Shadowfax started on April 21, 2015 with a simple goal. We set out to create an on-demand infrastructure for local sellers in India. We are committed to leverage this infrastructure to help sellers deliver instantly to their customers.
Scaling logistics is the biggest pain that Shadowfax can relieve for small and large online retailers alike. 3 years in, Shadowfax has created a network of 7,000+ active delivery partners across 100 cities. Businesses can plug in to this platform with the help of a simple API and get started in minutes.
Behind the scenes..
Delivery partners are the most important part of Shadowfax’s business. Our delivery partners wake up everyday and choose to complete almost a lakh deliveries on a daily basis. This is what makes Shadowfax tick…. well, gallop, actually!
So on the occasion of our 3rd anniversary, we decided to do a little something for them. We are formally announcing a new definition and experience for our delivery partners.
Everyone making deliveries for Shadowfax is considered a delivery partner.
Shadowfax started out as a biker-only platform. It made sense to use the term riders for delivery partners.
Over the next couple of years, the delivery network expanded. We added light commercial vehicles for intra-city transport. We partnered with airlines to successfully make next-day deliveries across cities. Our delivery network even includes heavy commercial vehicles for surface transport. The term ‘riders’ doesn’t make sense any more.
Besides, we intend to build a consistent experience for all our delivery partners. Recognising them all as delivery partners goes a long way in making that happen.
We’ll share the experience that we intend to offer our delivery partners. But before we do, it helps to discuss the larger evolution of the on-demand industry.
The On-Demand Journey
Once upon a time, it was up to the retailer to figure out deliveries. Any business that offered home deliveries in this era, typically employed a delivery person to do the job. The work involved ‘fixed’ work hours in lieu of a ‘fixed’ monthly wage. There was no incentive to do more or faster deliveries. Let’s call this as the first phase of local deliveries.
Then, came along the on-demand marketplace model. Across industries, the model thrived by increasing utilisation of unused assets. These assets could be taxis, hotel rooms or even college kids with free time at hand.
And boy, it works like a charm! We have enjoyed every bit of the last 3 years, building out this infrastructure at Shadowfax. We created value by increasing utilisation of the fleet of delivery vehicles that were already on the door.
The diversity of our network put us in a unique vantage position. We noticed that delivery partner are losing a lot of time during non-peak hours in any given category. We decided to do something about it and suggested our delivery partners to pick deliveries across categories.
A delivery partner would do an e-commerce delivery, food delivery and grocery delivery on the same day. Now, it may not seem that big a difference to you, but read what Gajendra has to say about it.
“I have been working with the food business vertical at Shadowfax in Whitefield, Bengaluru. I have been active on the network for the last 2 years and deliver food for brands like Domino’s, McDonald’s and Pizza Hut. I was recently given a chance to meet a few other delivery partners in the grocery vertical. I was intrigued by the kind of deliveries they made. Besides, I could actually use my time from non-peak hours to make grocery deliveries and make more money. More importantly, the ability to work across verticals gives me a better avenues to see where I fit best. I am grateful to Shadowfax for helping me become an adept delivery professional.”
The new delivery partner experience means that our delivery partners have more freedom. They can decide the kind of orders they want to fulfill. They can decide the vehicles they want to drive. They can even move cities without worrying about job prospects since Shadowfax can always make them money. The new program will roll out over the next few weeks. There is nothing that makes us happier than to offer our gratitude to the people who are responsible for Shadowfax’s success — our delivery partners.
Here’s to the next 3 years of moving products more efficiently through tough indian roads, cheers!