A higher influx of orders is the true sign of a growing business. But a wise artist once said, “More money, more problems.” Though a growing bank balance is wonderful, you’ll have a lot more to think about when the cash flow suddenly starts to pour.
Multiple courier partners will be required to serve a wider range of locations to handle the corresponding heavy flow of orders. Shipping costs still have to be kept within certain limits to maintain that magnificent profitability you strived for.
Moreover, the need for multiple courier partners can become urgent for a relatively young and fast-growing company with a GMV of less than ten lakhs. But sourcing and selecting viable logistics companies in India can be quite time-consuming.
As an SMB, you may not have the time or the resources to go through the discovery process with different shipping companies. As a blossoming entrepreneur, you’ll already have a long list of tasks that rolls to the floor. So how do you get swift and simple access to numerous courier partners based on their pin code serviceability?
This is where many small e-commerce companies have begun turning to courier aggregators. Courier or shipping aggregators provide a single platform that ties up with many courier partners. It eliminates the extra burden of scoping out various courier companies that serve your locations and creating independent agreements with each.
A shipping aggregator helps you fulfill an immediate need for multiple courier partners. However, it comes with a multitude of boons and banes. To familiarise you with the subject, we'll be discussing:
What are Courier or Shipping Aggregators?
Courier aggregators (also termed shipping aggregators and logistics aggregators) are companies that associate with multiple courier and shipping companies to provide e-Commerce logistics solutions. The purpose is, first, to bring a selection of shipping partners to a single platform. Second, e-commerce businesses can easily select, onboard, and integrate with them.
For any e-commerce company just starting to experience a heavier inflow of orders regularly, a logistics aggregator can be an easy way to tie up with multiple partners for the first time.
Depending on your chosen shipping aggregator, you may have access to various services. Some offer technology-enabled solutions that further ensure the efficiency of shipping operations in the long run. ShipRocket is an aggregator that prides itself on efficient reconciliation systems, while Vamaship focuses on keeping prices cheap.
What are the limitations of using a shipping or courier aggregator?
The purpose of using a courier aggregator is to ensure cost-effectiveness and efficient fulfillment of orders with the help of multiple shipping partners. However, tying up with a courier aggregator can have as many challenges, albeit slightly different than tying up with a single courier company.
Therefore, you need to consider the following points and address them before signing up with a courier aggregator in India.
1. Negative Customer Impact
The most important thing for any e-tailer is to keep their customers satisfied. Customers who receive regular standardized updates about their order status will likely remain calm. Frustrations arise when an order is delayed or, in some cases, there are issues with the delivery.
Even those frustrations can be appeased when you, as a company, promptly address them and solve them for your customer. Even in case of difficulties during the delivery, customers will continue to have faith in the rapid response of your team.
An additional communication layer is thrown into the mix when using courier aggregators. In the original delivery cycle, orders are placed by a customer to the company. The company informs the courier partner, who proceeds with the pickup and delivers the item to the consumer. When the item is delivered, the courier partner will inform the company.
In case of any delay or customer complaint, the company will inform the courier partner. It is already a many-layered process with room for miscommunications, but most kinks have been knotted out of this system. When an e-commerce company uses a courier aggregator, all communications now have a new channel to go through.
If a delivery delay leads to a customer complaint, the e-commerce company must first inform the aggregator. The aggregator will only instruct the courier partner to notice it. This is extremely problematic since it can increase the time for information to pass.
Each player will pass on the information at their pace, which is dissatisfying to a customer relying on your company for speedy resolution. This can also make it difficult to solve and identify problems in the delivery process at regular intervals.
2. Limited selection of courier partners
Courier aggregators can partner with a varied number of shipping partners. This can range from anywhere between 10 and 20. Though 20 may seem like a large number, your selection will depend on other factors. These factors can range from serviceability to special service requests.
You must examine details like locations served or specialized requirements in transit and post-delivery, like COD reconciliation and efficient returns management.
Many shipping aggregators also prefer to work with well-known courier partners. While reputation is a thing to consider, numerous niche courier partners handle specialized services that you might miss out on. Though shipping aggregators ease the selection of suitable carriers, it comes at the cost of limited carrier choice.
3. Double costs
At the end of the day, courier aggregation is a business like any other. There is a bottom line that needs to be met. A high volume of orders usually does allow an aggregator to offer reduced shipping rates. However, additional expenses are known to arise in numerous situations, often unexpectedly.
For example, a courier aggregator that claims to offer COD services may not specify what some courier partners charge for handling cash. After all, it’s still offered. There may be other subscriptions or sudden price markups when using a logistics aggregator like ShipRocket resulting in extra costs to your e-business.
