Shaheen, is standing in front of a screen at the warehouse of eCourier, a goods delivery company.
He has just received an order which has showed up on his screen. He checks his tab to see whether they have the good in stock. He locates it on one of their shelves. An assistant picks it up from the shelf and they check the good for quality.
The warehouse is full of shelves standing in rows, filled with loaded plastic baskets. The place is further divided into different sections based on the goods.
Shaheen then sends the good for packaging to the fulfilment section where it is checked for quality again and finally sent off to the customer.
Every day he receives around five hundred orders from merchants across the country.
This is how eCourier, which started its journey in 2013, has modernised its goods delivery system. Since its beginning, the company has laid emphasis on the use of technology, brought many changes and upgraded its services. The company has four thousand drop off points for its rural customers and a chatbot called Natai for customers.
"We have 95 percent positive response from the merchants and clients. Still, we are trying to improve. Enhancing customer experience, providing top-notch service and rationalising costs are our priorities", said Biplob Ghosh Rahul, chief executive officer of eCourier Limited.
The company has 10 offices with more than 350 employees who are working for 24/7. With 50 channel partners, it is delivering products to more than 25,000 companies and individuals. It processes around 9,000 orders and delivers approximately 8,000 of those per day.
To make the delivery process smooth, it has three warehouses and is planning to launch three more across Bangladesh. It is offering warehouse service for storing goods and packaging to merchants so that goods can be delivered easily and within the shortest possible time.
Before launching these warehouses, the number of merchants was higher in Dhaka and Chattogram. Now, orders are coming from merchants all over the country.
"The company is also planning to introduce a combined aggregation process – where eCourier will directly collect goods from the producer and deliver to merchants. This will reduce duplication of resources as at present different producers use their individual or separate services to deliver products to merchants," said Biplob.
To increase the number of customers, eCourier has come up with many ideas, including introducing drop off points. The most popular shop of a village neighbourhood is used as a drop off point. In that local shop, eCourier's merchant products can be ordered and received.
"We are aware of the fact that villagers are not used to e-shopping so we and our merchants are missing out on a big number of customers," he added.
At these drop off points, cash on delivery service is available the first time. But once the customer agrees to buy the next time, they have to pay in advance. Currently, eCourier has four thousand drop off points and is planning to launch six thousand more by the next year.
Many of eCourier's ideas and products have failed in the past. They have however learned through trial and error. It took them three years to get merchants habituated to the service they provide, says Biplob.
"We cannot compare ourselves with developed countries and complain. Abroad, their customers have welcomed e-shopping long ago and we are just embracing it. So we would need time. For the last five years, we are focusing on our merchant growth. Once they grow, our growth will happen automatically," stated Biplob.
To promote merchants, it has launched a chatbot named Natai for its clients, even amid this pandemic. Here, customers can get all the options – from ordering, to payment gateway to delivery.
And to provide safe service, online registration of merchants is mandatory as all data is saved digitally and within a few days the information is verified. eCourier also saves the buyer's history on their website.
In Bangladesh, eCourier was the first to introduce One Time Password (OTP) and Electronic Proof of Delivery (EPOD) system. Later, other courier services started using this to make their service customer-friendly.
However, problems arise and customers complain. When a merchant complains to eCourier, the administration team starts solving it within fifteen minutes.
A merchant of eCourier, Nusrat Akter Lopa, owner of Hur Nusrat, shared her experience.
"I have kept working with them for two years because of their transparency, prompt service and regular communication. This is the only courier service where I can directly contact with the CEO, if the situation demands," she said.
As most of the problems are related to delivery boys, eCourier keeps arranging training sessions to educate them about behaviour and responsibilities.
"We have also tried to create a partnership with ride-sharing apps so that we can fill the scarcity of delivery boys and our freelance workers can earn more. But due to some problems, we could not make that work," shared Biplob.
In Bangladesh, many courier services are coming into operation without preparation, sound knowledge and doing business in the analogue process, instead of embracing the technology, said Biplob.