Emiza’s end-to-end platform Unify is helping D2C and new-age brands manage several logistics processes on a single dashboard, saving them cost and time
The startup claims to have helped startups with its tech-driven warehousing management that has more than 22 fulfilment centres across 12 cities
The startup aims to generate INR 140 Cr in FY24 and expand its warehouse network and infrastructure in the coming years
The Indian D2C model is not just about having a native ecommerce store and focussing all energies on that store. Despite the name, direct to consumer remains a distant notion, at least as far as the shopping journey is concerned. Over the years, new-age D2C brands have seen that going omnichannel (blending marketplaces, native stores and retail presence) is key to maximising reach in the Indian market. So brands cannot go the whole distance on their own and each channel brings in new complexities.
Mumbai-based Emiza is looking to solve at least one major headache for Indian D2C brands. The disparate and disconnected experience of logistics and deliveries across these channels.
“Brands have to deal with multiple platforms and service providers right from the checkout process to post last-mile delivery (incase of an RTO). They require interoperability to overcome the challenges they face while dealing with multiple platforms,” Emiza founder and CEO Ajay Rao told Inc42.
The logistics tech startup is looking to streamline access to these disparate services with its single platform, hoping to ease the life of online sellers, retailers as well as brands selling online natively. The idea is to not give them multiple logistics service providers that handle the user journey from checkout to communication.
Emiza’s end-to-end platform called Unify was launched in June this year and it brings clear visibility to the logistics and distribution journey as well as analytics to help brands save costs directly and indirectly.
Unify allows D2C and new-age brands to manage several processes on a single dashboard. Firstly, it enables consumer products businesses to cut the costs that they would otherwise incur by managing multiple logistics platforms/services.
The analytics help brands monitor drop rate, conversion, sales, fulfilment, inventory, returns, and cancellations, while ‘Address & Order Confirmation’ or ACOC tackles returns by studying the intent of the buyers.
Emiza’s partnerships with Delhivery, Xpressbees, Blue Dart and other delivery partners mean that it has extensive coverage. This has allowed it to work with FMCG brands and conglomerates such as Marico, Mamaearth, Clovia and The Souled Store.
The startup claims that its warehousing and fulfilment solutions mean brands will see at least a 10% reduction in RTOs, 25% lower cart abandonment rates and 15% faster checkout times, which boosts conversions.
To date, the startup claims to have brought 200 startups on board and has a presence found in Tier 2 cities and regions such as Indore, Lucknow and Patna, among other regions where brands typically have to deal with delivery hurdles.
This, in turn, helped Emiza grow in revenue by 65% YoY in FY23. Rao said the company aims to clock INR 140 Cr in FY24 and to achieve this it’s focussing a lot on omnichannel solutions.
A Deep-Dive In To Unify
While it may be well known that D2C brands have to rely on marketplaces such as Amazon and Flipkart for online growth, they cannot afford to ignore retail or physical stores. Nykaa, SUGAR Cosmetics, Mamaearth, Lenskart, Damensch, BlueStone, and The Souled Store all have a wide presence in the retail space and this reliance is only about to grow as offline stores help create a clearer brand recall among consumers.
Rao said that Unify with its single platform allows brands to manage orders from marketplaces, native stores and offline stores with ease. Brands leverage some of their offline stores to fulfil ecommerce orders for B2C, D2C and offline businesses, as mentioned earlier.
This is a clear USP that allows brands to enhance the post-checkout experience and match the likes of Amazon, Flipkart and others.
This is critical for retaining users, fulfilling repeat orders faster and getting visibility on which sales channel is lagging in terms of the customer experience. “Unify brings together technology, network, and proven operation capabilities to create a complete experience for both brands and their customers,” said Rao.
The founder claimed that Unify enables a smoother customer journey, right from checkout to delivery by offering estimated delivery dates, multiple shipping and payment options through a unified communication. This will result in a positive shopping experience.
As for brands, they will be able to manage actions such as checkout management, order management, warehouse management, shipping, and customer communication through a single window.