4. Cheapest versus Best
Courier aggregators may pride themselves on offering the best prices available with their partnering carriers. However, they may not give the information you need to know which courier partner is right for your requirements.
This is especially so in the case of specialized needs like SDD, NDD, or temperature-controlled shipments. Pricing is often prioritized over the reputation of the shipping company or services offered.
A courier partner may be excellent in delivering to a remote location but may not be equipped for reverse logistics. The result is that a product may be lost during the return process, leading to a dual loss for your company.
While keeping shipping rates low is important for your company’s growth and profit, keeping overall costs low is essential. Overall, the optimum utilization of resources is a necessity. A shipping aggregator will focus on ensuring that a courier partner services your required locations at low prices. There is seldom a focus on reducing the overall logistics costs.
5. Long Term Feasibility
At the end of the day, courier aggregation gives you an easy and quick way to tie up with multiple courier partners. This allows you to fulfill the sudden wave of increased orders your company has sourced. But for an e-commerce company, growth is a never-ending process.
As your profit margins begin to rise, your needs become more specific. While courier aggregators may be the quickest way to meet rising demand, they are not often the most efficient. When your GMV hits 2-3 lakhs, a logistics aggregator will help keep you steady.
As your volume of orders increases, you’ll find more viable strategies and solutions to deal with distinct needs in certain areas. Like a high volume of COD orders coming in from a specified area. Or certain pin codes t been raising their demand for hyperlocal or SDD.
When you reach a higher volume, like 1 million GMV, you will need to look for direct relationships with courier partners to fulfill these requirements. Maintaining independent contracts with eCommerce logistics partners will allow you to improve customer experience and reduce your RTO% drastically.
Why do e-commerce companies choose to use courier or Shipping or logistics aggregators?
A sudden expansion in business is a basic reason an e-commerce company would require a courier aggregator. Think of your company like a child going through an incredible growth spurt. It’s a joyous occasion, but you need a short-term solution to meet your immediate needs and keep orders flowing.
During sudden growth spurts like this for your company, using a courier aggregator, a repository of shipping companies, can be beneficial. They simplify the process of tying up with them so you can focus on getting the orders to your customers.
Customers can remain happy while you determine the logistics strategy you’ll need for the long haul because the growth isn’t (and shouldn’t be) stopping here. Courier aggregators allow you to find new courier partners and fulfill existing orders quickly. Here are some reasons an e-tailer may use a shipping aggregator in India.
1. Easy selection of courier partners
By the time you approach a logistics aggregator, you will already be aware of the number of orders that need to be fulfilled, the areas that need to be serviced, and the speed of delivery that you require.
Most shipping aggregators categorize their courier partners based on pin codes serviced and costs, so it’s simply a matter of selecting the ones that fulfill your base requirements.
That being said, aggregators may not be equipped to offer specific services or even a larger scale of services with certain courier partners. At these times, independent agreements may be more effective for ensuring the complete fulfillment of orders.
2. Lower shipping rates
Aggregators typically create their monetary relationship with each courier company. The shipping companies can offer lower shipping rates to e-commerce businesses because the aggregator covers other costs.
However, reduced shipping prices are usually based on a high volume of orders, which not all aggregators are necessarily equipped to handle. In case of such high volumes, directly tying up with a courier company may be more cost-effective as there is no middleman involved.
3. Broad pin code reach
A shipping aggregator allows you to select courier partners based on their pin code serviceability. Most aggregators provide a platform to view the locations serviced by different shipping companies. Accordingly, you can choose courier partners based on the areas they serve.
This is beneficial if you need to service multiple locations across the country. It’s important to remember that different aggregators, much like courier partners, tend to vary their services. Some aggregators offer better hyperlocal or door-to-door service rather than a wide range of locations.
4. Easy Access to Order Information
One of the biggest benefits of using a courier aggregator is easily viewing order information with all courier partners from one place. Aggregators use multicarrier platforms to enable the status of all orders with various courier partners to be easily viewed from a single platform instead of through respective courier partner websites.
Logistics aggregators may have varied mechanisms for this, much of which depends on communications from the courier partners. So the information received may not be standardized and, therefore, somewhat confusing.
5. Choice of payment options
This is a fairly straightforward benefit. More access to more courier partners means greater variety in payment options. You can select courier services specializing in cash-on-delivery services and others offering various prepaid options.
However, determining which courier companies offered are also equipped to handle COD reconciliation or returns management in case of failed deliveries is not a task made easy on aggregators. In situations like this, performance monitoring is usually the only option provided.
List of top 7 Best courier or Shipping or Logistics aggregators in India [2023 Updated List]
As a growing e-commerce business, it is an absolute must to be aware of who you are entering into business with and who you shouldn't. Courier aggregation is a vital part of many businesses' ascension to expansion.
