1) An Overview of Logistics Startups in India for eCommerce
Retailers have been relying on logistics companies like FedEx and India Post for decades to fulfill their shipping and transportation needs, with the latter maintaining a heavy monopoly over the industry. With the recent boom in e-commerce, logistics startups have been on the rise as well, paving the way for private players with newer resources to enter the game. A 2018 World Bank Report ranked India’s LPI (Logistics Performance Index) at 44 amongst 160+ nations across the globe. Logistics startups have and continue to play a huge role in increasing India’s LPI rank and revolutionizing the transportation sector. With that in mind, we’ve compiled this list of the top supply chain and logistics startups in India.
2) Top 10 Best Logistics Startups for eCommerce Business in India [2021 Updated List]
These are the best 10 eCommerce logistics companies and services providers in India which you can hire for your online business and fulfill customer orders on time.
BlackBuck was started in 2015 and is headquartered in Bangalore. It is among the largest trucking and transportation platforms in the country. Its focus is to bring offline operations involved in transportation and trucking logistics to an online forum. BlackBuck utilizes technology to optimize logistics, ensuring both truckers and e-commerce businesses can find each other, make bookings and manage order fulfillment with ease. Because the heart of its operations lies in data science, it provides truckers with information of reducing fuel costs and optimising routes. E-commerce enterprises are given access to advanced systems that allow them to monitor the real-time movement of trucks during the delivery process.
Edgistify was founded in 2016 and currently operates from its headquarters in Mumbai. It focuses on the integrated distribution of consignments across the South Asian reason. It is among the most popular of logistics start-ups, especially for e-commerce businesses that provides niche goods and services. This is because it offers numerous options for express delivery, same-day and next-day delivery.
Alongside this, eCommerce Companies can also avail value-added logistics services like automated post-delivery proof of delivery, weather-resistant packaging for orders, heavyweight and bulk deliveries, and even temperature-controlled transportation options. It also has an option for airport-to-airport delivery services which reduce delays when it comes to air freights.
Delhivery is a leading logistics startup that began its foray into the industry in 2011 and is based out of Gurgaon. It currently operates 5000+ trucks that deliver to over 2500 cities across India. It is one of the top express logistics companies in the country. E-commerce companies can avail of numerous express delivery services, including on-demand delivery, time-based or scheduled, same-day delivery and next-day delivery.
In addition to this, Delhivery is also equipped to handle a variety of order types including heavyweight orders, high-value products and hazardous or dangerous goods. Added bonuses with this startup include flexible payment options, detection of fraudulent orders, along with returns and exchange management.
2.4) Ecom Express
Ecom Express was founded in 2012, making it one of the earliest Indian e-commerce logistics startups. Its headquarters is located in New Delhi. It focuses specifically on end-to-end express logistics solutions for eCommerce businesses. In addition to providing the most reliable express delivery services across the country, it also offers a 72-hour guarantee for completion of deliveries, and faster COD remittance.
Other services include specialized handling for valuable cargo, reverse and exchange management, quality checks on returning items and digital services.
Rivigo is a freight marketplace and logistics startup that began its journey in 2014 and is currently based in Gurgaon. It has grown in size and popularity because of its efficient development of freight and transportation services. The focus of Rivigo is to use technology to enable logistics to be more human, while also making it faster, safer, and more efficient.
To optimise the performance of truck drivers and bring in a greater number of them, Rivigo pioneered the operation of Relay Trucking. For every truckload of shipments, drivers are given relay pit stops after every few hundred kilometers where the drivers are changed. This not only boosts morale for the drivers but allows them to avoid exhaustion and provide greater services.
Based out of Bangalore, Shadowfax is a startup that was launched in 2015 to optimize supply chain management and logistics for a wide variety of industries from food and groceries to fashion, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals. Shadowfax makes use of tech and IoT (internet of things) to provide seamless end-to-end logistics solutions for over 100 different major global brands. Their services include express and hyperlocal delivery, slot-based delivery, real-time COD reconciliation, order pickup and delivery validation, and even GPS-enabled truck tracking.
QikPod is a logistics company that was launched in 2015, alongside other major logistics startup companies like Shadowfax and Blackbuck. QikPod makes use of lockers to give customers optimum convenience and ease when it comes to collecting their parcels. This startup works with major eCommerce vendors and maintains hundreds of “host lockers” all across the country.
