Delivery issues while ordering from e-commerce players are well known. Typically, their customers are pressed for time and find it inconvenient to schedule their availability to match that of the delivery agent. On the other side, the suppliers face increasing costs in the wake of rescheduled delivery, delayed delivery, returns and the like. A new startup, called Smartbox attempts to address this issue.
Under the Smartbox model, your package is delivered to a pickup spot, chosen by you at the time of making the booking. After receiving the intimation of delivery at the location, you can go there at your convenience, swipe your card to pay the amount and pick up your package.
At the location, the storage ‘vault’ is a type of locker unit with about 50 compartments of various sizes. These are used for depositing the items. The customer receives an SMS giving the access code to the compartment storing his item. After the customer swipes his debit/ credit card at the PoS (point of sale) machine and the payment is cleared, the designated compartment opens automatically so that the item may be picked up.
Smartbox has started a pilot in Delhi at a dozen locations, partnering with private sector lender Yes Bank and Delhi Metro. Present locations in Delhi include 10 metro stations at GTB Nagar, Kashmere Gate, Rajiv Chowk, Laxmi Nagar, Nehru Place, Dwarka Sector 9, NOIDA Sector 18, Vaishali, M.G.Road and HUDA City Centre, which are functional from 5.30 am to 11.30 pm.
According to Amit Sawhney, Cofounder and CEO, the aim is to take the number of locations to 125 by June. The plan is to expand to about 1,000 locations across eight top cities in a year’s time. The startup is in an advanced state of negotiation with all major ecommerce players for tie-ups and will soon be announcing the partnerships.