I was browsing through some e-commerce related news the other day, and I chanced upon this. It is wonderful to see one of India’s oldest organization, more than two centuries old latch on to the Indian e-commerce juggernaut. E-commerce companies are trying to reach a considerable number of customers who are still not buying online or still are not comfortable about paying online using a credit or a debit card. And the path they have embarked upon to reach out to them is “Cash on Delivery”(COD). The e-commerce players themselves believe that COD is the biggest enabler for the growth of e-commerce in India. According to this article, over 50-75% of transactions go through in cash in India. If India Post alone collects over Rs. 280 crores via Cash on Delivery, you can imagine the size of this market.
If you think about it, there is nothing new about Cash on Delivery. Cash on delivery has been around for as long as we can remember. Remember the grocery shop down your lane? He makes your life so simple and delivers the goods to your doorstep and takes the money from you. All you need to do is pick up the phone and read out your order. It works well for him because he knows you well. He can trust you; he knows you’re not going to say “No, I did not order that” or “Nah, I changed my mind” . And even if you do, he knows how to have his revenge. Ouch!
While e-commerce companies want to make it easy for their customers to order via Cash on Delivery, they face a lot of issues in the form on cancellations and bogus orders. Companies try to optimize and streamline their operations and supply chain and these cancellations cost money and are a real pain to handle. When companies do not use cash on delivery verification, the operational costs become prohibitive and as a result, some companies have grudgingly moved towards purely online payments.
Let’s say, you get 100 cash on delivery orders in a day. Out of which, say, 30 are bogus or invalid orders. Even if you have to pay Rs. 100 on an average as two way handling charges, you end up spending at least Rs. 3000 a day on invalid or bogus orders. For the sake of this calculation, let’s say, you get 30 bogus orders everyday for a year. You spend over Rs. 10,00,000/- on operational costs on just bogus orders.
Using Exotel’s Cash on Delivery verification API, even if you’re able to weed out at least 80% of the bogus orders, your losses due to such orders comes down by 80%!
Quite a few of Exotel’s customers have implemented COD verification using our simple to use APIs. Some even take it a step further and ensure that the customer is home using phone calls before sending the delivery guy on that final mile. And here is how you can do it too.
Let us assume a customer places an order online for George Orwell’s brilliant book “ Animal Farm” and the order id for this order is 1984. He also gives gives his phone number as 9901-SOME-NO.
3 easy steps to verify the user’s order:
STEP 1: Get your Exotel API key. Here is how.
STEP 2: Setup an app that will help you do the verification using the App Builder. There are 2 ways to do this verification and you can do either.
Option a. Create an automated IVR flow which requests the user to key in the Order ID. The entered keys can be passed to your CRM using the Passthru app where you can verify if the right order id is entered.
Option b. The app could read out the order saying “You placed an order for ‘Animal Farm’ by George Orwell. Press 1 to confirm the order. Press 2 in case you did not place this order.” The key pressed can be relayed to your CRM that can record the option selected and take necessary action
STEP 3: Use the Call API to initiate a call between 9901-SOME-NO and the app that you created in the previous step.
And that’s it you are all set to expand your customer base significantly while keeping your costs in check.