These safe and secured digital lockers use less power and leave behind a minimal indoor footprint. Not only does the method allow customers to pick parcels up at their discretion essentially eliminating the possibility of missed deliveries, but they also allow customers and e-commerce businesses to reduce carbon emissions caused by multiple delivery attempts.
Here’s another 2015 logistics startup, this one founded by two former IIT graduates and eCommerce enthusiasts. This company calls itself the Truck Network and prides itself on reducing wastage involved in the transportation of orders and transit-based delivery mechanisms. Network actively reduces time wasted while an order is in transit, thereby improving revenue. Profitability is further maintained through low fuel and toll costs. GPS-enabled trucks can be monitored every step of the way to reduce delays and improve customer experience.
Locus also started in 2015, is a logistics company that emphasizes the importance of using intelligence and strategy to reduce overall logistics costs as well as carbon footprint. In its operation time, it has managed to reduce $100 million in logistics costs for numerous different enterprises across 400+ cities in India.
A further accolade of Locus is that it has helped its customers to reduce GHG emissions by 6300+ tonnes. This company enables e-commerce businesses to do dynamic, territory-based and last-mile route planning, alongside providing strategies for dispatch and reverse logistics.
LetsTransport is another IIT-founded logistics startup that first entered the industry in 2015, much like its compatriots and competitors. It focuses on providing more effective transportation options to enable optimum efficiency in order fulfillment and boasts that it can provide a 30% improvement in timelines for deliveries.
With LetsTransport, eCommerce businesses can select the vehicle of their choice from numerous different options of varying size, depending on the preference of enterprises and in accordance with order volumes received on a daily basis. LetsTransport optimizes delivery services by offering drivers benefits and proper training to reduce the likelihood of en-route delivery exceptions.
3) How to Choose the Best Logistics Startups In India for Your Online eCommerce Business?
Logistics startups are undoubtedly the future of the E-commerce shipping industry. With so many innovative solutions being introduced in the logistics sphere, it should come as no surprise that logistics startups are steadily starting to flood the market. With new logistics startup companies popping up on a regular basis, it can be hard to determine which startups for logistics services you should be tying up with. This is especially difficult when you have to choose more than one to tie up with, due to high order volumes or increasing customer demands.
While knowing the top 10 best logistics startups for Ecommerce is a big step in the right direction, you may not want to ignore the other potentially niche logistics startups out there. Once you've gathered a list of all the possible logistics services companies and startups you can choose from, you can whittle that list down to a perfect fit for your Ecommerce enterprise by using the criteria we've listed below.
3.1) Service Abilities
This refers to the ability and capacity of the logistics startup in question to provide the services your Ecommerce business needs. This means they should be equipped to reach the pin codes you require efficiently and handle the volume of orders you receive on a regular basis.
This in itself will help you narrow down your list, especially if you have clarity about your shipping strategy. Many logistics companies offer access to remote locations while others offer added services in certain locations. Based on how much you're shipping and where to, you can determine on a basic level which logistics startups are suitable for you.
3.2) Service Costs
Every action you take for your Ecommerce enterprise is aimed at meeting your bottom line, i.e., maintaining profitability. This can only be achieved if you strategize to keep costs low. And logistics costs can take a big chunk out of your wallet if you're not careful.
The cost of receiving services from a logistics startup can vary based on the services you've requested, the volume of orders shipped every month and additional fees that may come up for labour and handling of orders. The goal of counting costs is to allow you to get all the logistics services you want within a viable and predictable rate so you're not hit with unexpected expenses.
3.3) SLA (Service Level Agreement)
When you are deciding to tie up with a logistics startup, the terms of your relationship with this logistics partner will be enumerated in an SLA (Service Level Agreement). This agreement is used to determine precisely what delivery process is followed, the delivery speed, the pin codes serviced and the overall logistics goals of your company, like reducing delivery exceptions. With a pre-planned perspective of the SLA terms you absolutely need covered, you can ensure you get the most services for the best rate. It will also allow you to specify improvement initiatives in the long run.
3.4) Delivery Mechanism
Every logistics startup has its own unique delivery mechanism. This is basically the workflow it follows to process and ship orders in a timely and safe manner. While most startups may appear from the outset to have similar delivery mechanisms, it is the minute differences that can make the difference.
