Since 2015, Shipway has partnered with 14K sellers, including prominent D2C brands such as BlueStone, Lenskart and Bella Vita Organic
The logistics SaaS startup claims it caters to more than 4K monthly active users and is clocking a 20% MoM revenue growth
To make its shipping automation stack more accessible to D2C brands, Shipway has announced its rebranding to Shipway One
Good customer experience (CX) lies at the core of creating a sustainable business. As most companies would acknowledge, ensuring a seamless user experience is as vital as developing exceptional goods and services. As KPMG points out, superior CX can help businesses enhance their valuation by 125-400%.
This is especially true for consumer-facing companies, and brands in this space constantly strive to create engagement through ‘sticky’ CX. It goes much beyond building brand loyalty. The aim is to stay relevant and exciting whenever a customer enters a buying cycle and retain the interest post-purchase so that the next cycle would happen fast enough.
Unsurprisingly, many new-age enablers have come up to help brands in this pursuit. Consider how marketing automation startups Wigzo, WebEngage and MoEngage help brands retain their customers and convert site visitors into buyers with the help of personalisation tools. Or the slew of startups like ClickPost, Shiprocket and Shipway that offer logistics intelligence for operational efficiency and smooth post-purchase experience through timely deliveries and hassle-free returns.
Gurugram-based logistics SaaS startup Shipway aims to help India’s burgeoning direct-to-consumers (D2C) segment, pegged to reach $302 Bn by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 23.8%. Since its launch in 2015, IndiaMART-backed Shipway claims to have partnered with 14K sellers, including prominent D2C brands such as fine jewellery company BlueStone, eyewear firm Lenskart and beauty brand Bella Vita Organic. It caters to more than 4K active users per month and is clocking a 20% MoM revenue growth, the startup said.
Shipway has now rebranded itself and combined its different applications to do away with operational silos and improve the quality of experience across the entire customer cycle.
“Earlier, we used to provide separate applications for five automated features – courier aggregation, fraud detection, shipping intelligence, post purchase services, returns and exchange and RTO reduction services. But Shipway One is a unified shipping automation solution that has replaced all five apps with just one,” said Sandeep Pati, AVP of marketing and partnerships at Shipway One.
Shipway Is Now Shipway One: What Has Changed
Earlier, the startup offered DIY or customisation flexibility to partner brands for its bouquet of automated solutions. For instance, brands could choose to integrate Shipway with online store builders like Shopify, WooCommerce and the like. Also, its plug-and-play API integration enabled brands to track major couriers like DTDC, Blue Dart, Delhivery and more at one place for better efficiency.
Brands could partner with Shipway and leverage its plethora of post-purchase offerings such as shipment tracking, returns and exchanges and fraud detection (flagging fake orders through RTO-related data), without having to opt for different apps for different functions.
“For many of our partner brands, Shipway’s automated solutions have helped reduce manual tasks like tracking orders, responding to customer queries on delayed deliveries and complying with return requests by multifold,” Pati told Inc42.
Here’s a case in point. After leveraging Shipway’s automated shipping solutions, Delhi-NCR based Heads Up for Tails (HUFT), an omnichannel retailer for pet supplies, clocked a 70% reduction in turnaround time for an end-to-end return process, while manual requests dropped to zero. Thus, ironing out operational inefficiencies to deliver a smooth customer experience.
That’s not all. In 2021, it introduced its own logistics services to not only expand its product stack but also offer a wider range of courier services and flexibility to partner brands.
But there were still some challenges.
“We spoke to many of our partner brands and found that they were struggling with workflow issues. Juggling between tabs was very challenging, both operationally & monetarily, and at the end the customer experience suffered” noted Pati.
For instance, earlier on Shopify, the startup’s vast set of features appeared as separate apps on its main page. It meant, for each feature there was a different application and to get the granular data view for each feature, one had to operate separate apps. So brands had to deploy more employees to watch over each activity, Pati claimed.
