Adnan, an ambitious entrepreneur, has setup a Facebook store in order to sell mobile handsets and headphones – but he doesn’t have the capital resources to put in place his own delivery system.
Shaila, not wanting to get yelled at by her boss, has rushed through Dhaka’s awful traffic to get to her office on time– but, she missed out on her critical morning coffee.
Hridoy, the e-commerce manager for his company’s retail operation, has tried time and time again to find an ideal logistics partner – but his partners are inexperienced and lack the technology needed to do business at the speed and volume that the Bangladeshi consumer demands.
GObd’s Logistics Platform GO! Fetch can solve all of three’s problems. GObd’s GO! Fetch (FETCH) platform has been solving these types of problems over the past year. GObd, founded in 2014, is an organization made up of individuals who passionately believe that technology & data are the keys to creating efficiencies in logistics for Bangladesh.
Beginning of GO FETCH:
Inspired by the lack of real, data-driven logistics providers in Bangladesh and his own poor experience ordering online, GObd’s Co-Founder and CTO Swagata Prateek has led the building of FETCH as a robust operational service driven by technology. All the various technology pieces have been built from the ground up and designed to meet customer’s requirements. “We specifically incorporated active tracking and custom-designed algorithms to create a highly efficient service,” said Prateek. In many cases, FETCH business partners require small tweaks to their management dashboards. “Given that we manage our own technical team and manage every technical piece ourselves, we are able to provide a significant level of customization for our business clients,” said Tareq Aziz, Software Engineer at GObd.
“With the large expansion of both traditional E-commerce and Facebook commerce in Bangladesh, logistics has become a huge challenge for our partners. We work to ensure a high-quality customer experience, every time and consider ourselves an extension of our partner’s business,” said Farhan Rahman, Co-Founder, and COO of GObd. “For anyone who is building their e-commerce presence and requires an experienced, reliable logistics platform, FETCH is the answer.”
Challenges at the beginning:
Getting here was not that easy for FETCH. It started piloting their logistics service with the support of friends and family. “We approached friends and family who had various businesses and told them to take a chance with us – we made it work”, said Farhan. In order to pilot their consumer-facing model, Farhan proposed using a simple number and chat line on Whatsapp. “We decided that the easiest way to get people to use our service was to remove any hassle – many people in Bangladesh are already using Whatsapp and this proved to be an easy way for us to gauge the market’, added Farhan.
With the consumer model proven out, the GObd team has been working on a customer facing front-end that will allow users to order anything, on-demand. FETCH web app – which includes ordering options from restaurants, grocery stores, electronics stores, flower shops and much more. They are keeping their official launch date under wraps at the moment, but you can sign up to follow their progress at fetch.gobd.co.
The FETCH platform now includes multiple large enterprise customers and currently offers varied services (for consumers, on-demand — and for businesses) including food, time critical documents, gifts, flowers, electronics, grocery, laundry, e-commerce products and much more. They offer a better, differentiated service with ETA & Delivery times which helps improve the quality of service offered to consumers and businesses. “Our goal is to provide anything and everything, on-demand for consumers — and in support of our business partners,” stated Qasim Rana, Co-Founder and CEO of GObd. “We work across the spectrum with some of the largest e-commerce players in Bangladesh – to the small corner store on your street – and our single most important focus is customer experience. Logistics is a tough business and requires efficient spending in order to achieve scale. We are going to use the resources we have, channel our spending and really center our business at the core. Other players are still trying to figure out who they are, or, they have burned money after money with little growth to show for it,” said Qasim.
FETCH and competitors:
FETCH is not the only player in the market. There are other organizations in both the B2B and B2C space including E-Courier, Pathao, FoodPanda, HungryNaki, GoGoBangla and others. “We think the market has been primed for the services FETCH provides to businesses and consumers. I think there is room in the market for different levels of players and we plan to be on top. What makes us different is our focus on customer experience and a consistent drive to complement smart operations with sensible technology. The short answer is that consumers in Bangladesh deserve better services, and we are here to provide just that” added Qasim.
It is certainly good for local consumers who now have option to choose from multiple delivery services. While the business requires large investment to truly offer a great customer experience, we believe that the battle will be fought not on who has best resources but how well these teams deliver on their promises to customers. The marriage of technology and conventional logistic business is extremely challenging as order fulfillment process happens through multiple levels.
The trick will be the most efficient use of capital to achieve scale which is difficult to implement in an inefficient market like Bangladesh. In the Indian market multiple delivery companies have shut down operations in past one year. These companies played the valuation game and took VC money. Along with money came pressure from these investors to turn profits or to show user acquisition too fast. However logistics firms operate on wafer-thin margins and end up losing money on every delivery, according to industry experts. Hopefully, our logistics startups will learn from the mistakes made by their peer group from other markets and add real value to our local businesses. The last mile delivery solution in Bangladesh is definitely going through some interesting times without a clear winner at sight, but only time will tell if we are to have one, soon!