Bulgarian logistics company Rapido Express and Logistics was established in 2001. In 2017 it became a partner for Bulgaria of Germany’s DHL Parcel, part of Deutsche Post and in 2018 it signed a strategic partnership deal with local peer D&D Express. At the end of 2018 local peer Speedy completed the acquisition of 100% in the company.
Radoslav Krumov, Rapido Express and Logistics CEO
Did the acquisition of Rapido Express and Logistics by local peer Speedy create the expected synergies and help improve the company’s efficiency?
Yes, the goals in this direction were met to a high extent. Regarding the merger of operations, it can be considered entirely completed. The operations departments of the two companies are de facto one department now. The same can be said about the information systems’ integration. There are different functionalities and features for which we could not find an option for 100% replication in both systems.
It should be noted that a significant synergy was achieved between the operational capabilities of Speedy and the experience of Rapido in innovations in
the field of customer service and crossborder deliveries.
Can you tell us more about Rapido and Speedy’s new platform – Market Connect?
This platform is an example of the innovation approaches applied in Rapido and how they can be included into the operational capabilities of Speedy.
The idea of the platform emerged after we noticed the serious interest of Bulgarian e-commerce companies towards cross-border sales, for us deliveries, respectively. Unfortunately, sales abroad are an exercise demanding serious organizational and marketing resources, as well as human potential. This definitely makes them unviable for smaller traders.
So, we decided we have to support and facilitate them by creating the MarketConnect platform. It can be accessed at www. sellin.eu and www.marketconnect.bg
The platform provides a solution for the following tasks:
– It eliminates the problem related to the necessary marketing resources by listing the products of the traders at any marketplace in Europe connected to the platform. Thus, the trader pays a commission to the marketplace only when the sale is completed.
– It standardizes and automates the process of synchronizing the information on Internet sites with each marketplace. Meaning, that clients’ products are visible in every marketplace through one access point, with a single integration. I want to emphasize that this is done automatically for the clients, without them having the IT resources needed for integration.
– It converts into a variety of currencies, taking into account the day-to-day movements of exchange rates, and this process is also fully automated.
– It translates product titles and descriptions into the respective language. The process is free of charge for up to 1,000 products for the client, and translations are made by native speakers through another platform that we have created ourselves.
– It automates the delivery process. The platform is fully integrated with the courier company and the generation, tracking and payment of cash on delivery is fully automated.
– The process of paying marketplace commissions and invoicing is also fully automated.
All of the above, together with the logistical capabilities of Speedy for deliveries to Central and Eastern Europe with 24-hour transit time is a service that, in our opinion, has no analogue not only in Bulgaria, but in Europe as a whole.
In brief, the platform is a free and automated way for traders to offer their products outside Bulgaria.
Which marketplace operators have already joined the platform, and which ones are you currently in talks with?
We launched the platform a month ago and currently the only fully integrated trader is eMag for the four markets it operates on – Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Poland. Currently, we are in the process of completing the integration of Allegro in Poland and we have started the integration of eBay Germany. Next are Vida XL, Spartoo and, hopefully, within a year we will have all major marketplaces in Europe integrated.
It would be interesting for the clients to know that we have tax registration in Germany, where traders will be able under certain conditions to use our registration to sell their products.
In the long term, how much of the two companies’ revenue is expected to be formed by the Market Connect platform?
It’s hard to come up with a prediction for this. The main reason is that, as I said, we are talking about not just a new product but one that has no precedent, which makes it relatively hard to communicate to traders. From my experience I can say that some of them cannot even understand the concept behind the platform and many of them are reluctant after hearing that the use of a product is totally free. And it really is. The only “catch” is that using the platforms is related to deliveries being made by Speedy/Rapido.
In the longer term, I hope we see a large increase of traders, including through reversing the direction of the process, i.e. providing foreign traders with the opportunity to sell in marketplaces in Bulgaria or third countries.
Which are the main markets of Rapido and Speedy and where do you see the biggest growth potential?
Currently, the largest market for the companies is Bulgaria with the traditional business of parcel delivery. In terms of largest growth potential, this undeniably is the cross-border trade and its servicing. It should be taken into account that even without MarketConnect, the cross-border deliveries of Speedy and Rapido exceed 200,000 per month.
What green initiatives are Rapido and Speedy pursuing as they increase investment in their car fleets?
This is another very important subject for Speedy. We have as a strategic partner the DPD company, part of La Poste – the French Post Office. The subject of corporate social responsibility towards nature is becoming increasingly important to all big companies, and our two companies are cooperating for different initiatives, possibilities and projects.
Environment protection in cities has always been a priority for Speedy. For more than 10 years the company has embraced the green ideas as its mission and is making efforts to find new ways to promote it. That is why we are striving towards solutions for synchronisation between the nature and its inhabitants, and not just cost optimisation.
Currently, the company is working on two projects – use of electric tricycles specially designed for deliveries in the central parts of large cities, and pilot introduction of specialized electric cars for urban deliveries made in Norway.
We already have our first tricycle on the streets of Sofia, and as part of the pilot project we will have a total of five electric cars operating in the capital, in Varna and Plovdiv.
Speedy will also invest incrementally in diversifying its fleet, as electric vehicles will account for up to 10% of it by 2025.