Both are Hong kong are unicorn startups that focus on B2B delivery. While Gogovan (GOGOX) was founded in the summer of 2013, Lalamove went live a few months later that same year in December.
GOGOX has expanded its businesses from Hong Kong to Singapore, Taiwan, Mainland China, South Korea, India, and Vietnam. The company claims to “have increased our presence to over 300 cities, with more than 8 million registered drivers under the GOGOX network”. They have also been rumoured to be preparing for an IPO.
Lalamove on the other hand operates in 24 markets across Asia, including Singapore, Bangkok Taipei and India (where it was recently banned as a ‘Chinese app’), Latin America and the United States (yes it recently launched US market, and is growing it aggressively).
The similarities for both companies does not stop there both have undergone name change. GoGovan is now GOGOX and Lalamove was formerly known as Easyvan. Lalamove is definitely easier to pronounce, and remember, compared to Easyvan; the motive behind GOGOX is less clear.
And it is understandable that both started in Hong Kong – the city’s large retail scene and very narrow streets make vans very visible. They do not loan and upload at loading bays, but often just at the streetside, with very grumpy drivers:
This creates a clear opportunity for entrepreneurs to tap on.
While both companies started around the same time, Lalamove is visibly much bigger, in size, market share and valuation. While both companies boast about things like ‘matching efficiency’, ‘fee-based business model’ or ‘valued-based services’, maybe the clue about Lalamove’s superiority is much simpler.
That is, you see Lalamove stickers on vans, large or small, and even cars. It is highly visible. Do you see the same with GOGOX? Hardly.
A simple strategy, executed consistently over the years, works wonders.
How can something so simple and cheap as stickers be so effective? The answer is simple, the more Lalamove vans you see the more it gets embedded in your mind. Subconsciously you don’t realise it but every time you see one their brightly coloured orange van your brain registers it, especially repeatedly through the years till it’s the only delivery service you can think of.
In fact during the weekend while I was around Singapore, I paid attention to the vans on the street:
In a span of 1 day I spotted 9 vans with the Lalamove sticker. How many GOGOX stickers did I see? Only 1. There is a clear distinction, who has the uppper hand in Singapore or at least who is smarter with their marketing.
And these pictures were taken with a conscious effort in 2 days, it is unclear the exact number of Lalamove stickers I have actually seen before writing this article, but I can assure you it has been a lot. Each time you see their sticker the more familiar to you it becomes and soon Lalamove becomes your top of mind recall when you think of transport services. It’s all about branding in consistent repetition.
Especially so with Hong Kong or Singapore, both with a large retail scene and an even higher population density. With these vans cruising the city and exposing everyone to their brand, more people will have Lalamove on their mind. And with time the number of users will increase.
This just proves that marketing can be affordable yet effective, no need for an extravagant campaign. You just need to continuously execute on this.
Perhaps GOGOX can learn some simple tricks from their competitors, for a little boost before their IPO.