It is interesting to explore how eCourier, the first of its kind, bike-based, unique, digital postal service is bringing positive changes in the courier industry of the country. The environment-friendly startup’s key component was to delivery documents, files or small parcels for e-Commerce sites, writes Syed Rabius Shams
In recent times, youth entrepreneurship has been a buzz issue in Bangladesh. Many students and recent graduates are fervent to initiate a startup rather than enter the job market. This is a fabulous scene in the entrepreneurial ecosystem of the country. Aspirants are working to develop Apps, running e-com sites, fintech, edutech, media startup and so forth.
Smooth logistical operations have always been considered to play a crucial role in business. Due to the lack of proper supply chain management system, it could bring hindrance to a venture’s turnover. Accordingly, a strong postal service presence can play a pivotal role in reducing certain obstacles. In our country’s business panorama, logistic support service is slow and inefficient; traffic congestion is one of the major factors behind this. An online based courier service that has been operating in the country which has all the potentials to become phenomenal is eCourier. ECourier.com.bd claims to be the first web-based logistic support service provider since 2013 in Bangladesh. It has been using web based tools for smooth merchant communication. ECourier’s riders travel across the capital in bicycles to deliver documents and parcels to its clients.
It is interesting to explore how eCourier, the first of its kind, bike-based, unique, digital postal service is bringing positive changes in the courier industry of the country. The environment-friendly startup’s key component was to delivery documents, files or small parcels for e-Commerce sites. Through the B2B model, e-commerce is their primary target audience, nevertheless it is gradually expanding its horizon to other none e-commerce platforms by B2C model at present. Using the same eco-friendly bicycle model, it has started to deliver tickets and food items on priority basis at the same fast pace.
The greener-method venture, eCourier, provides a premium specialised postal service with an online based digital tracking system. This finest track and trace service enables its customers to track their parcel’s real-time location through their computers, internet enabled device, or via text messaging.
The business enterprise provides same day delivery in Dhaka and recently kick-started its operations in Chittagong. It has heavily invested in expansion of its operation in 25 districts in the country through ‘Cash on Delivery’ method. It also operates in 60 districts outside of Dhaka on ‘conditional delivery’. The venture’s current clients include leading mobile network operator Grameenphone and some leading e-commerce companies such as Bagdoom, Ajkerdeal and Ekhanei. It also provides professional service and product distribution to Click to BD, BD BeautyShop, eBiponon, T-Zone and more.
Dedicated employees work in two shifts to make certain that they are efficient enough to provide high quality customer service. ‘I got my document delivered on the same day and the fact that the business is eco-friendly adds a feel good factor,’ shares Azim Ahmed, who availed the service in Dhaka. Apart from its real-time tracking, delivery day, introducing environment-friendly, cell-phone notification, a free Android application, and reasonable price, they also follow up with customers to check if the product has reached within the allotted time. It has a 24-hour support system for monitoring and to answer any inquiries by the customer via email or dedicated helpline.
Biplob G. Rahul, the founder and chief executive officer of the web-based delivery company, who is a prominent public speaker on youth entrepreneurship and a fellow of professional fellows programme of US Department of State, said, ‘Many people are venturing into courier service in the country, but some of them can’t sustain due to lack of proper marketing strategy. More precisely, as this trade is totally service oriented, many of the operators can’t keep their word to deliver on time, which hampers their business expansion.’ In relation to this, Biplob incepted the idea to penetrate bike based couriering for two reasons—assurance of on-time delivery by beating the traffic and environmental friendliness of the service.
Biplob, who has clinched several prestigious awards for his creative innovation, said, ‘I worked for IT industry for a couple of years and thought of starting eCommerce based venture in 2012 and realised that the major challenge is in logistics. Traditional logistics can’t help to grow this industry. But technological solution and proper customer service can move the hurdles and we can make it happen. Logistics can spell the difference between success and failure in business”, he said.
Biplob acknowledges that his merchants are the recipe for the success of the business. ‘I always try to motivate them through various activities such as rewards and recognition. Till date, the business has 3000 merchants,’ he informed.
One distinctive instance that deserves mention is that during the last Eid-ul-Azha, eCourier announced it will distribute meat to family and friends through its bike services for residents in certain neighbourhoods of Dhaka. ECourier, collected from and delivered meat to residences in Gulshan, Banani, Baridhara, Dhanmondi and Uttara on the day of Eid and the day after. This service is a first of its kind in Bangladesh and received huge response with acclaim from users.
Initially, the service was available in the capital’s five neighbourhoods only, however Biplob has expressed his willingness to expand the areas of operation for meat distribution during the festival in coming years. ‘From our research, we found that most people in other areas of the capital, such as Mirpur, Mohammadpur, Badda or Malibagh, leave town for Eid holidays. That’s why we selected those five residential areas for our maiden Eid delivery service,’ explains Biplob. Depending on the response this year, eCourier will expand its service to other parts of the capital next year in 2017. It has also planned to run this festival operation in Chittagong as well.
Zahirul Hasan, a service receiver of the eCourier stated, ‘eCourier handles its door to door service in such a way that customers can always expect a timely and secure service amid the Dhaka traffic. In the course of time, the modern world has developed a preference for greener methods, and eCourier excels in recent times, thanks to an ingenious digital delivery and on time service,’ Zahirul added.
ECourier has been very active in brand promotion through partnering with ‘Uddokta Haat’ since 2013. To promote the e-commerce milieu in Bangladesh, eCourier has organised ‘eCourier Summer Merchant Meet-up 2016’. The event was held with the objective of getting together with all the clients and people associated with eCourier under one roof. Very recently, Business Finance for the Poor in Bangladesh, funded by the Department for International Development of the UK Government has signed a contract with a consortium consisting of SSD-TECH, Mind Initiatives, and eCourier. In this deal, eCourier will play a key role to provide ‘Access to Finance and Outsourcing Services for micro & small sized e-commerce retailers’. It has also pioneered several workshops on digital courier service, supported by the a2i—Access to Information, Prime Minister Office.
The founder of the company adds, ‘eCourier’s vision is to increase its client base by 50 per cent each year and to develop into a profitable business startup within the first two years of operation. It has seen a tremendous growth and also raised a mileage business model to encourage others.’
Syed Rabius Shams is a freelance journalist and a fellow alumnus of Group Study Exchange of Rotary International and Cultural Exchange Programme of British Council.