An Underdog Rethinking Distribution

An underdog rethinking distribution

From zero to ten million yearly packages delivered in just five years – the growth for logistics and distributor company Helthjem has been a masterclass in winning the hearts of the Norwegian population and becoming an enabler for sustainable shopping.

There is something quite charming about the challenger. The David to the Goliath, and the story of the small-town boy who won the heart of the princess. Five years ago, start-up Helthjem was ready to disrupt the market and change the landscape for package delivery in Norway, going head to head against a giant with a near monopoly in the market for hundreds of years. Not an easy feat, but certainly not impossible.

Anders Lunde Angen, CEO – and the very first employee – of Helthjem Netthandel, was not intimidated by the challenges ahead. On the contrary, he was absolutely convinced that the start-up could make a difference in the market.

”The idea to utilize the capacity within the already existing newspaper delivery chain was brilliant, and I could see how this could potentially revolutionize the way we send and receive packages with regards to speed and frequency of delivery. My main driving force though was the way I could see this making life easier for everyday people”, he says.

The woman who hired Lunde Angen to do the job, CEO of Schibsted Distribution Cathrine Laksfoss, is very happy with Lunde Angen and his team’s unfailing enthusiasm and continuous hard work to make Helthjem the success it is today.

”To watch him and the team fine tune and further develop Helthjem and its services has been absolutely amazing – and their collaboration with the distribution has definitely been a key to the success for the whole distribution network”, Cathrine says.

From zero to ten million packages

And it seems both the market and the consumers are just as convinced by the Helthjem team’s efforts as Cathrine Laksfoss. A growth from zero to ten million packages sent per year in only five years is a solid testimony that the parcel service is a more than welcome player on the field. Helthjem has certainly become a competitor to be reckoned with. They were first in the market with home-to-home delivery and return from your own door, and the contactless home delivery has been well received.

Helthjem is a part of Scandinavia’s largest media companies, Schibsted, Amedia and Polaris. The distribution network has over 250 years of delivery experience from newspapers such as VG and Aftenposten, so it’s safe to say the newcomer had a solid history on which to lean. When newspaper subscriptions went down, there was available capacity in the distribution network, so it made perfect sense to benefit from the well-functioning machinery. Lunde Angen saw the nationwide and efficient newspaper distribution as an excellent starting point for services that require fast delivery to the consumer’s doorstep delivered contactless before breakfast.

An Underdog Rethinking Distribution
An Underdog Rethinking Distribution

”Today’s consumers expect more from businesses to make their lives easier and more streamlined, and quite rightly so. Why should you be forced to queue up in a crowded post office to pick up a package, or get home delivery according to a time schedule that may or may not suit you? It’s just not good enough”, he says.

There is no doubt that the business idea was good. In the five years Helthjem has been operative, several of the competitors have been forced to step up their game – so what was perhaps thought to be yet another insignificant start-up is now considered an actual opponent. It’s healthy for the industry and definitely a benefit for the customers.

Lack of innovation

Listening to your customers and meeting their needs should be at the core of any business, but surprisingly this has not always been the case within the logistics industry. The pace of innovation has been low and the consumers were for a long time left with a parcel delivery model that suited the logistics companies better than it suited them. In a time when flexibility is perhaps the most important selling point for consumers, it is no wonder that inflexible parcel delivery was no longer good enough. The power now lies in the hands of the customer.

Chief Sales Officer for Helthjem, Daniel Kongstvedt, highlights the flexibility of their delivery service as one of the most important reasons for the company’s success.

”We aim to have the fastest and smoothest service on the market, and our customers have really embraced the possibility of not only receiving packages on their doorstep, but also sending parcels from home. This flexibility is absolutely crucial when today’s customers choose how to send and receive packages”, Kongstvedt says.

You don’t have to be at home for a given period of time when the package is to be picked up or delivered by Helthjem. In fact, you don’t have to be at home at all

There is no denying that online shopping is the way forward for most retailers. Pre-corona, numbers showed that 80 percent of Norwegians between 16 and 79 had purchased goods online in the last twelve months, and the total consumption for e-commerce hovered around 170 billion NOK annually. It’s safe to assume the numbers will be significantly higher going forward, meaning the number of parcels passing through the Helthjem delivery chain will most certainly increase. In 2020, it is expected that over 85 million packages will be bought online in Norway, almost three times as many as last year. Kongstvedt is confident the customers will appreciate Helthjem and their speedy and smooth delivery service.

”Unlike how other companies operate, you don’t have to be at home for a given period of time when the package is to be picked up or delivered by Helthjem. In fact, you don’t have to be at home at all. We also deliver on Saturdays, which is a real luxury in a country where the postal service continues to scale down the number of delivery days”, he says.

Helthjem is a delivery partner of some of Norway’s leading online retailers. Every single day, protein supplements, the season’s coolest sneakers, syllabus literature, bootcut jeans, designer coat hangers and every other imaginable type of goods make their way from retailers’ warehouses – landing on the doorsteps of happy customers throughout Norway.

Promote sustainable consumption

Apart from delivering parcels containing brand new merchandise from top retailers, Helthjem also offers their customers both pickup and delivery of customer-to-customer sent packages from their home. The service has proven to be very popular, not least among fans of vintage shopping across the country. The growing interest in sustainable consumption has given rise to a boom in the market for buying second-hand goods, many of which are being carefully packed up and sent via Helthjem. Anders Lunde Angen is proud to work in a company that plays a part in an important movement for sustainability.

”Through platforms like Tise and Finn, people are given the opportunity to not only save money by buying second-hand items. They are also contributing to reducing carbon emissions by choosing pre-loved clothes, shoes and household goods. When you add a pre-existing distribution channel and smart transportation to the mix, it really adds up to a win-win situation, he says.

Surveys also show that users of Helthjem are selling items they would otherwise have thrown out, making Helthjem an even larger contributor to a sustainable lifestyle.

The effect of convenience has boosted the category even more than we dared hope

”We knew from the start that second-hand goods would be an important category for the service, but the effect of convenience has boosted the category even more than we dared hope”, says Director of Business Development and Innovation at Helthjem, Tor Even Blom-Ramberg.

Helthjem is conscious of their positive impact, but they still have ambitious goals when it comes to sustainability.

”While we enable sustainable e-commerce, the parcel journey is still not eco-friendly enough. That’s why an important part of our product development and goals for the future include skewing our delivery in an even more sustainable direction, for example using electric cars. It’s a journey to get there, but we are so proud of how far we’ve come, and truly motivated to keep going, Talseth says.

Through lockdown and quarantine in connection with Covid-19, Helthjem has been a lifesaver for many who have been bundled up at home for longer periods. Gym equipment, home office supplies and a new shirt to look good on your Teams-meeting with colleagues – Helthjem has made sure your online purchases have landed safely on your doorstep. Without having to interact with anyone or leaving your house.

”We’re very proud to have played an important part of making home life as comfortable as possible during difficult times. For me, it is just another testimony to the important role Helthjem is filling, both now and in the future”, says CEO Anders Lunde.

Marius Husebo-Evensen

Marius Husebø-Evensen
Chief Communication Officer in Helthjem
Years in Schibsted
What I’ve missed the most during the Corona crisis
Visiting friends and family who are in the risk group