Pricing was another major deterrent. Earlier, brands used to pay a separate subscription fee for each automated feature. In a previous conversation with Inc42, Shipway said that its plans started at $9.99 per month for 500 shipments, with bigger volumes being supported at $0.01 per shipment.
“We observed that brands were moving away from 3PL logistics providers to individual courier partners because of pricing issues. Thus, it was imperative for us to introduce a cost effective pricing model so that brands do not have to compromise on other post purchase features, apart from shipping” said Pati.
He also disclosed that the company has made several tech enhancements to make work flows as simple as possible.
To begin with, Shipway has redesigned its platform to make all its five features available on a single dashboard to offer a holistic view. Given this ease of access, brands need not train too many employees to take care of the workflow under each function. In fact, D2C owners can manage everything from a single dashboard. “We have made these changes so that even those who are not very tech-savvy can easily manage day-to-day operations,” said Pati.
“By offering a unified system we are enabling D2C sellers to automate their entire shipping stack and deliver a rich user experience to the end customers,” he added.
The improved interface will also give a fillip to Shipway’s mission to create a super-app-like experience for its partner brands.
Then there is the pricing benefit. Instead of paying separately for all its features, brands can now pay a consolidated fee and will have the flexibility to choose the features they want. Although the startup has not disclosed its new pricing model, Pati said that brands can expect a 35-40% reduction in prices as compared to earlier.
Why Tech Startups Are Rushing To Win Over D2C Brands
Given the burgeoning D2C landscape in India, many B2B and B2C startups are now building their super-apps to provide users with an all-encompassing, hassle-free experience and retain them for a longer period. This has also resulted in several cross-sector acquisitions and mergers.
Delhi-NCR based 3PL player Shiprocket is a case in point. Since the beginning of 2022, the ecommerce enabler has acquired majority stakes in five startups — tech-powered Glaucus Supply Chain, martech startup Wigzo, B2B logistics platform Rocketbox, Saas-based Logibricks and Pickrr, the rival company.
Shiprocket picked up an 80% stake in Pickrr for a $200 Mn deal in June and is looking to acquire the remaining 20%, giving an exit to the startup’s investors and absorbing the team. With this merger, the company aims to grab a larger share of India’s 3PL market, pegged to reach INR 1.2 Tn by 2025.
Although Shipway’s rebranding announcement came hot on the heels of Shiprocket’s acquisition news, Pati said he does not consider the 3PL player as a threat.
“We are an end-to-end automation company, not merely a logistics shipping aggregation platform. Through Shipway One, D2C brands can integrate individual courier partners, 3PL platforms like Shiprocket and Pickrr or leverage our own logistics solutions,” he said.
This means that no matter which courier partner or aggregation platform a brand may leverage, it will still be able to avail Shipway One’s bouquet of solutions. “We focus on enhancing post-purchase experience for our partner D2C brands to enable them to grow without too many hiccups and build brand loyalty,” Pati added.
Shipway’s new avatar as an enhanced SaaS platform to bring more D2C brands onboard is the direct outcome of the Covid crisis. Pati disclosed that during the pandemic, the startup registered a 4x growth as many D2C brands approached it due to stringent lockdowns and lack of resources.
With its tech transformation, the startup aims to make operations easier for these D2C startups so that they can save time and manpower and efficiently manage customer queries. Pati said that after using the startups’ solutions, many brands have witnessed an 80% reduction in the time taken to resolve a customer service issue.
The pandemic has also pushed the SaaS ecosystem across India as it rose to meet Covid-induced remote work challenges. This, in turn, accelerated tech adoption for brands, automated work processes for smooth internal co-ordination and offered seamless user experience at the front end. As a result, investments in Indian SaaS startups shot up to $4.5 Bn in 2021, almost a 170% increase from $1.7 Bn in 2020. The market is estimated to reach $50-70 Bn by 2030, according to a Motilal Oswal report.
It will be interesting to watch how Shipway One’s enhanced tech stack helps D2C brands improve the post-purchase experience and boost growth through cost optimisation and simplified work processes.