The Indian eCommerce Space
The eCommerce sector in India is booming and is exhibiting a CAGR of 16.74%, resulting in a projected market volume of US$191.40bn by 2027.
A key reason behind this growth is that Indian brands have unlocked Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities as their audiences. These audiences are new to the eCommerce paradigm and are still testing the waters. Surprisingly, Tier 2 has 90% of their purchases through Cash on Delivery and Tier 1 around 70%; Metro cities have a 50-50% split on Prepaid and COD. With an aim to unlock 1 billion Indian customers by 2027 and the Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) soaring to Rs.10,000/user, tremendous growth is projected in the Indian eCommerce space.
Given the growing preference for Cash on Delivery transactions, it is no surprise that many courier companies have started offering COD services in India. With Cash on Delivery being one of the most preferred payments, we have curated a list of the Best Cash on Delivery (COD) Courier Partners in India, the advantages of partnerships and a framework to choose the most suitable COD partner.
Cash on Delivery, A two-edged sword ⚔️
COD is treated as the most convenient and safest mode of payment by customers; however, it carries several risks and difficulties for sellers. If the COD order attains Return to origin (RTO) status, the seller has to bear forward and reverse shipment charges, leading to a loss on the particular order. Thus, businesses need reliable Cash on Delivery courier partners to minimize risk and losses and attempt to incentivize prepaid payments at the time of Checkout.
First Flight Cash on Delivery Services
First Flight Courier Services has around 1200 offices around India to address the Cash on Delivery market. They have a unique offering called To-Pay & Party COD. With To-Pay, First Flight collects the fees from the consignee instead of the shipper, and with Party COD, the shipper lets First Flight collect the value of the product directly during delivery from the customer. Both To-Pay and Party can be clubbed to run an eCommerce business smoothly.
Gati COD Courier Service
With a broad coverage of 17000+ pincodes, Gati is India's one of the oldest logistics partner. To address the growing demand for COD, Gati has introduced Gati Connect, which enables eCommerce sellers to collect payments from the customer while delivering the order to their doorstep.
India Post COD Courier Service
India's oldest courier service, India Post ventured out in 1854. With the widest distribution network, India Post has pivoted to Cash on Delivery services for new-age India. India Post offers COD services for packages less than Rs.50,000 with a COD fee of 1.6% of the COD value. If the value is less than Rs.6,500, the charges are Rs.100. One has to ensure the product's value is at most Rs.50,000.
DTDC Cash on Delivery Service
DTDC is India's top courier partner, having coverage of 17,500+ pincodes, and 75% of its customer base consists of significant eCommerce businesses. DTDC provides warehousing and Cash on Delivery services alongside other easy and flexible payment options for customers using DTDC's VAS. DTDC's Tracking API provides accurate tracking updates for multiple orders. With same-day and next-day delivery options and easily managed (Non-Delivery Report) NDRs, DTDC is quite preferred amongst eCommerce Sellers.
Ecom Express COD Courier Service
A leading express logistics service provider in India, Ecom Express offers Cash on Delivery services to major online retailers. Ecom Express uses technology to generate automated logistics solutions from first-mile pickup to last-mile delivery. Ecom Express operates in 29 states and over 2650+ towns across 20,000+ PIN codes in India.
Ecom Express offers robust systems, automated processes, and 2-day COD remittance. Ecom Express has vast experience handling and processing cash-on-delivery payments, so it is the preferred partner of many small and large online sellers. This reflects the fact that more than 70% of all shipments handled by Ecom Express are Cash on Delivery.
XpressBees COD Management
Having 100 distribution centers and 2800 offices across India, XpressBees provides climate-controlled shipping services for temperature-sensitive and decayable products. With flexible payment options like Cash on Delivery and Digital Wallets, XpressBees is quite famous with startups and D2C players.
