PChome Online Inc (網路家庭) expects to increase sales twofold during next month’s Double 11 e-commerce shopping event, executives said yesterday.
The company has extended this year’s shopping event from four to five days and expects to make NT$3 billion (US$96.85 million) in sales, up from NT$1.5 billion last year, they told a news conference in Taipei.
In anticipation of the immense volume of orders during the event, the company has prepared more than NT$10 billion in inventory, chief executive officer Kevin Tsai (蔡凱文) said.
The company is the first local e-commerce operator to install an automated guided vehicle (AGV) system, which is being put through its paces at its Taichung warehouse.
Other logistics investments include a bigger company-operated delivery fleet, as well as a third fleet depot servicing Taipei and New Taipei City, Tsai said.
The company would also continue to fine-tune its capabilities in artificial intelligence (AI) and deep learning to better predict consumer trends and place inventory where it is needed, as well as optimize its delivery routes, he said, adding that the implementation of these technologies comes with a steep learning curve.
The company’s AI systems have previously misjudged regional demand, which resulted in sub-optimal inventory allocation, Tsai said, adding that AGV systems do not bring immediate improvements.
A scarcity of labor has also slowed expansion of its delivery fleet, Tsai said.
“We have established a task force to improve coordination between warehouses and defuse difficulties when our AI system’s predictions are off the mark,” Tsai said.
The firm, which was hard hit during a subsidy war with foreign challengers such as Shopee Taiwan Co (樂購蝦皮), now faces another formidable opponent entering Taiwan’s market.
To fend off Taobao (淘寶), the company would continue to differentiate its catalog with more South Korean and Japanese products, such as cosmetics, Tsai said.
PChome has also signed on as an official distributor for Apple Inc and Xiaomi Corp (小米), putting it in a better position to offer steeper incentives while preserving profitability on consumer electronics, Tsai said.
PChome’s sales last month rose 14.8 percent annually to NT$2.71 billion, while sales in the first nine months rose 15 percent annually to NT$24.25 billion.
Rival TV and online retailer Momo.com Inc (富邦媒體) reported that sales last month rose 22.5 percent annually to NT$3.22 billion and 27.2 percent annually to NT$29.63 billion in the first nine months of the year.
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