Big Idea

Express coup

In a competitive and cash-guzzling logistics industry, Ecom Express has emerged as a rare success. What is it doing right?

Vishal Koul

It’s almost Christmas and you forgot to send gifts to your family. What do you do? Log on to your favourite e-commerce app or website and voila, within a few clicks, your order has been placed. The said platform alerts its logistics service and tells you your order will be delivered within the next few days, or even within 24 hours!

We have come to appreciate online shopping but, even today, only 3% of retail shopping is done online in India. In the US or China, the numbers are 11% and 25%, respectively. One way to increase the adoption of this channel here is to ensure timely delivery; no easy task that. In fact, time and again e-commerce companies have raised efficient transportation as one of their bigger worries. But where there is a need, there will manifest a start-up, and that’s what happened in the logistics space, too. Young companies, ready to take on this challenge, are popping up and nine-year-old Ecom Express is one such. There are many variables in this business and it’s algebra-hard to crack it, but this young company is doing outlandishly well.

As we enter their corporate office in Gurugram, we can’t help but notice the buzz and energy of the space. LED screens are throwing up data about the processing and operation as 33,000 workers on the ground, making sure you receive that smartphone you’ve been waiting for. Chances are your order is being handled by the folks at Ecom Express since they cover over 92% of the Indian population, delivering packages across 25,600 pin codes in 28 states and nine union territories (See: Deeper inroads). It boasts of being second to only India Post in its reach. One can only imagine what their warehouse looks like — oompa loompas dancing in sync, supported ably by AI and machine learning? 

Out of an estimated average of 3.5 million e-commerce deliveries in the country everyday, the company processes over 600,000 (See: Express delivery). From being a Rs.410 million company in FY14, they reported a turnover of Rs.1

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