in Saudi and GCC region, including the spacious warehouse in Riyadh, as facilities to increase contingency stockpiling of items and products beforehand through sea transportation before fulfilling the orders locally, which allows us to maintain our services with expected efficiency and customer satisfaction, in addition, to offset the soaring air cargo costs. Meanwhile, we are putting holistic efforts to make our partnership with sellers and suppliers more resilient for both self-operated and open marketplace models. Thanks to our joint efforts, the overall supply chain remains operational with standard efficiency despite multiple challenges. It is worthwhile to hail a significant contribution and solid support from our local sellers and suppliers at this critical moment.
Furthermore, we take the current boom of e-commerce in the local markets as an opportunity to further expand our national delivery network from coverage of around 60 cities before the pandemic outbreak to around 100 Saudi cities to date. In a nutshell, Jollychic has achieved quite remarkable progress so far in maintaining the flow and efficiency of its logistic chain for both international logistics like large vessels and the last mile delivery like capillary vessels.
To put the practice of Jollychic in a more vivid perspective, Jollychic’s representative shared with the audience the “SAFE” standards that the platform newly rolled out to enhance its services during the pandemic period which stand for:
Safety – to adopt strict sterilization measures for all workers and facilities, and ensure a safe process for each link and scenario of all services including contactless payment to address market concerns and conform to government guidelines.
Availability – to ensure all categories of items and all services of the Jollychic platform are available including the vast variety of products with expected quantity and quality, responsive customer service, etc.
Flexibility – to further differentiate services by adopting more tailor-made options for customers in terms of delivery requirements, convenient payment methods, after-sale services, etc.
Efficiency – to leverage Jollychic cutting-edge technology driven by data and AI as software advantages from one hand, and well-established logistic infrastructure as hardware resources from the other, to improve the operation efficiency across foreground and background business units, and to ensure the best customer satisfaction.
Jollychic’s representative added, the pandemic is a disaster indeed, yet it has also acted as a catalyst to speed up the construction process of the digital ecosystem in the region and beyond. According to official statistics, online shopping volume in Saudi Arabia has increased by more than 400% since February. The ratio of consumers buying FMCG online soared from 6% before the outbreak to 55%. The governments of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries are also rolling out more policies to further encourage e-commerce development, such as contactless payment, logistic efficiency guideline, etc. It is foreseeable that even the post-epidemic period comes, market factors in play will not only remain, but also will witness new momentum of development on larger scales including concept of going online, customer stickiness to e-commerce, convergence of offline and online business models, encouraging policies and regulations, etc.
When asked about the outlook for Saudi e-commerce in the next five years, the executive representative of Jollychic said:
First of all, the Kingdom features developed infrastructure of transportation, telecommunication among other pillars of the digital economy. The upgrading process of these facilities is entering a brand new stage. Market players in the sector will also make their due part of inputs in corporate infrastructure construction to meet the growth needs of the local e-commerce markets.
Secondly, the intensive efforts of local government to optimize the industrial policies and investment environment will further pay off, therefore, the development of the digital economy will be raised to a new level with more pillars of the digital ecosystem being set up.
Thirdly, the application of cutting-edge technologies such as big data and AI will be more extensive, which will bring along more e-commerce scenarios, including but not limited to those successful scenarios in other regional markets. The non-staffed e-grocery that Jollychic launched previously in Saudi market will no longer stay at the conceptual level, but will embrace more solid conditions for landing.
With the e-commerce culture becoming more grounded, popular with more intensively driven by technology, the pattern of the e-commerce industry in the Middle East will undergo a remodelling process. Jollychic is committed to being one of the pace-setters of digital industry, the builder of digital ecosystem in the region in general, and in KSA in particular, by making its best contribution to the realization of Saudi Arabia's 2030 vision.
The guests of the forum gave unanimous appreciation for the efforts of Jollychic in actively tackling the impacts of the pandemic outbreak and making unremitting efforts to promote the logistics and e-commerce industry development in the region.