Last week, lifestyle focused e-commerce venture announced that it piloted a delivery system wherein goods purchased by customers in Delhi and Bangalore were delivered within one to two hours of the order being placed. Ganesh Subramanian, Chief Operating Officer of Myntra, told MediaNama that they managed to do this by reducing the waiting period between the order being placed, and it leaving the warehouse, and it was possible for buyers within the 5 kilometer radius around Myntra’s warehouses in Delhi and Mumbai.

“Most of the lead time is waiting time,” he said. Using handheld terminals, and by putting orders on priority, Myntra ensured that the orders left the warehouse within 23 minutes of the order being placed. For this, Myntra bought and deployed 30-40 handheld terminals at the warehouse to reduce the time-lag for the alerts, and ensured that these orders are placed on priority, when it comes to quality checks and packaging. Myntra does 10,000-12,000 orders per day.

“The person with the handheld terminal gets an alert, saying this is a priority order. We built a queue management system which is more advanced, in terms of the order flow from the picking to packing and delivery. Earlier, the average time within the warehouse itself was 3-4 hours, and we brought it down to 23 minutes,” Subramanian said. “We restricted it to 5 kilometers, and we did this for Myntra logistics, where our control is very good. Even in Banglalore, covering a 5 km distance is not easy, and that takes the balance 35 off minutes. As you start increasing the distance, the time taken increases, and that is something you can’t shrink. What you can remove is the waiting time in the warehouse.” Myntra has a warehouse outside Bangalore, and one in Delhi, and delivery points across 20 towns.

While this is a pilot project to check how quick the delivery can take, Subramanian says that this is the direction in which the company wants to go. “Fundamentally, it is like 5G speed. What the future of video? It is a 1 minute video download. For e-commerce, it is one hour delivery. It will take time to come, but our thinking is starting to shift to 48 hour delivery, to 36, to 24, to same day delivery and then to 1 hour delivery. 1 hour is an extreme scenario, and a pilot has been done. Myntra will continue to reduce the time taken, and we’ll think in hours and minutes. Customers will see a continuous improvement in delivery experience. That leads to an increase in the repeat metric because their comfort levels are increasing. Intra day delivery is a possibility in the next few quarters. We’re already doing this in Bangalore and Delhi. We’ll try to cover most of the metros and 10-15 cities in 48 hours, and some of them in 24 hours itself. It will start with our own logistics network, and then we’ll look at how we will enable third parties.”

Is it worth the cost? Subramanian believes it is. “When things are (kept in) waiting, one has to get into why they are waiting.”