Revolutionise COD Verification With Virtual Numbers

December 3, 2019

The recent decade has seen a boom in the e-commerce and internet shopping. This is especially true for  India and other developing economies. One of the reasons for the spike in growth in these regions can be attributed to the penetration of internet and smartphones.. India is also a very young nation with  more than 65% of people are below the age of 35 and about 50% below the age of 25. This means a large number of people are at their prime earning years. All these factors have led to the boom of ecommerce.. 

In India, COD is the lifeline of any e-commerce business. This is the reason behind all major e-commerce platforms supporting it.  

What is cash on delivery with regard to online shopping? 

Cash on delivery is a mode of payment wherein a customer is allowed to pay for the item upon delivery instead of paying upfront via an online transaction. Cash on delivery is a great enabler for the e-commerce industry. Data shows that more than 50% of all e-commerce transactions are made via cash on delivery. The concept has been revolutionary. 

While it’s a boon for customers, it’s a major struggle for any e-commerce business.   The biggest problems being operational losses due to high return rates, handling high amounts by the delivery personnel, and large number of bogus orders. Hence, reducing COD failure has become the top priority for any e-commerce companies.

Exotel came up with a solution to this problem – COD verification through automated calls and SMSes via virtual numbers. Using Exotel’s virtual numbers, you can ensure the legitimacy of your COD orders before shipping them out by a simple verification call or SMS.

What is a virtual number?

A virtual phone number, also known as a DID number has no physical line associated with it. It is basically a phone number on the cloud. All the calls routed through virtual numbers can be tracked and analysed. A popular way businesses use virtual phone numbers is to connect customer calls to the right agents based on on the IVR response.

How virtual numbers can be used to verify COD orders

Cash on delivery orders are always a gamble. The customer may sometimes simply refuse to receive the order at the time of  delivery. This greatly increases the return to origin or RTO costs. A simple way to solve this is by using virtual numbers. 

Here are steps to verify COD orders using virtual phone numbers: 

  • A customer places an order on your website – Order is placed
  • An automated call or SMS with an OTP is triggered via a virtual number as soon as the COD order is placed to verify the customer number and order. – OTP is sent to customer via a virtual number
  • Customer confirms the OTP on your order page – 
  • The COD order is now verified and placed. –

4 different ways in which COD verification can be done 

1. OTP via SMS

When a customer places a COD order, this information is passed on to Exotel and an SMS is triggered containing the OTP.

2. OTP via voice call

As soon  a COD order is placed, Exotel triggers a voice call via a virtual number bearing the OTP to the customer’s phone number. The customer is asked to enter theOTP on the  order page. Once the OTP is entered, the order is confirmed. 

3. Automated IVR call

After the customer has placed a COD order, an automated call is triggered via a virtual number, and an IVR is played. The IVR call will say something as simple as “Hi, you just placed an order with xyz. Press 1 to confirm and 2 to cancel.” Depending on the customer’s choice, the order is either confirmed or cancelled. 

4. Missed call via an SMS 

Once the COD order is placed, the customer is sent an SMS asking to give a missed call on a number to confirm the order.


Using virtual numbers to verify your COD orders not only reduces operational losses for your company, but also enhances customer experience. Customers can easily  confirm, decline, or reschedule an order. This method has proven to be an important distinguisher in the logistics/ 3PL and e-commerce space.

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COD verification

Cutting operational losses with COD verification

Cash on delivery is an innovation that has enabled many businesses to reach every big and small corner of the country alike. This white paper helps understand the ways in which COD is a boon to various segments.

Varun Uday
Written By

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