How Jabong is accelerating innovation to arrive at great last mile customer experience


E-commerce in India has lately been buzzing. The biggies of the field are constantly ideating and innovating to win the race or simply to stay ahead. Quite like what Red Queen tells Alice in Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland:

Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!

So, it is no surprise to see how quickly Jabong reacted to a random tweet that talked about over-sized, heavy bags carried by the delivery staff of Indian e-commerce companies.

What came out of these tweet exchanges is a design hackathon to “disrupt this very courier bag and emerge with something more efficient, user friendly – eventually making even the last leg of the customer experience better for the vendor and customer.” This hackathon will be held at Jabong's headquarters in Gurgaon on 10 May. They plan to put together 2-3 design teams for about 6-hours to come up with a new design prototype. Anirudh Sharma, innovator, part of the Fluid Interfaces Group, MIT Media Labs, will be one of the mentors at the event.

"With this hack, we are accelerating innovation which ultimately leads to great last mile customer experience. The Indian customer is evolving and we are listening. Our customers are taking us to the next level and pushing us to create brilliant standards," Praveen Sinha, Co-founder and Managing Director of Jabong, told YourStory about this unusual design hack.

Excerpts from the interview:

These days, hackathons are not new in India. Last November, for example, there were four hackathons in just a week in Bangalore. How different would this Design Hack be from those?

The design hack is solving a physical world problem! Can a bag make customer experience better?

The question above makes all the difference. This design hack is part of the on-going innovation at Jabong. We are solving a real life problem for a group of people who are a critical part of the e-commerce chain.

The intent of the hack is to re-design the courier delivery bag into something:

  • Easy to carry
  • Efficient for the products inside
  • Lighter (if possible)
  • Fashionable

The hack impacts you and me and everyone who buys online. A happy delivery team will ensure a happier customer experience.

So you won’t write code here or design an app. You will solve a very different problem for someone who you don’t necessarily think about when you order online!

What will you do with the best designs that would come out of the hackathon Will its developers win prizes?

Designing the bag requires a collaborative effort of designers, material designers, orthopedics, and hardware product designers, engineers. We have approached professionals across all these domains. 2 designs will be chosen at the end of the day. Jabong will work with the winning team/ teams to build then designs into actual prototypes and assess if it truly makes the life of the delivery person easy and efficient. Post which we will assess if its truly making a difference to our customers!

We are always excited to work with people who are un-conventional. Who think differently. More than prizes, there could be many opportunities for collaboration and future work with Jabong, for the winners/ people involved with the hack.

What kind of impact do you think this design hack would have on Jabong's positioning in the Indian ecommerce space?

Jabong has been named India’s first company to achieve Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) Foundation Membership. Jabong’s management is committed to using its buying power to lead the way to better working conditions across the sub-continent’s vast supply chain.

Our commitment is to the entire ecosystem. We are working hard to the the best and the biggest fashion destination in India.

Jabongis all about young and vibrant fashion and great customer experience. We are consciously innovating to create customer WOW.

With this hack, we are accelerating innovation which ultimately leads to great last mile customer experience.

The Indian customer is evolving and we are listening. Our customers are taking us to the next level and pushing us to create brilliant standards.

A large part of our business are the people who deliver, who take calls, who work at our warehouses.We always would like their lives to become better. And if that calls for innovating on all fronts, so be it.

We of course want our customers to get great service till the last mile.

You had said: “Courier services are an almost 'not thought of' part of the entire e-commerce chain.” What are other not-thought-of part of the the e-commerce chain which probably you would look at later?

Let us first set the context right. Courier services are very well evolved but still evolving from the perspective of e-commerce. You don’t necessarily think about the courier teams when you order online!

Courier services have had to evolve in the last 2-3 years for serving e-commerce. The fast turn-around-times, different sized packages, time scheduling of deliveries, Cash collection on delivery and increasing service expectations at the doorstep are aspects attached to the delivery part, which was not an expectation pre e-commerce. All these are very recent and every delivery company is currently focusing on them and improving.

What led to the design hack was a tweet from a gentleman who reached out to almost all major e-commerce players in India. We thought it’s a brilliant opportunity to look at things differently and see how this can lead to better customer experience.

Across Jabong, teams are working on interesting ideas. Also we have stepped up our efforts in listening to our customers across social media. It’s not just facebook and twitter. We get a lot of ideas from Quora, and Quibb too!

As more ideas emerge, we would love to keep everyone involved and co-create amazing experiences.


Updates from around the world