The lack of a unified dashboard, for instance, can potentially lead to confusion for customer service teams, as agents have to switch between multiple panels to hunt down the order and its status. The delay is typically seen in newer brands that don’t have the best tools to streamline such operations. And naturally, it hampers the customer experience.
Emiza’s Unify brings the relevant logistics and order information on a single dashboard. The startup charges a base fee of INR 75 for 500 gms of shipment delivering pan India. The charges includes checkout, storage, order processing and last mile delivery. These charges may vary based on the weight of the shipment and level of customisation.
Further, from a sales perspective, having everything in one place allows the brand to see which channels are showing the highest movement of products and which products are more relevant for which channels. They can also check inventory levels, get detailed analytics and cut costs by removing the additional subscription fees associated with managing multiple SaaS tools.
Rao believes that Unify is especially helpful for smaller or early-stage D2C brands as it helps them handle fulfilment thanks to straightforward pricing, minimal resource requirements and easy access to a network of fulfilment centres across cities like Gurugram, New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Guwahati, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Patna, Indore and Lucknow among others.
He also believes that brands need to look at adopting 3PL solutions when they start receiving around 3,000 orders per month.
Besides Emiza, there is a host of other 3PL providers that have been enabling the D2C brands in their growth like ODWEN, TVS Supply Chain Solutions, AAJ Enterprises and Kerry Indev Express.
Emiza’s Tech-Enabled Warehouses for Efficient Storage
While Unify’s logistics SaaS product is one thing, Emiza goes a step beyond tech-driven warehousing management. Emiza’s warehouse network has over 22 fulfilment centres. These tech-enabled warehouses offer multi-tier shelving systems for ease of order processing, and a host of safety and security features.
A conveyor system moves products at the right time with minimum human intervention. Automated fire sprinklers handle the safety of products, while CCTV cameras are strategically installed throughout the warehouse to offer surveillance of all stored items and monitor unauthorised access.
This is especially critical because multiple brands may be utilising Emiza’s warehouse space.
Warehouse managers handle operations like shelf life management, assembly and kitting, quality checks and more, doing plenty of heavy lifting for brands that can focus on their product, sales and marketing operations.
To ensure same-day/next-day delivery for partner brands, Emiza’s team assists brands in locating inventories at the closest demand centres and the startup has partnered with local courier service providers to meet last-mile demands.
Rao claimed that Emiza’s shipping platform ensures efficient and prompt deliveries by optimising shipment allocation based on delivery performance, payment mode and delivery cost.
Finally, Emiza’s operations team communicates with customers and delivery partners for order tracking and status.
Emiza Is Enabling D2C Success In The Omnichannel Landscape
Rao says that Emiza has come a long way in its journey, pivoting from part load trucking to fulfilment for consumer brands in 2019.
Rao’s key takeaways from this journey are focusing on core competency, prioritising profitability and cash flow, and identifying market whitespaces.
“We built an INR 100 Cr business almost entirely out of our own cash flows and without much external capital. We raised external funding for warehousing only in 2022,” he added.
Looking ahead, Rao sees potential in India’s consumer journey, anticipating exponential growth in product consumption, both online and offline.
To capture the opportunity, Emiza plans to invest in three areas: expand its warehouse network and infrastructure to cover 5 Mn sq ft, improve its Unify tech stack to optimise inventory across multiple channels and strengthen its leadership team to handle this scale.
Rao believes that amid the funding winter, D2C brands need to focus on their product market fit and scale their businesses without cash burn on Facebook and Google marketing. Looking at improving the post-checkout experience can go a long way towards bringing in more repeat users.
He also reckons that brands must focus on leveraging marketplaces for profitably, and expand offline for the larger brand recall and a connected brand experience. Brands in some categories can also leverage quick commerce channels such as Blinkit, Swiggy Instamart and Zepto.
They can also tap into cross-border commerce to earn higher margins which would immediately have a positive impact on the bottom line if the distribution challenge is addressed smartly.
Omnichannel retail strategies are shaping consumer behaviour and brands that don’t have the right solution across channels will be left behind in the D2C battle.