Seven Senders: Medium-sized company connects retailers and parcel service providers

Dhe so-called six-R rule is an unwritten law for every logistician. The right goods must be in the right place at the right time – in the right quantity, at the right cost and in the right quality. The Berlin company Seven Senders goes one step further and adds a seventh basic rule to the half-dozen specifications: choosing the right delivery person.

“There are hundreds of parcel service providers in Europe. We look for and find the best one for retailers who sell their goods via e-commerce across Europe, ”says Johannes Plehn, who founded Seven Senders together with Thomas Hagemann almost six years ago, describing the business model.

At that time, Plehn was responsible for shipping an online wine retailer. It struck him that both the shipping time and the price multiplied with poor service at the same time as soon as a consignment had to be sent abroad.

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“We then analyzed the market and developed a business model,” says the 38-year-old. And apparently not only the founders believe in this. Two larger venture capital funds have already invested several million euros in the development of the company with currently 130 employees and recently high double-digit million sales, plus some early-stage investors.

The goals are ambitious: “We want to build a large group and become Europe’s market leader,” says co-founder Plehn, who with partner Hagemann holds a good quarter of the shares in Seven Senders. And the corona pandemic is currently giving tailwind to these plans.

Delays and significantly longer waiting times

E-commerce is one of the big winners from the crisis. Because the pandemic is causing a change in shopping behavior: inner cities remain comparatively empty, while many online shops are hardly able to keep up with their orders.

Especially since the customer base is growing steadily: According to an international Forrester study, 50 percent of those surveyed say that they ordered products on the Internet during the lockdown that they had never bought online before – and that they want to stick to this practice due to positive experiences .

In Germany, this announcement is already reflected in the figures: the order volume in online retail increased by almost eleven percent to a good 56 billion euros in the first three quarters, shows a consumer study by the Federal Association of E-Commerce and Mail Order (bevh).

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And the usually strong fourth quarter is still missing from these statistics. “Depending on the development, the entire e-commerce, including services, can still surpass the 90 billion euro mark this year”, predicts bevh Managing Director Christoph Wenk-Fischer. Deutsche Post alone wants to hire around 10,000 new employees by the end of the year in order to be able to cope with the already gigantic and foreseeable increase in parcel volumes.

The industry is at the limit. Currently, there are often delays and significantly longer waiting times for the delivery of parcels, especially in cross-border trade, which has recorded high growth rates in recent years. Seven-Senders founder Plehn speaks of an easy 20 percent annually.

Seven Senders is looking for the right deliverer across Europe

Seven Senders connects internet retailers with local parcel service providers across Europe. So when a consignor from Germany sells goods to France, Denmark or Bulgaria, the medium-sized company uses big data and algorithms to find the right deliverer for each of these countries – for each individual parcel.

“Sometimes speed is required, sometimes the cheapest price and sometimes very specific services such as cash on delivery. We identify the provider that matches the customer’s requirements and thus optimize shipping, ”says Managing Director Plehn, who did his doctorate at the University of Karlsruhe on so-called supply chain management.

“Delivery over the last mile is the one that has a decisive impact on the customer experience. So it has to be right. ”Knowing yourself in detail as a sender in every country is practically impossible. “And that’s exactly what we do.”

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The delivery solution from Seven Senders begins at the roller door of an online retailer. A forwarding company picks up the parcels there and then takes them to the various logistics centers of the local deliverers who take the parcel to the end customer who ordered the goods.

The Berliners don’t have their own transport vehicles or storage space. In addition to the transport, the young company also organizes all the services required for shipping, from labels to invoices and returns to package insurance.

One of the fastest growing medium-sized companies in e-commerce

The Seven Senders network now includes around 100 service providers for the so-called last mile. And new ones are added almost every day. Because the medium-sized company is one of the fastest growing companies in the e-commerce world with customers in several European countries and across all high-volume industries such as furniture and fashion, music and electronics or cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.

Clients are always companies from the e-commerce sector. “We are not a provider for private parcels,” explains Plehn. Shipping within Germany is also not part of the portfolio.

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“We always only establish the connection abroad.” This means that Seven Senders is also a competitor to industry giants such as Deutsche Post in this country or corresponding logistics companies in other countries. Competitors with a similar business model and network are rare.

But regardless of whether you are a group or medium-sized company: Christmas time is the great stress test for everyone – and this year of the pandemic is probably very special.

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