With the expansion of the e-commerce business, both e-commerce companies and their customers often grapple with delivery issues. Customers frequently have queries related to the status of orders as no timely notifications are sent to them. And a large number of e-commerce companies are unable to automate notifications as most courier companies don't provide them tracking APIs; those who do provide them require a lot of effort to integrate with the system, and this process has to be repeated every time there is a tie-up with a new e-commerce partner. This leads to an increase in customer support costs and unhappy customers.
During April this year, Gaurav Gupta and Vikas Garg launched Shipway, a Gurgaon-based multi-courier tracking system which claims to minimise the challenges both e-commerce companies and customers face. The services provided to e-commerce companies include tracking of shipments handled by courier companies, SMS/e-mail notifications to customers and alerts for shipments facing delivery problems, among others. It also provides services for customers. They can track their orders via this platform and can use a "notify me" service to receive shipment updates by SMS/e-mail.
“With this launch, we have been able to reduce customer queries and improve user experience. The platform has helped to improve the post-buying experience for both customers and merchants,” says Gaurav Gupta, Founder, Shipway.
As of now, the venture is completely bootstrapped. “All our investment is into technology and resources. Our marketing spend is zero till date. Our revenue model is a subscription-based model, where small and medium e-tailers avail our services of sending notifications to customers on a per-shipment basis. Since our launch, over 1,000 e-commerce companies and 30,000+ customers have used our platform,” says Gaurav. The platform is looking to raise funds, which it will use for expansion and building resources and technology.
E-commerce logistics has been growing in sync with the online retail industry in the country. It is estimated that online retail will be an $18 billion industry in India in 2018, and e-commerce logistics will be a $2 billion industry in 2019.
According to a recent logistics report by Singhi Advisors, a city-based boutique investment bank that focusses on deals in this space, the logistics industry has been growing at a CAGR of over 16% over the past five years, despite it being highly fragmented with organised players comprising only 6%. Globally, the report says the logistics industry was a whopping $4 trillion giant in 2013, representing 10% of the global GDP.
Differentiating itself from other platforms, he adds that there are some players working on this, but as of now, they are only focused on improving tracking on their own website, and not on the vendor's website. So some of the key features Shipway offers include tracking for all of the major e-commerce couriers on the vendor's website such as Bluedart, DTDC, Fedex India, Aramex, Delhivery, Gojavas, Ecom Express, DHL India, First Flight, India Post, etc.
“aftership.com is one big player in this segment. This is designed for customers all over the world. We have focussed on Indian customers. So, our panels are designed according to the needs of both e-commerce companies and customers,” says Gaurav.
On the product roadmap, he says that the platform aims to deliver strong analytics to vendors on their shipments. It also aims to integrate tracking APIs from around 50+ courier companies and eventually open up to other countries.
On their growth prospect, Gaurav adds, “We have covered only a 1,000 vendors, and there are lakhs of vendors who are selling on various marketplaces or have their own store.”