The Need for a Paradigm Shift in Indian Courier Industry


Imagine an industry with multiple vendors, limited differentiation in the minds of customers, lack of transparency and clear price discovery and with a fragmented network of agents across the country. The easy thing about this statement is that one can very name many industries which embody these characteristics – airlines, trains, buses and so on. The list really does go on. However, for each of these industries, the free market has found a solution, via the Internet. Think of the following: Makemytrip.com, irctc.co.in and redbus.in, all tried to solve problems experienced by a fragmented market by connecting them through an online platform. While there have certainly been winners and losers from such a technological revolution, there can be no doubt that one stakeholder is definitely better off: the customer. Now, think of another industry which faces the same issues but has thus fact not found a credible solution: the courier or express transportation industry. The problems faced by this industry are indeed numerous, both by the customers and the vendors - from lost parcels and the trouble of finding a reliable service provider in the middle of the night who will get that extremely important parcel to your client who happens to be on the other side of the world, preferably by 9 am  tomorrow morning with a signature to prove it. It is in response to these issues that the courier industry has seen a large influx of players with investment to back them, who have been focusing on building new supply chains backed by technology, to cater to burgeoning industries like ecommerce. However by focusing much of this expenditure is catered towards ecommerce, there is a real chance that we may miss the biggest benefactor of a connected and technologically enabled courier industry – namely the Indian economy itself.

In simple terms, a courier services is just like any other logistics shipment except not as heavy or voluminous like shipments transported by containers. As courier shipments are primarily documents or small parcels (think below 70 kg), these are transported by air or by surface (trucks, trains etc) depending on the urgency. Moreover, as these shipments are primarily smaller in size and volume, for the most part they can be tracked and traced a bit easier than bigger shipments and can be transported across borders with less paper work than industrial goods in containers.

Finally, coming to the biggest hope for courier companies today: ecommerce. For the most part, the bigger ecommerce giants of the country – be it flipkart, snapdeal or amazon have tried to decrease reliance on local courier companies and have instead tried to start their own ecommerce delivery divisions. Courier companies themselves have floated divisions focusing just on ecommerce or new courier companies have come up with a focus just on ecommerce clients. In order to serve customer who do not have direct association with courier companies it is a need to have a solution where a customer will be able to search Couriers Services online, compare amongst various options, schedule a free pick up and will be able to pay for these services online.


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