Based on what was discussed above, numerous elements make a logistics aggregator ideal for your business needs. These include the number of shipping partners, the range of locations served, reduced shipping rates, and value-added services. Keeping the above factors in mind and the overall performance, below are the top logistics aggregators in India.
Ship Rocket is probably one of the most well-known names in logistics for e-commerce businesses in India and abroad. Tied up with 17 courier partners, their reach extends to over 200 countries. Within India, they are a leading logistics aggregator. ShipRocket’s strength lies in its wide coverage for COD orders and the most cost-effective prices currently on the market.
They have been appreciated for their tracking platform and visibility, though some have raised concerns regarding their COD reconciliation process and customer service. They also promise a reduction in RTO percentages by approximately 2% to 5%.
Ship Rocket allows its clientele to subscribe to payment plans based largely on the order volume. This enhances their capacity to cater to small and medium enterprises. One favorite feature of Ship Rocket’s customers is their comprehensive Dashboard. Its dashboard allows onboarded e-commerce businesses to track products independently and ensure delivery.
It also provides separate viewing information for non-delivered products, Cash-on-Delivery orders, and weight-based shipments. While they provide extremely efficient and cost-effective end-to-end delivery services, customer feedback shows their reconciliation process can often be delayed.
Ship Rocket's Self-Shipping service for Amazon prompts retailers to reduce their dependency on Amazon for delivery and order remittances. By integrating Amazon's Seller Central account with Ship Rocket, merchants can avail many benefits. Starting with affordable shipping rates and 50% discounts on delivery costs to a selection of leading courier partners like FedEx and Blue Dart.
Vamaship is another international logistics aggregator, much like ShipRocket. Also, like their competitor, they are known for their low shipping rates and easy view of multiple courier partners. Vamaship has wide coverage to 26000 pin codes and 200 countries. Their shipping services cover air and surface transport modes, forward and reverse logistics, and international shipping.
They also offer the option of paying only for shipments and not overall platform usage. However, their COD reconciliation and returns management system remains to be streamlined.
Shipdroid is a logistics aggregation platform launched as a service by e-commerce company Infibeam shortly after Kartrocket launched ShipRocket. Their essential goal is to create uniformity in the logistics processes and handle everything from ease of accounts management to printing shipping labels, even for COD orders.
Like all aggregators, they offer low shipping rates and a streamlined tracking platform, and online merchants using their platform are given the option to choose their preferred mode of transport.
ShipYaari is India’s first and oldest shipping and logistics aggregator. Their prices are not quite as competitive as ShipRockets, and they have fewer courier partners tied up with them.
However, they still have an extremely wide reach, offering COD for over 19000 pin codes and prepaid shipping for over 25000. They have also been commended for their efficiency, patient customer service, and forward and reverse logistics handling.
ShipKaro is another leading logistics aggregation company that caters to e-commerce firms in India and abroad, working alongside thirteen courier partners. They offer low shipping rates and a well-managed COD support cycle to deal with reconciliations. There are three major options for plans that they offer to suit small, medium, and large enterprises.
They also offer contract-based services and shipment-based payments, which allow you to pay based on the total number of shipments. This company is well-liked for its automated and scheduled end-to-end logistics system, allowing e-commerce businesses to optimize delivery speeds.
Shyplite is another company high on the list of ideal logistics aggregators and provides a single-window shipping platform integrated with 16+ carrier partners. Their main selling points are their unified viewing platform for multi-carrier orders and their quick and efficient customer support team.
Their custom tracking page and trained team of 100+ employees has enabled them to serve major online retailers like HomeTown, Superbottoms, and MyPhotoPrint.
7. iThink Logistics
iThink Logistics is a courier aggregator quickly rising in the ranks. Though their rates aren’t the lowest in the market, they still provide cost-effective logistics services with a few other seemingly minor but important benefits.
Their remittance cycle is shorter than ShipRocket, completing within seven days. Though they are tied up with only approximately ten courier partners, they are known for timely deliveries. Another benefit that makes them stand out is providing customer and business notifications through email, SMS, and Whatsapp.
Final Concluding Note
Courier aggregators provide e-commerce businesses with a surefire way to quickly tie up with multiple courier partners. While they cut out the process of independently contracting with different courier companies, this can often result in problem areas being left unattended.
As your company grows, the need to maintain direct and independent manageable relationships with carriers also grows. The challenges to delivery and logistics increase along with your GMV and volume of orders.
Accordingly, more complex and strategic shipping solutions are required. Aggregators provide an excellent medium during these periods of growth to ensure your business doesn’t suffer losses due to a base lack of order fulfillment.
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