When the movement of Sri Lanka’s citizens was restricted by lockdowns in 2020, PickMe stepped in to offer a sense of much-needed continuity for the economy. Having offered delivery of gas cylinders when the first lockdown orders were issued, PickMe has since evolved into a robust logistics solution. For many small businesses, it became an essential part of their operations. By utilizing PickMe Flash, the company’s on-demand delivery service, these businesses were able to deliver their products directly to consumers. Over the past year, the company has continued to develop its logistics arm with PickMe Flash and supporting small businesses. Now, the platform has hit the milestone of 100,000 successful PickMe Flash deliveries.
The PickMe Flash journey
Ensuring the smooth operation of a logistics application is not easy. The engineering team behind the magic has always believed in understanding the basics right – “It’s simply about moving something from Point A to Point B”, according to PickMe’s CTO Mithila Somasiri. Since its birth, PickMe has advanced tremendously with features like real-time tracking, cashless transactions, and contactless operations to build a lasting customer impression.
During the period from March to May 2020, businesses were faced with the challenge of providing their workers with the facilities to work from home. As such, small businesses and large corporates alike used PickMe Flash to deliver over 8200 packages during this period. These included business-critical items such as routers and sim cards, and also everyday packages such as books, cookies, and even pet fish!
Partnering with Sampath Bank soon after, PickMe pulled off another tremendous feat with Flash – the withdrawal of cash from ATMs and delivery to their customer’s doorstep. 800 of these transactions have been conducted using this feature on the platform, without any fraud due to the transparency provided by the app and its technology. Needless to say, PickMe Flash has been used extensively in the past few months – helping businesses run smoothly despite remote work environments. Recently, the platform completed its 100,000th delivery with one of its dedicated everyday users – Oshella Homemade Goodness.
Introduction to Oshella
Oshella Homemade Goodness is one of Colombo’s home-cook connoisseurs famous for their eclairs. Their unique selling point is homemade quality – none of their products is off the shelf. Ingredients are either bought locally or imported, giving their products that touch of homeliness. Founder of the business, Oshella De Alwis began the online store in 2015 intending to cater to Colombo’s confectionery market on a pre-order basis. Since its inception, the establishment has grown to now offer a variety of desserts, savouries, and meals. “There was a huge boost in business during the first three months of lockdown earlier this year, and we had to expand our facility from a single kitchen to an entire house”, says Pamela De Alwis, Director of Oshella.
Operating through online platforms, an efficient delivery system was crucial to Oshella. Before PickMe, the startup relied solely on its fleet of riders. This brought challenges to its pricing model, as the store had to charge the customer for delivery and have a minimum order quantity to ensure that the logistics did not pose a loss to the business. “We tried our best to make sure the riders always went on round trips to minimize the use of fuel, and hence had to delay our orders to see if any nearby ones would pop up, which was not favourable to the customer”, as per Pamela.
PickMe and Oshella – A partnership for growth
To overcome these logistical challenges, Oshella partnered with PickMe. The business now utilizes both PickMe Food and PickMe Flash. Through the Food option, Oshella’s customers within 5km of the kitchen’s location can place orders. Anyone accessing the store through the app would be able to view the menu and have items delivered without direct contact with the kitchen. For orders outside of this 5km radius, customers place their orders through direct contact via Facebook or Instagram. For these custom orders, the business uses PickMe Flash.
“Previously there were occasional slow days that demotivated the staff from time to time. However, partnering with PickMe has provided us with a regular stream of orders every day. There is never a dull moment now,” stated Pamela.
In addition to this, PickMe has helped Oshella strengthen its customer relationships through the notification of any delays and the live tracking feature. The PickMe platform ensures that there is no delay to the business waiting for a rider to arrive. The technology has been optimized so that the nearest available driver is instantly connected and directed to the kitchen as the order is placed. There is also an allocated grace period of 15 minutes for the preparation of each delivery. PickMe has understood that certain dishes cannot be completed on a clock, and will vary depending on the resources of the startup.
Moreover, using Flash, customers outside the 5km radius can also receive Oshella’s products at a very fair and nominal rate promptly. “when it comes to delivery chargers we absorb a percentage of the delivery cost as we do not want to burden the customer with the full delivery charge,” Pamela added. Furthermore, PickMe has maintained a strict policy with its drivers to ensure no tampering of deliveries takes place, especially when it comes to food. As such, Pamela admitted that out of the many orders they have delivered with Flash, they have not received a single complaint with the delivery. “This has really been a step forward for us – with PickMe Flash, we have widened our reach with benefits like cost, the safety of food, and the ability to track our deliveries,” she praises.
What can businesses expect from PickMe Flash in the future?
Pamela stated that the business would continue to use PickMe, “For home cooks like ourselves, PickMe offers us an affordable and trustworthy means of delivering food to our customers. From the pickup point to their doorsteps, our customers know the food is safe and untampered. Hence, we encourage other home cooks to also explore the platform.” Moving forward, Pamela hopes that PickMe Flash riders carry specialized bags akin to store food.
In addition to improving on these, the team at PickMe are working to bring in more features to the platform that would benefit startups such as proof of delivery, adding multiple drop-off locations, and further route optimizations to reduce delivery times. Having expanded its fleet and undertaking continuous technology development, PickMe aims to be Sri Lanka’s go-to solution for logistics within the upcoming year.