[Product Roadmap] How Pickrr’s proprietary tech enables any seller to use the plug-and-play platform
When Rhitiman Majumder completed his MBA from ISB, he worked as a Senior Associate at consulting firm iRunway. At iRunaway, he met and worked with Gaurav Mangla, an IIT-Guwahati alumnus and Ankit Kaushik from IIT-Kanpur.
Gaurav and Ankit started hiring and assessment portal OptimizedBits, which was acquired by Delhi-based online talent requirement marketplace Talentpad in 2015. The trio would often discus multiple issues seen in multiple sectors across the country.
One of these was the logistics segment where they felt the lack of transparency and varying prices that courier companies charged were a problem.
This led them to start Pickrr Technologies in 2015. The sole motive was to create a plug-and-play logistics company for any direct seller or SME seller to ship products from anywhere in India to end customers without hassles in price negotiations, courier partner selection, and data analytics.
The early days
Pickrr aggregates various logistics players in the country, delivering to more than 26,000 pincodes and adding more every day.
“We started in 2015 with an operation-heavy hyperlocal model where we tried to pick, pack, and deliver orders ourselves and use tech for network optimisation. In 2016, we realised the potential need of a pure tech layer over existing and mostly inefficient logistics setup of ecommerce companies, especially small and medium businesses, and started working towards the solution we have today,” Rhitiman says.
The product was initially built to serve small and medium ecommerce businesses and used as an enabler for order placement and management. The team realised the need to scale the product so equal value was provided to larger businesses as well and gradually moulded the product to get additional features in place.
“Today, we have some of the major names in the Indian ecommerce industry working with us and deriving value,” Rhitiman says.
In the previous financial year, the team saw a 300 percent revenue growth.
What does it do now?
Pickrr now is a complete tech layer that sits above the operational connection between direct sellers and end logistics companies.
The startup’s core is their proprietary algorithm CALCULA, which suggests the best courier partner that can be used considering historical data on multiple parameters that helps sellers decrease (return orders) RTO percentages.
“Suggestion is just one part. We offer RTO reduction, real-time NDR management, real-time shipment tracking, invoicing, and COD management - all in a single, free-to-use product. Our product and tech solutions help bring efficiency to the seller’s logistics setup while reducing cost at the same time,” Rhitiman adds.
He says they have been seeing a 1,000 percent year-on-year growth. Some of its core clients include Bosch Household Appliances, Snapdeal, DenSnapdeal, 1mg, Bombay Shaving Company, and Shopify. The team has partnered with the likes of Shadowfax and Delhivery.
“Since Gaurav had experience building MVP from scratch in the last company he co-founded, this was easy for him. The core factor was scalability; we built our MVP to sustain a million orders per day, and it is because of modules that we built in at that point that even today we can manage a surge of orders with ease. This delayed our launch a bit, but increased our trust on the core in the later stages of growth, especially in the last one year,” Rhitiman says.
The MVP was targeted towards registering users and getting order details on to the system. The reconciliation part was completely manual to start with and was not part of the MVP.
Logistics in India is not very evolved in terms of efficiency; there is always a requirement to communicate with the sellers – this translates into a need for touch points. The team realised early that these touch points could either be built through a large services team or as a part of the product.
“We have always been a tech-first company, and we built this through tech. This is evident as we have a much leaner team than our competitors. Our sales consultants act as sources of user feedback and this feedback along with the advancements our product team comes up with defines our regular product updates,” Rhitiman says.
Working across a spectrum
Rhitiman says the team had built the system to be as generic as possible, so scalability was “never an issue”. They were trying to build a single product that caters to all sellers and soon learned that there is no one solution that fits all approaches and not everything can directly be done through a single product.
“We had to give sellers the independence to build layers on top of our product. We exposed a lot of our APIs so sellers got more independence and could use the core as it suited for them, without customising the product.”
The team also had a lot of specific asks from the industry back then, but didn't want the first version of the product specific to any immediate needs. They had also realised that technology alone could not solve every problem in the logistics industry, and a human touch was required to solve underlying issues.
“Our product was built to serve the entire spectrum of ecommerce players, small and medium businesses in particular. So, we generalised the product in a manner that it was usable for the entire spectrum and not just one or two immediate revenue generating players. This has been bearing fruit ever since.
“In fact, the reason we were able to grow at such a massive scale since inception is tied up with the fact that we didn't have to iterate the core in which our product was built. This alone has been the major growth hack and learning for our organisation since then,” Rhitiman says.
Pickrr also invested in building tech solutions for operations and services teams.
The market and future
The logistics sector earned infrastructure status in 2017 when its market size was estimated at $160 billion. According to IBEF, the Indian logistics market reached $215 billion in 2020, logging a 10.5 percent CAGR over 2017. The growth trajectory according to the report will continue for the next few years.
The segment has several players, including Locus, Blackbuck, LetsTransport, and others. Pickrr, however, is deeply focused on the aggregator segment.
“Our target for this year is twofold. One: to add analytics and growth-centric features to our existing product rather than just giving a last-mile logistics solution. Two: to expand business lines through warehousing, international and hyperlocal verticals. Through both of these, we want to be a full-stack logistics solution that helps sellers save costs and increase growth through verified data,” Rhitiman says.