Q: In a highly competitive market, what added value does Merq deliver to its customers?
A: My family launched Circulo K, a courier for telecom companies Nextel and AT&T. At that time, we were providing customized services. I created Merq in 2014 alongside new business partners and we grew by combining our expertise, adding value by focusing on customized-deliveries services. In 2018, my partners sold me their stake in the business.
We recognized that Cash on Delivery (COD) payments were an important market niche because many customers in Mexico are wary of credit cards or online shopping. We have also explored other market niches, such as reverse logistics. For example, we are partners with cellphone companies that need to have their unsold stock, such as high-end phones, returned. Other important elements of our business are fast-tracking last-mile deliveries, which require that the products be picked up early in the morning and delivered to the store in the afternoon.
We offer customers certainty and security. In contrast, last-mile carrier services through mobility platforms may be useful and less expensive but they do not answer for the loss of products. Since this niche is price-oriented, it is not feasible to use those services to move high-end products.
Q: Transparency is key for customers when dealing with carrier services. What is your approach in this regard?
A: Trust is fundamental. Customers prefer product traceability over faster delivery times. In some cases, clients want to keep track of where the product was picked up, where it is at all times and when it was delivered, among other aspects. In contrast, customers can get nervous if they cannot track their product, even though they will get it faster. We reassure our customers through traceability systems. Instead of a scheme in which the customer accesses the logistics platform, we use a platform that keeps the customer in the loop. Technology is essential.
Q: When it comes to reverse logistics, what opportunities has Merq identified to create partnerships with online marketplaces?
A: There is definitely an opportunity there, such as providing reverse logistics when customers return products in good faith. Our added value for cellphone companies, for instance, is that our staff is able to check that the high-end product returned is in optimal condition. We could work with high-end product returns that require that eagle eye. Deliveries are becoming a commodity. If we do not add value to the chain, customers might look to the cheapest option.
Q: What is the most critical element within logistics operations and how does Merq address it?
A: We have clear and defined processes for the more than 25,000 packages we handle per month. From the very beginning of an operation, we need to make sure that all resources are trustworthy. Before the technological advances of today, we looked for smart people who knew their cities and the best routes to take. Today, given that technology can provide much of that support, the most critical element is trust. We need people we can trust as this directly impacts processes. Turnover rates and the learning curve of our staff makes them really valuable in the long term. At Merq we are proud to say that we pay our people well and we have a low turnover rate. Companies need to think about their employees, hire them directly and pay them good salaries. If employees are happy, they will deliver good results.
Q: What are Merq’s plans for expanding its operations elsewhere in the country?
A: In the midterm, we plan to expand our operations in the Bajio and in the northwest regions. Guanajuato would be a good next step. We already have two distribution centers in Tijuana and Cancun, which could also serve as a basis to continue expanding our footprint in the country. We are present at the main ports, including Acapulco and Veracruz, and we are exploring other important logistics destinations.
Q: What opportunities are there for Merq in the Mexican market?
A: Many potential customers in online marketplaces are entrepreneurs. Merq can conduct all the fulfillment processes for small businesses. Entrepreneurs would conduct their online sales in the channel they prefer and Merq would manage their stock and deliver their products in line with their specifications. We can adapt to their needs while providing them variable stock management, charging only a percentage of the delivery cost rather than fixed costs for storage or personnel.
Merq is a logistics company that focuses on last-mile delivery of high-end products, COD processes and inventory management for SMEs. The company was founded in 2014 and is present in Mexico’s most relevant markets.