The e-commerce race in India may well be won or lost in the last mile. Logistics is complex in a vast, diverse country with poor infrastructure. Getting it right means the difference between a satisfied customer and a disgruntled one.
The two local leaders, Flipkart and Snapdeal, have approached the problem from different ends, but they seem to be converging.
Flipkart had its own logistics arm, which it spun out into a separate entity called eKart so that it could scale up and reduce costs by offering the service to other businesses. But in a reversal last month, it brought back the logistics arm as a new entity called Instakart in the parent body. At the same time, it is increasing its use of third parties for handling deliveries and payments.
Snapdeal, on the other hand, has been a believer in partnerships to scale up support systems. One of these was with logistics start-up GoJavas in which it invested earlier this year. Today, Snapdeal announced a second round of investment of $20 million in the company. This move obviously deepens the partnership so that GoJavas focuses on Snapdeal’s burgeoning requirements.
GoJavas has expanded rapidly since tying up with Snapdeal in March. Its reach has grown to 350 cities, compared to 150 cities six months ago.
The two companies have also been collaborating on solutions to the delivery puzzles in India.
Instant cash refunds, card-on-delivery, and live tracking of shipments on Google maps are among the other value-adds that GoJavas has brought to Snapdeal deliveries. It will also be a key enabler of Snapdeal’s O2O (online-to-offline) move this month to let customers pick up or try out at local stores the clothes or phones they want to buy from Snapdeal.
This is an excerpt from Tech in Asia. You can read the full article here.