Amit Sawhney, Co-founder & CEO, Smartbox and an entrepreneur from an early age, Amit’ recent endeavor is to solve last mile delivery challenges for the e-commerce Industry in India. Smartbox being India’s first network of automated parcel delivery terminals aims to be the most preferred delivery terminal for online shopping is now in the second innings to revolutionize the parcel delivery experience for online shoppers. Excerpts
- Team Estrade: What is SmartBox. How and when did you come to found Smartbox?
Amit Sawhney: Smartbox is India’s first network of automated parcel delivery terminals. As we envision it, Smartbox is the answer to the last mile delivery problems of Indian Ecommerce Industry. Smartbox brings the much needed privacy, security and flexibility to online deliveries and allows consumers to pick parcels as per their schedule. Smartbox terminals are placed at strategic locations for easy drop and collection and are available 24/7 for round the clock deliveries. Deliveries can be made at night and collected in the morning.
A Smartbox can be used in three easy steps:
Step 1: Order Online and choose Smartbox as a delivery option
Step2: Delivery person drops off the parcel at the chosen Smartbox terminal, customer receives OTP on email and via SMS.
Step3: Using that OTP, customer collects parcel from the terminal on the day and time that is most convenient
Smartbox also provides for CSOD – Card Swipe on Delivery for faster COD settlements.
In a nutshell, Smartbox provides convenience for the customer and efficiencies for its e-commerce partners. It makes online deliveries as convenient as online shopping.
- Team Estrade: How many SmartBox terminals do you have in Delhi?
Amit Sawhney: Currently, we have 12 operational terminals in Delhi NCR and we are in the process of scaling up to 125 terminals by June 2016.
- Team Estrade: What are the challenges SmartBox has faced so far?
Amit Sawhney: The response that we have received from the Indian Ecommerce industry has been overwhelming, as Smartbox increases efficiencies for them and helps them deliver a complete experience. Smartbox brings the much needed security, privacy and flexibility for the delivery of online shopping.
That said, the challenges are everywhere as any other technology startup. Since we are not only a technology company but also sufficient physical infrastructure also has to be deployed – hence our challenges are multi fold. Nevertheless, we love it as we are here to solve a big problem for the ecommerce ecosystem.
“Smartbox, an innovative way to simplify online shopping with automated parcel delivery terminals”
Team Estrade: How competitive is the Last-mile delivery market?
Amit Sawhney: Last mile delivery is the final leg of the supply chain. It is the moment the customer finally receives their order. And it is generally the most expensive, least efficient and most problematic part of the overall delivery process. The e-commerce market is estimated to touch $300 billion in sales by 2030 from $20 billion currently, according to a 2015 study by Goldman Sachs, a bank. However, the sector is deeply affected by high costs in last-mile deliveries due to failed deliveries, which lead to second or third delivery attempts.
There are a lot of players in the last mile delivery segment but Smartbox is unique in its concept as well as its execution. No other player offers our kind of service offering. In a vertical full of enablers, we are the Ecommerce Enabler with a difference. Partnering with us delivers efficiencies for the ecommerce players and convenience and flexibility for the shoppers.
So even though the last mile delivery market is a competitive one, Smartbox is the only one that automates the entire system, as we say, in our tag line, we are India’s first network of automated delivery terminals.
- Team Estrade: How segmented is the market for SmartBox?
Amit Sawhney: Smartbox caters to online shoppers. We have seen more eagerness for adoption among females who lead the male category 55 to 45. If we look into demographics more specifically we have seen equal response from the 18 to 24 age group as well as from the 25 to 40 age group. Understandably people in metros have been more receptive than those in tier 2 and tier 3 cities.
“Smartbox makes online deliveries as convenient as online shopping”
- Team Estrade: Do you plan to tie-up with any of the online shopping portals?
Amit Sawhney: We are already in advanced state of negotiations with all major ecommerce players for tie-ups and will soon be announcing the partnerships.
- Team Estrade: Automation is the key to strengthen ecommerce logistics and delivery function. Your comments
Amit Sawhney: Absolutely. The ecommerce logistics and delivery function is in-fact the part that is lagging in terms of automation. It’s high time that the correction happened. Online shopping is preferred because of its convenience, privacy and flexibility and 24/7 availability. The same is lacking in terms of delivery and automation like the one offered by Smartbox will bring all the above mentioned factors to online delivery as well.
- Team Estrade: What are your expansion plans?
Amit Sawhney: We will be scaling up to 125 terminals in Delhi NCR by June 2016 and taking this number to 1000 and covering the top 8 cities by the end of FY 2016.
India’s first network of automated delivery terminals: Smart Box