India Post eyes ecommerce, upgrades technology

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There has been news and indications about how India Post could be the answer to the last mile problem in ecommerce. With it’s reach to some of the most remote towns and areas, where other logistics services don’t have coverage, India Post could utilize it’s network to help online retailers tap into the potential consumers out there.

What’s in the cards for India Post?

India Post, having the biggest network in the country, is now targeting the $9 billion opportunity in the expanding ecommerce market. It has plans to boost its infrastructure and ensure deliveries are on track using the following:

  • New technology to track parcels real-time.
  • SMS facility using which customers will be informed about the delivery time and status of their parcels.
  • Safety gadgets like CCTV and access control systems to ensure articles are safe.

India Post already has tie-ups with the marketplace giants like Amazon and Snapdeal.

Ravi Shankar Prasad, the Telecom Minister, has met with officials from the Department of Posts and instructed them to concentrate on opportunities in the ecommerce sector and modify their infrastructure accordingly, to facilitate growth of the sector.

“The Minister has asked India Post to leverage is reach to provide special facilities to local weavers, craftsmen/women, painters and artists so that they also benefit from e-commerce,” a ministry official told PTI. He said that the Minister wanted India Post to pick up products from sellers/vendors and deliver them to end-customers.

Why is India Post keen on expanding into ecommerce now?

India Post is the largest postal network in the world with 1.55 lakh post offices. After tying up with ecommerce businesses, its business has risen multifold; hence it wants to establish a more substantial foothold in the ecommerce industry.

Last year, Amazon started sending its parcels to one location through India Post and now the arrangement has expanded to five locations as of October 2014. “Amazon shipped 7000 parcels in January this year. By October, number of article booked in a month by Amazon increased to about 85,000. Snapdeals send 2000-3000 parcels per day. Naaptol is giving about Rs 25 crore business to India Post per annum,” the official said.

India Post already offers cash-on-delivery option to about 200 customers. Since December 2013, it has paid around Rs 280 crore to ecommerce companies which it collected through cash-on-delivery.

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