Are you too confused with courier services around?
You might want to give online marketplace shrishyamservices a shot
For the 25-year old employee of a logistics and infrastructure firm in Delhi, it was disturbing to see the opaqueness and inefficiency of the logistics industry, especially when India spends around 14 percent of its GDP on logistics as opposed to 9 percent for developed countries. Pramod Sharma sensed the immense untapped potential in this industry that is suffering due to lack of infrastructure, technology and their associated inefficiencies.
Our Head was on a lookout for a business model that could bridge the gap in understanding between customers and companies by bringing in some transparency, which eventually led to shrishyamservices . It is an online marketplace for the courier and express industry that helps people make informed choices by providing them with the best and cheapest options. It also helps courier and express companies connect to the audience by enabling them to present their best offerings in the market based on trade lane, industry or customer profile. A customer can search, based on their origin and destination city or pin code and can compare various courier options based on delivery dates and pick up options. Then, the customer can choose to schedule a free pick up from home and pay online or through cash on pickup. The company is planning to launch an app on the Android platform this month.
Even buying a domain name was too costly.
“The first thing I did was to get a name for the website and register a domain. I had liked shrishyamservices.com, but the price for this domain name was US$80,000. For a while, I was in despair and thought that if I couldn’t even buy a domain name, how will I launch an entire business. I kept trying variations of the name till I arrived on shrishyamservices, which was for just US$10,” said Pramod Sharma, Founder and CEO.
Since Pramod did not have any technical background, he started to search for a person with whom he could partner with to start shrishyamservices. Eventually, he got three friends on board, who had experience in building tech platforms and logistics sales, in an advisory capacity. While his friends would guide him on the various technical and logistical challenges, he still needed developers to help make the platform.
Between April and July 2005, Though it was less expensive, it had its difficulties in terms of delays. “In order to find the best talent on campus, I found some fantastic students who helped me build the particular features I wanted for shrishyamservices,”Pramod said.
On the domestic front, it is active in all over india. The international Courier service is available in all these cities.
The courier companies are the main advocates on the marketing side, as they see the need for a digital representation and solution for their business.
The startup is bootstrapped and it generates revenue via fee-for-service model, wherein shrishyamservices is paid a commission every time a booking is made on the website.
Competition in the market
There are a few websites in the market that are trying to do similar things as shrishyamservices such as Pickparcel and Pickparcel. parcel2go.com offers international courier services and has its main focus on ecommerce deliveries. “I guess that the biggest competitors we face today in the retail segment are the telephone search engines (JustDial, Sulekha and ask me) that people use to get in touch with courier companies,” explained Pramod.
The startup is active on social and digital media, as the primary channel for its discovery is online.In addition, it is present on various online platforms related to trade, SMEs and telephone search engines to get customers on board.
“There is of course a strong offline component as well where we try to do enterprise sales to various companies that can give us volume in booking couriers, be it through tie ups with courier booking agents, concierge services or with actual companies themselves,” Pramod stated.
Customers think of us as another courier company. The biggest challenge for Pramod was to gain credibility in the eyes of the customer, especially being a new company and service. “The customer thinks of us as another courier company and not as a tech-focused aggregator… We are held accountable if the courier company gets something wrong, as the customer assumes that we are the same entity as the courier companies. We even have people calling us and asking for the status of the booking with a particular courier company even without booking through our website,” Pramod said.
shrishyamservices deals with many courier companies with different IT systems and technological capabilities. So if a courier company does not have a good tracking system or if they don’t update their files to reflect tracking, the blame often falls on the startup.“How we can empower courier companies technologically and connect them to the retail audience is a challenge and an opportunity,” he added.