For example, one startup may have a simple delivery process that ends with an automated collection of proof of delivery. This final step allows you to verify the status of successful deliveries without having to perform any additional follow-up and therefore saves you time and effort in the long run.
3.5) Specialised Services
Much like how some logistics startups include certain services in their overall delivery mechanism, many also offer specialized services that can be used for other parts of the logistics process. These can vary based on the logistics startup in question and the market trends for logistics services. For example, most logistics startups will cover COD services either as in-built services or specialty services.
Others may offer express delivery or scheduled delivery for an added cost. Some may also offer services like customized, weather-resistant packaging, or temperature-controlled transit. Some may even offer logistics services for a niche range of goods. Like Delhivery or FedEx that are both known for handling bulk orders or hazardous materials. You can determine the specialised services you need and negotiate the same into your SLA terms to keep costs for these special logistics services low.
3.6) Insurance and Secured Delivery
Another range of specialised services offered by many logistics companies is insurance and secured delivery. While some specialised services are only for a specific type of goods, a good logistics startup will offer these services for any ecommerce industry. Both of these services may prove to be vital to your bottom line.
Providing security for orders being delivered increases the likelihood that the orders will be delivered safely, with minimal concern for damage or rejection from the customer. In case any order is damaged during transit, insurance services allow you to claim any losses suffered by you due to the damage of that product, in accordance with the terms you've agreed to. These specialized services require extra attention and added detail when addressing them in the SLA, as you would need to ensure that the amount you're paying for these services is covered by your gains from using them.
3.7) Tech Capability
The overarching theme of the ecommerce industry is the use of technology to provide convenience. In fact, e-commerce businesses put an immense amount of work into their use of tech to provide customers a fun and easy shopping experience. So a good logistics startup would be one that utilises technology to provide a fun and easy shipping and delivery experience.
Technology can help automate numerous processes like inventory and warehouse management, order manifestation, and order tracking. Order tracking is one of the foremost areas where technology has been revolutionizing the logistics industry. The ideal logistics startup to tie up with should be one that uses the latest tech advancements and keeps up with the market trends.
3.8) Delivery Exception Management
As your company begins to grow, your goal in the Ecommerce industry will shift from bringing in orders to fulfilling the maximum number of orders. Once your order volumes have grown to large scales, you will find that the number of orders that go undelivered increases. This can happen for numerous reasons, which are termed delivery exceptions. These exceptions include stuck shipments, deliveries that have been delayed or cancelled, and failed deliveries, among others.
With the help of the right logistics partner, you will be able to proactively address and reduce the number of delivery exceptions that occur by tracking patterns and creating specialised workflows. Whether or not a logistics startup is equipped and willing to help you make improvements to their delivery mechanism will tell you a lot about whether that company is right for you.
3.9) Reverse Logistics
Reverse logistics is an extremely vital and completely unavoidable part of any Ecommerce business. Even if you reduce your delivery exceptions drastically, there will likely still be cancellations and returned items. Making this process easy for customers is your job. Making this process easy for you is the job of your logistics partner. When you're scanning through the various logistics startups, take a good look at the reverse logistics services they provide, especially with respect to the processing of the returning order and tracking of it.
An inefficient reverse logistics mechanism could result in returning orders being damaged or lost. Your business would therefore face an additional loss of the product after having lost out on the sale with the customer already. The goal with reverse logistics is for the product to return to the origin warehouse to be restocked and then resold.
3.10) Past Performance
All the above attributes are parts of the puzzle that make up any logistics startup. But you also need to see the picture as a whole to know how the pieces fit. Provision of one or two services may be great, but it is their overall performance that ensures positive results over time and makes customers happy. Prior to tying up with any logistics startup, it's important to read reviews and share stories about past user experiences with them.
This will give you a clearer idea of which services they specialise in and whether or not they are suitable for you. Even after you've selected and tied up with a logistics startup, performance appraisals should be carried out regularly. This is the only way to ensure that this logistics company is working well with your eCommerce endeavour.
Logistics startups in India are a necessary mechanism for building and growing the e-commerce sector. With some companies having opened decades ago, and others only a few years ago, the current landscape for logistics startups is a wonderfully diverse platter, with different core values and focuses. So you can select the best startup based on your business priorities, be it speedy delivery, safer handling of products and humane transportation mechanisms. These 6 groundbreaking startups are changing the world of e-Commerce Logistics for the better.