April 19, 2024

Top 10 Cash on Delivery (COD) Courier Services in India for eCommerce [2023 Edition]

Cash on delivery (COD) is a popular payment method in India's eCommerce sector, particularly in Tier 2 and 3 cities where it accounts for 90% of purchases. To help eCommerce businesses manage the risks associated with COD, this blog compares the best COD courier partners in India.

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The eCommerce sector in India is booming and is exhibiting a CAGR of 16.74%, resulting in a projected market volume of US$191.40 bn 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.

List of top 10 COD - Cash on delivery courier services in India

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. 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.

1. Blue Dart Cash on Delivery (COD) Service

One of India's most popular courier services, Blue Dart is the most reputed player in e-commerce logistics. 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. Blue Dart lacks an intuitive dashboard, which requires partnering with a shipping platform like Swift to manage orders, shipments, NDRs, and analytics in a single dashboard.

2. Delhivery Cash on Delivery (COD) Service

Delhivery was founded in 2011 and has over 85 fulfillment centres, 24 automated sort centres, 70 hubs, 7,500+ partner centres, and 3,000+ direct delivery centres 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.

3. Swift Cash on Delivery (COD) Service

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. Swift has processed over 10 million shipments and has served 10,000+ businesses. Swift solves major logistics problems through cutting-edge technology and a powerful dashboard. With creating your first shipment in less than 5 minutes, Swift 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.

4. DTDC Cash on Delivery (COD) Service

DTDC is India's top courier partner, having coverage of 17,500+ pin codes, 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.  

5. XpressBees Cash on Delivery (COD) Service

Having 100 distribution centres 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 start-ups and D2C players.

6. India Post Cash on Delivery (COD) Service

India Post, the oldest courier service in India, was established in 1854 and has since grown to become one of the largest postal networks in the world. With its extensive reach and reliable services, India Post has been able to cater to the diverse needs of its customers across the country. In recent years, India Post has recognized the growing demand for Cash on Delivery (COD) services in the eCommerce industry.

To cater to this demand, India Post has introduced COD services for packages with a value of up to Rs.50,000. The COD fee for India Post is 1.6% of the COD value, and if the value is less than Rs.6,500, the charges are a flat fee of Rs.100. It is important to note that the product's value should not exceed Rs.50,000 to be eligible for India Post's COD services.

7. Ekart Cash on Delivery (COD) Service

EKart 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.

8. Gati Cash on Delivery (COD) Service

With broad coverage of 21000+ pin codes, Gati is one of the oldest logistics partners in India. 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. Gati Connect is a specialized logistics service that enables eCommerce sellers to collect payments from their customers while delivering the orders directly to their doorstep. This service is designed to simplify the process of COD transactions and eliminate any logistical challenges associated with it.

9. Ecom Express Cash on Delivery (COD) 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.

10. First Flight Cash on Delivery (COD) Service

First Flight Courier Services has around 1200 offices around India to address the Cash on Delivery market. They have a unique offering called 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.

Factors to Consider while choosing Cash On Delivery Courier Partner

Selecting the right Cash On Delivery (COD) courier partner is crucial to ensure a smooth and efficient delivery process for your eCommerce business. Here are some key factors to consider:

1. COD Serviceability

With the increasing popularity of eCommerce shopping in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities, it is important to choose a COD courier partner with a wide serviceability to cater to the demands of these markets. However, it is important to note that courier partners may not provide accurate serviceability across all parts of the country. Therefore, selecting a courier partner with a vast network that offers the highest coverage, even in the most remote areas, is essential to ensure a seamless delivery experience for your customers.

Blue Dart, Delhivery, and Swift stand out as COD service providers offering extensive coverage across COD pincode. If sellers aim to reach a majority of pincodes, prioritizing these providers could be beneficial.

2. Pricing and Affordability

Pricing is a critical factor to consider when selecting a COD courier partner. The rates of courier partners are subject to change, making it challenging to identify the most cost-effective option for a specific route. As the margins of your business significantly impact its future, it is crucial to evaluate the pricing of all available courier partners before committing to a long-term agreement with any one of them. Therefore, it is recommended to regularly review the pricing of your COD courier partners and make necessary adjustments to ensure maximum profitability and customer satisfaction.

In terms of pricing, it's undeniable that Delhivery and DTDC offer highly competitive rates. Although, Swift enables sellers to access the couriers with lowest TAT such as Blue Dart and Smartr, all at the same rates as their counterparts.

3. Delivery Speed

Delivery speed is a crucial factor that can significantly impact the success of an eCommerce business. In today's fast-paced world, customers expect their orders to be delivered as quickly as possible. Delayed or slow deliveries can lead to dissatisfaction, negative reviews, and even loss of customers. Therefore, ensuring a fast and reliable delivery service can enhance customer satisfaction, build brand loyalty, and generate repeat business.

The delivery speed's effectiveness relies on both the nature of the goods and the proficiency of the courier partner in a given region. Nevertheless, Blue Dart consistently exhibits exceptional performance in terms of delivery speed.

4. COD Order verification

As the number of Cash on Delivery orders increases, the likelihood of Return to Origin also increases. However, businesses can reduce the risk of RTO by implementing COD order verification tools. These tools allow businesses to double-confirm the order with the customer before shipping it, reducing the chances of incorrect or incomplete delivery. This verification process can help identify and correct errors in the customer's details, such as address or contact information, before the shipment is dispatched. Additionally, the COD order verification tool also enables customers to update or change their contact details if necessary, ensuring smooth and hassle-free delivery.

Even though this one of the most important feature to tackle RTOs still sellers won’t get these capabilities in most of the courier providers. Swift empowers sellers with COD order verification and other advanced communication tools to reduce RTO by upto 40%.

5. Early COD Remittance

Typically, courier services require around 12 to 14 days to transfer the COD amount after delivering the order. However, shipping aggregators offer features such as Early COD that can provide sellers with the COD amount within 2 to 3 days of delivery. This enables sellers to maintain a steady cash flow, allowing them to efficiently plan and procure their inventory. By receiving the COD amount early, sellers can avoid the need for loans or credit lines.

Courier providers don’t provide early COD remittance to the sellers which negatively effects the cash flow and inventory management. With Swiftsellers can get their COD remittance in as low as 2 days based on their preference.

6. Unified Shipping Dashboard

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.

Swift equips sellers with an advanced, real-time, and comprehensive dashboard. This empowers them to efficiently manage, track, and implement necessary measures to enhance the success rate of deliveries.

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.

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