MailPac creates virtual store for shoppers

Published: Sunday | December 8, 2013 Comments 0

Courier company MailPac Express has created an online shopping store, called Dealbug.

The shopping platform developed for $5 million went live earlier this year, but was launched on November 29 amid Black Friday shopping fever.

Users will not need credit cards and will be able to identify a product online, request and receive a guaranteed landed price, inclusive of shipping and duties, then pay one price for the item locally, the company said.

"Once a customer reserves their item through the checkout process online, an agent will contact them to arrange payment in one of three ways. They may pay at any of Mailpac's 14 locations, have a bearer collect payment via debit or credit card, or finance payments with the M-Card, issued by Mailpac," said Mailpac's marketing officer Shannon McClure.

delivered

Items are delivered to customers at their home, or office, within a few days.

"We currently have over 2,000 daily visitors to the site, with about 800 monthly purchases," the company said of the sites performance to date.

Khary Robinson, founder and head of Norbrook Packaging, the parent of company of Mailpac Express, said the volume of users "speaks to the market's desire for our solution".

"The unit is still small but we anticipate that with the unique access it provides to consumers to shop online, it unit will ultimately become the largest contributor to our online shopping revenue," he said.

The portal accounts for less than 10 per cent of customers, but is growing, said Robinson.

The technology was developed internally, without the assistance of an information technology partner, Robinson said, while noting that the company also altered its Miami warehouse to accommodate the additional business flowing through Dealbug.

"The reality is that the customs codes are very detailed so after 15 years of managing over 75 per cent of online purchases coming to Jamaica, we have a unique understanding of how much an item will cost when it is being imported into the country," the Norbrook boss said.

no surprises

"We are simply sharing that knowledge with consumers before they purchase online so they have no surprises when the item gets delivered to them. They get to shop with the same transparency as they have when shopping in a normal retail store," he said.

Dealbug provides consumers with two basic products: an online retail store that showcases hundreds of products "as recommended by the company's over fifteen-thousand Facebook fans"; and an online portal that allows consumers to upload the URL link of a desired product. They receive a quote for the item within three hours, said Robinson.

This quoted price is called the DealBug 'landed price' and includes the cost of the product, shipping, duties and local delivery, the company said.

DealBug offers free delivery on items over J$10,000. For items below this price, delivery will cost $500.

tameka.gordon@gleanerjm.com

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