Starting next month, customers in Delhi will be able to take delivery of their online shopping orders from kiosks set up at major Metro subway stations. The kiosks will allow customers to pick up their orders at their convenience and also make payments using debit or credit cards.
Solving logistics issues in major cities is an expensive and complicated headache for India’s e-commerce companies. Several leading players in this field, including Flipkart, Snapdeal, and Amazon, have already spent millions of dollars to build their networks and invest in logistics startups.
Last-mile logistics — or shipments between locals distribution centers and consumers — are key, since traffic is bad in many Indian cities, addresses are difficult to find, and deliveries have to be made on time to avoid costly return trips. Making it simple for consumers to pick up orders reduces the amount of trips delivery personnel have to make every day and ensures that shoppers do not have to wait around at home for their package.
One startup that has already taken a similar approach is Qikpod, which has raised $9 million in funding to solve those problems with smart lockers in heavily trafficked areas in India’s 10 biggest cities.