The explosive growth of e-commerce and online shopping in India in the past few years is not hidden from anyone and is continuously attracting a number of new investors, businesses and services wanting to be a part of the booming business of e-shopping. Now it is the turn of Government postal network, India Post, to expand its horizons into the e-commerce market.
India Post has launched a new e-commerce retailing centre in Safdarjang area of New Delhi which will exclusively cater to ecommerce portals. The delivery centre is reported to be equipped to handle 30000 packages per day.
A prepared statement said,
This processing centre will handle exclusively all the e-commerce business with the state-of-the-art technology for quick and smooth operation starting from booking till dispatch.
The centre was launched by Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad who also unveiled an android app, developed by Centre for Excellence in Postal Technology (CEPT) with multiple functions for tracking goods, post office search, postage calculator, insurance premium calculator and finding interest rates. Speaking about the new Government initiatives, he said,
India Post is best equipped to lead government efforts to accelerate pace of economic growth in rural India. It has to be the lead-partner in the private sector’s keenness to reach rural India.
The new centre would handle the parcels of e-commerce companies like Flipkart, Snapdeal, Amazon, Yepme, etc which are already using India Posts services to reach their customers in Tier-2 and Tier-3 towns and rural areas (4 out of 10 online orders are from rural areas).
This is due to the vast network of India Post which boasts of 4.6 lakh employees and 1.5 lakh post offices among which 1.39 lakh are in rural areas and 80% in Tier-2 and Tier-3 towns.
In fact, according to an ET report, Ravi Shankar Prasad recently posted on his Facebook account,
I am happy to share with you that India Post collected Rs 500 Crores from Cash on Delivery of ecommerce parcels alone in 2014-15.
Just The Beginning
Besides helping the ecommerce portals to reach their customers, India Post has much bigger plans for ecommerce business in India. Backed up by a massive 5000 crore initiative and another 2000 crore for buying new, faster vehicles for speedy delivery industry, India Post had already spoken in February this year about its plans of own ecommerce portal very soon.
Even, Ravi Shankar Prasad asserted,
I want that in e-commerce, India Post should become the largest player. Growth in the e-commerce business has put India Post in a very advantageous position, and in the backdrop of golden past, there is no reason why it should not take lead position in this sector.
Due to the massive infrastructure and the vast network of India Post, its E-Commerce portal has the potential to beat all existing online market places in India. Moreover being the oldest postal network (it was launched on April 1, 1774), India Post is well known to people, even in rural areas and thus stands in an advantageous position especially in terms of trust and confidence of people.
This particular fact was reiterated quite brilliantly by Ravi Shankar Prasad when he was speaking at the launch
People of the country still trust the postal department. I want to tell you a very sensitive thing… there is so much of Maoist violence, but still, the attacks on post is low because they (Maoists) also know that if they try to attack it, the people will be unhappy with them.
The India Post portal may be in just a planning stage for now but the scope and potential it possesses, has certainly ringed an alarming bell to the e-commerce giants in India.