Inside Purolator’s five-year growth plan

VP of marketing Ramsey Mansour discusses how a $1 billion investment will help the courier company remain competitive.
Purolator Inc--Purolator announces -1B investment to deliver the

Pictured: Purolator president and CEO John Ferguson.

Purolator is among those who have benefitted from the ecommerce boom, delivering a quarter of a billion packages in 2018 and tracking a 25% increase in parcel deliveries over the last three years. But maintaining a leadership position in a competitive market requires renewed investment in the business, says Ramsey Mansour, VP of corporate strategy and marketing for the Canada Post-controlled courier company.

This is especially true given that Purolator must now also compete against mega-retailers like Amazon and Walmart, which have been investing in their own fleets and distribution networks, cutting third party delivery companies out of the process. Last month, for example, Ottawa-based ecommerce provider Shopify announced plans to build warehouses across the U.S. with the goal of providing two-day shipping to customers across most of the country. (Shopify is listed as an official ecommerce partner on Purolator’s website).

It’s within that context that the company has announced a plan to invest more than $1 billion as part of a five-year growth and innovation plan.

The money is being put towards transforming the company’s distribution network and fleet, including the building of a new “superhub” in Toronto, and enhancing the digital experience for customers. It will be adding more consumer access points across its existing network, upgrading its high-traffic stores in large urban centres, expanding its Mobile Quick Stop service (a kind of “retail outlet on wheels”), and piloting last-mile delivery and pick-up options.

“The market is evolving and it’s evolving at a faster pace than it ever has in the past, so I think this investment is part of the sweeping transformation that’s taking place in the economy,” Mansour says. “As the leader in the Canadian courier premium market space, we’re making sure that we keep moving forward while the ground beneath our feet continues to shift.”

It’s a transformation that involves all companies  not one that can be tied back to a couple of major players. And he believes Purolator is in a good position to be seen as a firm that can “carry the shipments of all participants in the marketplace.”

For Purolator, enhancing the digital experience for customers means giving them more visibility and control  two of the most important consumer needs, in addition to shorter delivery times (as part of a growing need for one-day shipping).

Purolator customers can currently track their shipments, but they don’t necessarily control the experience, he says. A portion of its $1 billion investment will be put towards putting them “in the driver’s seat of how their delivery experience will be executed. It’s about more delivery options for their final-mile delivery.” That could mean developing technology that provides greater tracking capabilities and ways for customers to receive deliveries through different access points, either from one of its Mobile Quick Stops, retail locations or parcel lockers, according to Mansour.

How much of Purolator’s growth has come from partnerships with ecommerce providers, Mansour couldn’t say. He says the company has seen growth “very much across the board.” But helping smaller businesses reach their customers, in part through ecommerce partners, is part of its vision for overall growth.