The health crisis that started in 2020 has had an unmeasurable impact on Estonian merchants. Despite many negative aspects, e-stores have emerged as beneficiaries, whose sales volumes have been growing since the beginning of the crisis. Kristo Kõivumägi, Omniva’s head of the sales department, goes into more detail about what the experience of a logistics company supporting the development of e-stores has been like in the past year.

How has Omniva sensed the success of e-shopping?

We saw the clear increase in parcel volumes in March 2020, when the parcel volumes handed over by e-stores to the couriers broke new records every day. The springtime parcel race peaked in May, when we set the official record of goods volume for this period. Lighter restrictions arriving with summer along with society opening up again gave us some breathing room, but with the new virus wave, the springtime parcel volumes returned in autumn.

The classic parcel volume peak period, Christmas, was also characterised by the general trend of buying as much of the needed goods as possible from e-stores in 2020. This broke new records again, and from then on the parcel volumes have not dropped but rather increased. Omniva’s great couriers and distribution centres break new records every week. We are very happy that Estonian people are permanently changing their shopping habits and are increasingly preferring e-stores for shopping. Our newest records are from this April, when we sorted and delivered more than 60,000 shipments in a day.

Can Omniva handle such volumes? Or should the e-stores and clients be concerned about their parcels arriving?

Omniva operates the largest logistics network in the Baltics – our Estonian and Latvian logistics centres are unparalleled among parcel machine operators. When establishing these, we were the visionaries – the volumes or growth forecasts at the time did not encourage such major investments. But we believe that the Baltic people love everything online – there is no justification to the situation where the Brits or Swedes are considered the largest e-shoppers, when those countries do not have such e-state image.

With this, we established our network for the perspective of Europe’s best e-shopping region. And the health crisis brought this reality to life. Our logistics centres are created for the current volumes – operations are fast and ensure that the goods reach the client within 24 hours. Our quality indicators confirm this – in April we delivered parcels to the clients by the following evening in 97% of cases. All parcels made it to their destination by the second day.

Have the booming e-store sales impacted Omniva’s investments?

Omniva’s network is created for current volumes, but we also want it to be ready for coming upsurges. Therefore, we are currently procuring new parcel machines to expand the Omniva network in all three Baltic states. We welcome similar decisions from our competitors and confirm that we want to own the parcel machine with the best coverage in the Baltic states in the future. Currently, this intent has made Estonia the country with the best parcel machines network in the world, which means that e-merchants have the best possibilities in the world to reach all residents at the best prices.

What will Omniva do exactly to help the e-stores growth reach new heights?

In urban areas, we use operative methods to serve the growing volumes – we expand popular parcel machines and install new ones, we serve them several times a day (including weekends). Outside of the cities, we are expanding into more and more smaller settlements. We believe that in the coming year, all Estonian towns will have a parcel machine. In the future we would like every Estonian village to have a parcel machine, but that would require state support as well.

What should an e-merchant know to gain even more from the ongoing sales boom?

Omniva is the largest logistics company in the Baltic states and as a state owned company, it is very important for us that the Estonian economy would do well. Our sales team includes dozens of specialists who help the e-stores grow, thanks to their thorough knowledge of the Baltic market and the types of goods sold there.

Every upsurge comes to an end eventually. Are there any visible threats in the near future for the e-merchants?

Our partner SEB has indicated via market surveys that e-shopping, boosted by the current health crisis, will continue growing for a few more years to catch up with the e-commerce volumes in Northern Europe. Product groups such as essentials, gardening and health goods are only now moving towards parcel machines, so there is still room to grow. Estonian e-merchants who are expected to provide high quality items and the best delivery experience, play an important role in not letting the success story of the current boom slip away from locals into the hands of global players. Here, we can do a lot together with the e-merchants!