Online merchants in India struggle with underdeveloped logistics infrastructure in the country.
Indian startup QikPod is looking to assist by building a network of smart lockers, where shoppers can collect packages in the cities.
Obtaining US$9 million in funding from companies such as Accel, Flipkart (one of India’s largest e-commerce sites), local logistics company Delhivery, and Foxconn Mobile (who will be building the lockers), QikPod is preparing to launch its pilot programs in January next year.
The smart lockers will be made available to e-commerce companies, where they will be charged a per-use fee for each locker, which is managed through an open platform and API.
Once a package has been placed in a locker, the customer will be notified via SMS to collect their purchase. The customer will have 24 hours to collect their delivery from the locker, using a unique code provided in the notification SMS.
The use of smart lockers was also trialled in the US by Amazon and Wal-mart, however customers there preferred deliveries to be sent to their doorstep.
“I believe over time, parcel locker networks will help handle nearly a third to half of the parcels shipped across India’s metros,” said QikPod founder Ravi Gururaj in a statement.
“Our plan is to build the world’s largest parcel locker network with over 50,000 lockers across all major metro cities in India.
“I hope you will see QikPods deployed in every apartment building, office park, many popular retail outlets and public transit locations in the not too distant future.”