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Retailers, e-tailers eye express delivery to create a differential

Vjmedia Works | January 06, 2015

Look at making deliveries within hours, even minutes

Forgot to buy a gift for your wife on your anniversary? Well, retailers and e-tailers across the country are racing to offer express delivery, shipping orders within hours, or even minutes.

City-based mobile retailer Sangeetha Mobiles recently launched a service promising a'47-minute-delivery' in any part of Bengaluru. While one could wonder anyone would need a mobile phone as urgently as a pizza, Subhash Chandra L, managing director of Sangeetha Mobiles, said customers loved the "concept of speed” and the retail chain had expanded this service to Chennai and Hyderabad as well.

"Speed, of course, cannot be the prime or most important factor to encourage a consumer to make a purchase, but it is definitely a service several buyers have praised us for,” Chandra told Business Standard. "Especially people who forget an event. This service is a great help as it can get you your desired product at the last minute.”

IN A JIFFY

Sangeetha Mobiles recently launched a service promising a'47-minute delivery' to any part of Bengaluru

While several e-commerce portals provide services such as same-day delivery and 24-hours delivery, many are now looking to shorten this waiting period to only a few hours

Reports say Flipkart is also looking at a mechanism where it could deliver goods to customers within three hours of placing an order

The 47-minute timeline has been inspired by the address of Sangeetha Mobile's first store, which was shop number 47. The company also runs an online e-tailing portal, shopno47.com. Several e-commerce portals provide services like same-day and 24-hour delivery and many are now looking to shorten the wait to only a few hours.

"The overall customer journey has to be seamless, this includes product discovery, selection, purchase and fulfillment,” said Ashish Chitravanshi, vice-president, operations, at Snapdeal.com. "We have found that customers are looking at best products at best value. It is our endeavour to ensure on-time delivery, we do offer 24-hour delivery and will better this time in the near future.”

India's e-commerce poster boy Flipkart is also looking at a mechanism to deliver goods to customers within three hours of placing an order.

"It depends on what I have ordered and how urgently I need it,” says Taarika Prabhu, a Mumbai-based communications professional. "I might not be tempted to buy clothes by an express delivery, but if it is groceries, I wouldn't mind paying extra to get these right away.”

Experts believe such endeavours by sellers are in the right direction, as these will help attract buyers at a time when discounts are tapering and new entities are rapidly entering the market.

"Instant gratification is a psychological need for several buyers. It is something you cannot explain, but it needs to be catered to. Buyers want a phone in their pocket as soon as they pay for it, and they want to try the shoes they have bought immediately,” said Ankur Bisen, senior vice-president of retail and consumer products at Technopak.

Bisen added with multiple players flooding the market, there was an increased need for e-commerce companies to have services that differentiated them from the others.

Express delivery comes at a premium in the US and Europe but may initially be offered for free in India as e-tailing firms seek consumer mindshare, say experts.

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