(With inputs from Nikhil Pahwa)
India Post is launching a delivery service for e-retailers, reports Live Mint, adding that India Post will be building 20 mechanised warehouses and booking centres to handle the shipments from e-commerce companies. Snapdeal is presently testing this service with India Post before their official launch.
India Post probably has the widest delivery service in India, covering 25,000 pin codes, but the challenge for them would be improving efficiency and reliability, and reducing time of delivery; it’s not for nothing that India has a large and competitive courier service market. That said, India Post delivers where courier services might not often choose not to, because some locations might not be viable. DTDC, in comparison, claims to have a network that extends to 8,000 pin codes.
For India Post, which already has that distribution network in place, reaching remote areas will be about increasing revenues for an existing route. It’s a good move, and for all you know, where courier services choose not to deliver, there might be latent demand. E-commerce addresses that very issue, of delivering goods otherwise not available in local markets. They’ll have to try extra hard to prove and showcase that they’re reliable, though.
India Post is not the first mainstream courier service to show interest in ecommerce. DTDC Courier & Cargo recently launched DotZot, a specialised logistics service for e-retailers BlueDart has a dedicated divison for ecommerce as well.
Investments in logistics companies
There have also been a good number of investments in companies providing logistics to e-commerce companies. Gharpay is another e-commerce logistics service that has raised investment from Blume Ventures, Sequoia Capital and KAE Capital in 2012. Delhivery had raised undisclosed investment from Indiatimes in June 2012, while Chhotu.in had raised angel investment from Global Super Angels. Other players in this space include Holisol and Mudita, among others.
Rocket Internet-backed Jabong has also launched a third party logistics service called JaVAS (Jabong Value Added Services), and currently claims to have clients like Yepme, Happily Unmarried, IndiaToday.in, among others.