Shipway enables small and medium-sized e-commerce companies to easily leverage SMS notifications for orders and shipments to reduce customer inquiries. Shipway also offers order analytics to help companies optimize the delivery flow and continuously improve customer experience.
We had the pleasure of talking to Gaurav Gupta, Co-Founder of Shipway, who walked us through the role communication plays in his business and how his company outgrew their original communication solution. Here is an insightful conversation with Gaurav.
Q: What problem does Shipway solve?
Gaurav: Shipway was launched in 2015 to minimize the challenges both e-commerce companies and their customers face in terms of order and shipment tracking. Online shoppers expect clear communication about their orders and shipments. The lack of clear communication, delivered in a way that does not easily reach the end-customer, leads to high inbound call volume and low customer satisfaction. For small and medium-sized businesses, the need for an efficient solution is especially critical. We built a solution for tracking shipments handled by courier companies.
Q: What differentiates Shipway from the competition?
Gaurav: There are some other players working in this space, but. they are focused on improving package tracking on their own website, and not on the vendor’s website. Most of the Courier companies in South-east Asia do not provide tracking API’s and if they do, there is lots of effort to integrate with the system and this is repetitive process every time when they tie-up with new Courier partners. What sets us apart is that we enable our customers to embed SMS into their website or apps and offer branded notifications.
In addition, we stand out in terms of the way we combine real-time notifications with sentiment analysis to give our customers a full view of the impact of notifications on customer queries. We are not just another tracking notification service. We take a very pro-active approach to help our customers improve engagement with their end users.
Q: What does communication mean for Shipway?
Gaurav: Our goal as a business is to help our customers deliver better customer experiences, and communication is at the core that promise. Our systems rely on text messages to inform the end users about their package. A typical package crosses 4-5 hands between the e-commerce warehouse and the recipient. Shipway uses SMS notifications to keep the customer updated during each handshake.
Q: Tell us why you initially went looking for an SMS solution?
Gaurav: Historically, we used email to send orders and delivery notifications. But, email inboxes get clogged and sometimes messages get bucketed as SPAM so people often don’t get the notifications. SMS combines reach and instant access. If we can push the notification right to a person’s handset, they are more likely to see it. We went looking for an SMS gateway or SMS provider so that we did not have to deal with the complex carrier logic in-house.
Q: What advantages did you notice with an API based integration?
Gaurav: APIs are easy to consume and easy to implement. There’s no need to connect directly with carriers, learn the telecommunications rules and regulations, or manage and technical upkeep or maintenance. In addition, almost all API based communication solutions are pay-as-you-go with no upfront charges, and that made an API a lucrative option for Shipway.
Q. What were the top reasons you selected Plivo?
Gaurav: Plivo is uniquely different in its approach. The biggest differentiator for me was simplicity. This is true for both your API as well as pricing.
- The PHP SDK was a breeze to implement.
- The pricing was transparent.
I only pay for the SMS I send. Plus, we benefit from free added features like “automatic text queueing” or “recipient phone number validation”.
Good reach, competitive pricing, and reliability are table stakes for any Global SMS API provider and Plivo was no different. Where Plivo excels is in the simplicity of the platform.
Q: Are you using or did you use another SMS provider before you began using Plivo?
Gaurav: Yes, we started with a regional SMS provider in Southeast Asia, where our business is focused on. As we expanded, our local vendor could not provide the same reach at scale. This fueled the search for an alternate solution. We evaluated two to three SMS providers and eventually settled for Plivo as it checked all the right boxes - good pricing, easy implementation, great coverage, exceptional reliability, and excellent support.
Q: What business benefit have you noticed after switching to Plivo?
Gaurav: We have been getting great feedback and reviews from our customers about our product, after integrating with Plivo. We have grown our month-on-month usage by 10-15%. More customers are using SMS and we’re acquiring more customers because the demand for SMS is there. This was not specifically our strategy, but it was an outcome of having a reliable communication backbone.
Q: Finally, do you have any advice for others who are considering SMS for their businesses?
Gaurav: Absolutely! These suggestions are based on personal experience. I discovered the importance of some of these while working with my previous SMS providers. My checklist for selecting a provider:
- Global reach: Can the provider send messages globally?
- Ease of integration: How easy is it to integrate using the provider’s SMS APIs?
- Reliability: You really want a reliable SMS platform. One that delivers your messages quickly, via the highest quality routes.
- Developer resources: This is also key – you want to be able to provide your developers with quick, easy access to a range of developer documents to integrate quickly and easily.
- Responsive Support: Ensure that there’s a support team available 24/7 for when you do need any assistance.
- Transparent Pricing: Does your provider charge for services on top of SMS charges? Destination number validation and message queueing could be some of them.