Delhivery Cash on Delivery Service
Delhivery was founded in 2011 and has over 85 fulfillment centers, 24 automated sort centers, 70 hubs, 7,500+ partner centers, and 3,000+ direct delivery centers as of 2021. Also, serving in 2300 cities and 17500 Pin Codes, Delhivery is known for speed, reliability, and flexibility. To handle Cash on Delivery shipments and COD queries, Delhivery has a dedicated staff and processes to reduce the risk of lost shipments.
Blue Dart Cash on Delivery Courier Partner
One of India's most popular courier services, Blue Dart is the starkid in the e-commerce logistics space. The company offers Cash on Delivery services, and the shipment's weight determines the rates. Using the Blue Dart API, you can create and process a shipment. BlueDart lacks an intuitive dashboard, which requires partnering with a shipping platform like Swift to manage orders, shipments, NDRs and analytics in a single dashboard.
Ekart COD Courier Partner
E-Kart is a leading logistics partner run by Instakart and owned by Flipkart. They carry out approximately 1.5 million monthly shipments to nearly 4,000 pin codes across the country. The Ekart Logistics API offers both single-day and same-day delivery for certain locations. They have a decade of experience handling Cash on Delivery orders and aiding eCommerce businesses in COD reconciliation.
Swift Cash on Delivery Partner
Swift is an online shipping aggregator platform that helps to choose the best courier partner according to various parameters like pincode serviceability, pricing, ease of access and account management team.
GoSwift has processed over 10 million shipments and has served 10,000+ brands. Swift solves major logistics problems through cutting-edge technology and a powerful dashboard. With creating your first shipment in less than 5 minutes, GoSwift has major differentiators like AI Smart Courier Selection, COD Verification and Unified OMS to simplify the eCommerce shipping process. Sellers can select the best Cash on Delivery partner for a specific route on the Swift Order Management System.
Features to consider while selecting a Cash On Delivery Courier Partner
As Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities are indulging in eCommerce shopping, it becomes a no-brainer to select a courier partner with wide serviceability. However, courier partners will only serve some parts of the country with the utmost accuracy. A vast network ensures the highest coverage even in the remotest part of the country. Rather than humans making this tedious choice, AI-Smart Courier Selection helps sellers to select the best courier partner on a given route.
Pricing and Affordability
With the ever-changing rates of courier partners, it's not easy to find the most affordable courier partner on for a specific route. Pricing becomes an essential part at scale, as the margins of your business will decide its fate and future. It's recommended to check the rates of all courier partners before having a long-term agreement with any dedicated courier partner.
Millennials and Gen Z customers got no chill! Online shoppers have experienced same-day and next-day delivery and are not settling for anything less. With Cash on Delivery orders leading to RTO, it takes an average of 3-5 days to deliver a product, 2-3 days for the reverse shipment to reach back, and 5-7 days from the disbursement date for the refund to reflect in a customer’s bank account. That's a total of 9-11 days.
While speed is an important factor when choosing a courier partner, checking their performance and RTO scores in different zones is also essential.
Post covid, sellers are executing an omnichannel strategy, and without a robust dashboard to manage all shipments and orders in one single dashboard, it's impossible to manage day-to-day operations. To process COD orders efficiently, sellers require to verify consumers' addresses and manage COD reconciliations and settlements. Swift's unified OMS eliminates the need to keep an external agency or operations team to manage the daily hassles of eCommerce logistics.
RTO and COD verification
With growing COD orders, Return to Origin (RTO) increases proportionally. It's a mandate to check if the courier partner can provide timely NDRs, flag RTO risks on an order level and has an added layer of security to verify COD orders. Sometimes double confirming with the consumer can reduce the RTO risk by upto 70%.
As the eCommerce sector in India continues to grow, so does the demand for reliable and affordable Cash on Delivery courier partners. With ever-changing variables in the courier arena, performance on different routes keeps changing. It's always best to choose a partner that allows you to partner with various courier service providers and has added layer of features and security. Happy Shipping 📦