Challenges in notifying customers of delivery schedules via SMS have been solved through the use of third-party cloud-based messaging.

E-commerce consumers in Indonesia and Malaysia must have at least once in a while encountered difficulties in last-mile collection of their purchases. Courier delivery services may sometimes arrive at a delivery point unannounced or encounter challenges in meeting their delivery schedule, thereby irking anxious customers.

Lockdown restrictions meant that shippers were operating on shorter hours and deliveries took longer. In Indonesia, SMS communications were sometimes unreliable, leading to miscommunication or non-communication in delivery and/or collection transactions.

For customers of Lazada, Zalora, Herbalife, Blibli, Coca-Cola, Indofood, Pos Malaysia, Ninja Express, GDEx and many more e-commerce and courier services, one possible solution is the use of parcel lockers for contactless delivery and collection. Indonesia’s first smart locker operator, PopBox Asia, already manages an average of close to 100,000 monthly deliveries to its smart lockers, which are found in over 350 locations across Indonesia and Malaysia.

API linkage to WhatsApp

This convenient service will soon be enhanced even further with the adoption of digitalized customer communications. By using the WhatsApp Business solution, PopBox can notify customers of package deliveries to the lockers. If the message delivery is unsuccessful via this channel, the firm can resend the message through alternative channels such as SMS.

The company’s transition from SMS to WhatsApp notifications was crucial as it worked to meet the increased demand in parcel deliveries during the pandemic. Said Greta Bunawan, COO, PopBox Asia: “We are seeing a rise in parcel deliveries especially during the pandemic. This has accelerated the need for us to better connect and communicate with our customers through fast and reliable means. The unreliable delivery rate of SMS messages in Indonesia posed a challenge for us.”

Now, with the use of application programming interfaces from digitalization vendor Vonage to link to its communications to WhatsApp Business, the parcel locker service provider has been able overcome communications barriers and improve service reliability. “Since migrating to WhatsApp, we have seen a message delivery success rate of over 86%. To-date we have served hundreds of thousands of users through WhatsApp Business, helping us reduce escalating SMS costs, lowering the number of contact center interactions and ultimately, improving customer service quality. With this successful implementation, we are confident of rolling out WhatsApp notifications for users in Malaysia as well.”

Said Sunny Rao, Vonage’s Senior Vice President: “We understand the challenges faced by businesses in our region to seamlessly communicate with their customers. Vonage has been able to help PopBox Asia create a richer, more engaging customer experience through simple, reliable multi-channel messaging, while meeting the increased demand in parcel deliveries amidst the pandemic.”