Courier service provider Econt, which is one of the most dynamic companies in Bulgaria and operating in a booming sector, is primed for further business acceleration. A newly established company of the group's founder Nikolay Sabev, Econt Financial Services, has been recently granted a license by the Bulgarian National Bank for providing e-money services.
In Sabev's words, the move is aimed at the digital transformation of the business, which will give an additional impetus to turnover growth.
For the purpose, the company is already developing an electronic portfolio, which will offer an alternative to payment in cash or by card when using Econt's services.
Core business servicing
It is a natural move for a courier service provider to target the increasingly numerous digitally-oriented consumers in a sector driven by the expansion of e-commerce. In the pandemic year 2020 the company delivered more than 36 million parcels, up 20% year on year, its financial report shows.
"We plan to use financial instruments to improve online trade and logistics, so we can further accelerate turnover growth," Nikolay Sabev explained. "Basically, we want to improve our service by adding a smarter and easier payment tool to our deliveries." In his words the investment in the project so far amounts to some 5 million lev (2.5 million euro).
The e-portfolio is being developed in partnership with Software Group BG, which has a track record in providing technological solutions and software for financial institutions, Econt Financial Services' manager Martin Zaimov explained. In practice it is a new mobile application, different from the existing one that Econt's customers use to manage their deliveries.
The new application is currently being integrated with Econt's ERP system. "I hope we will have the first results by late fall, so that everything can start functioning smoothly in March next year," Sabev added.
"Our aim is to provide higher quality and efficiency to customers at the same price," Martin Zaimov said.
Easy payment license
The e-portfolio is planned to be used only for payments related to Econt's core activity: logistic and courier services, postal money transfers. BNB's license allows the company to offer a wider range of financial solutions but they are not on the agenda for now, though they may be added at a later stage.
"We want to focus on accelerating the business by supporting Econt's core activity. Of course, a year from now, when we see our potential and capacity, we may decide something different. But for now, our focus is on making our courier and logistic services even more accessible, not only in terms of delivery but in terms of payment instruments, by making them easier and faster," Sabev explained.
He expects that in the coming years digital transformation will continue gaining speed. "The trend is towards online transactions, as they save time. The pandemic only accelerated the process," he added.
Econt's business has been growing at a two-digit annual rate for the past 11 years. The revenue of Econt Express, which is the group's main company, reached 232.5 million levs in 2020, jumping 15.9% year on year.
Profit surged 25.3% to 30.7 million levs. The group employed 505 people at the end of 2020.
The group's services are targeted mainly at individuals, who make up some 70% of all the 3 million customers who regularly use Econt's services, Sabev said.