Wed, May 07, 2003 - Page 10 News List

Consumers turn to home delivery

SAFETY CONCERNS Companies and stores are using direct marketing in a bid to make sales as more people avoid stores

By Annabel Lue  /  STAFF REPORTER

Toys 'R' Us Taiwan, Procter & Gamble Taiwan (P&G, 寶僑家品) and home-delivery service provider Taiwan Pelican Express Co (台灣宅配通) are trying to lift sales from consumers that are shunning brick-and-mortar stores due to fears over severe acute respira-tory syndrome (SARS).

Some consumers are hoping to reduce the risk of SARS infection by using delivery services and eliminating the need to venture outdoors.

Taiwan Pelican reported a 30 percent surge in sales over the last 10 days alone.

"The current demand for door-to-door delivery service is abnormally strong," said Ann Chien (簡欣欣), Taiwan Pelican's marketing manager.

Last week the company recorded 35,000 orders per day -- an amount only seen during peak season such as Lunar New Year or Mid-Autumn Festival, Chien said.

Face masks, vitamins and home-made health remedies that claim to boost the immune system, account for a large portion of delivered products.

Many consumers are using home delivery services for the first time.

"Many customers say this is their first experience using the door-to-door delivery service," said David Hung (洪尚文), a manager at President Transnet Corp (統一速達), which manages Japanese delivery service, Takkyubin (宅急便).

He estimated if SARS fears continue into June, demand for delivery may see a record high at Dragon Boat Festival on June 4.

People in Taiwan like to send sticky rice dumplings or gifts to relatives, friends or business associates for the holiday.

Meanwhile, stores are fighting back by going to the customers.

Toys 'R' Us Taiwan plans to distribute new product catalogs to regular customers and encourage phone orders for home delivery.

The company will launch the service next Monday and plans to offer it until June 15. Delivery will be free for any purchase above NT$1,000.

Women are also being targeted for home-delivery services.

Procter & Gamble Taiwan, the manufacturer of SKII skin care products, has linked up with department stores to deliver cosmetics to consumers.

In an effort to boost Mother's Day sales the company is cooperating with Pacific Sogo Department Store (太平洋崇光百貨) and Far Eastern Department Stores Ltd (遠東百貨) to offer free delivery services, according to Doris Chen (陳淑琳), a deputy manager at P&G.

"Mother's Day is a peak season for cosmetics sales and we can't just sit by and let SARS hurt our business," she said.

According to an SKII salesperson at the Far Eastern Department Store on Taipei's Paoching Road, last year's counter sales topped NT$6 million sales in 10 days, while over the past 10 days counter sales only generated NT$1.1 million.

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