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Homegrown ecommerce champions thrive with Grasshoppers

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Emerging entrepreneurs hail Grasshoppers as their ‘turning point’ in business as the logistics groundbreaker strengthens its focus on empowering new e-commerce brands and businesses with Sri Lanka’s most reliable last-mile delivery services

Sri Lanka’s online retail sector has seen unprecedented growth in the last three years. It is projected to hit $ 400 million by 2022, with the current annual domestic e-commerce sales value being an estimated $ 40 million (Rs. 6.4 billion). The influence this potent sector can have in Sri Lanka’s GDP is undeniable. One of the most essential steps in stimulating the e-commerce sector is encouraging entrepreneurship and setting up the necessary infrastructure to allow emerging brands and businesses to grow. 

For the last few years, Sri Lanka’s online retail leader Kapruka has been taking serious interest in growing the e-commerce sector identifying the gaps and challenges that young entrepreneurs face in Sri Lanka; Kapruka’s very own last-mile delivery logistics provider ‘Grasshoppers’ was introduced to the market precisely to overcome these challenges by giving access to a reliable service that will serve as a trusted partner for young businesses. 

Over the last two years, Grasshoppers has done exceptionally well, gathering a growing network of homegrown e-commerce champions who have successfully used their delivery services to build customer engagement, islandwide scalability and brand trust. 

Inshaf Faiz, founder of Fashion Factory and Marudeals.lk is one entrepreneur who had his entire business transformed with Grasshoppers. At the beginning, while Inshaf was already struggling to figure out his operations and advertising part time, while working full time as in IT, he also had to struggle with delivery.

“I had to coordinate for about a week to get one order across. Even after that my previous courier services couldn’t deliver on time, or even return the delivery cash to me. I thought I’ll have to give up my dream. This is when I found Grasshoppers. I knew I could trust them because they were powered by Kapruka. And they really were unbelievable. Grasshoppers is not just on time for deliveries, transparent, return my fee on time, but they are always ready to talk to me. I was able to quit my old job, and make my dream full time. Grasshoppers was my turning point, now I’m scaling up, going islandwide,” he said. 

Thilini Hansika, founder and managing director of Chèrie Lueur – an online store operating through Instagram for 925 Sterling Silver handcrafted jewellery, custom pieces and locally manufactured women’s footwear – is another entrepreneur working with Grasshoppers. “I used to work with 2-3 courier companies, but they always disappointed us. At Chèrie Lueur we take customer service very seriously because without our family of customers we wouldn’t be where we are today. I got onboard with Grasshoppers and as a brand we really grew with them. It was a turning point for Chèrie Lueur,” she said. 

For Hashani de Silva, Grasshoppers was a lifesaver as she balanced motherhood and domestic life while designing her own footwear brand and handling its retail. As the sole proprietor of GABRIELLA – an online platform that purely focuses on locally designed and manufactured women’s footwear, Hashani found that working with Grasshoppers gave her more free time to focus on what really matters. “I’m a wife, mother and an entrepreneur at the same time. The biggest challenge that I face is time management; Grasshoppers have helped me so much by completely taking care of all deliveries, taking total responsibility of delivering the package to the customer safely, and the collection of cash on delivery. I can proudly say that my business has grown along with them for over the past years,” she added. 

The success of Grasshoppers is also due to its clever automation of the ordering and delivery processes. This excellent use of technology has not only made it easier for Grasshoppers to simultaneously manage the delivery of many brands, but has also made it convenient and reliable for entrepreneurs to place deliveries in the system, track them and manage their incomes. Mitali Perera – founder of the online personalised gifts’ store Flutterby ink – said that thanks to Grasshoppers, small business like hers can reach a wider customer base not just in Colombo, but islandwide. 

“Grasshoppers makes the process easier because of their online system where everything is automated and accounted for, such as the tracking system from when the packages have been handed over to when it’s delivered to the customer.” She added that this system and the way that Grasshoppers handles its clients while maintaining close interactions with them, is what really sets the company apart from the rest. From a more macro lens, Grasshoppers is really influencing Sri Lanka’s e-commerce sector by giving local entrepreneurs a reliable system that they can bank on. Thilini Hansika, founder and managing director of Chèrie Lueur said that for entrepreneurs like herself having a company like Grasshoppers on their side really allows the freedom and the mental space to fully engage in your business. 

“You can trust Grasshoppers with your products and that it will be delivered on time. Their team’s availability to solve issues is truly outstanding. So your mind is free to build your brand, knowing that you are in good hands,” she said. 

Grasshoppers has announced that it will be opening out its services to a broader network of local e-commerce entrepreneurs through 2019, widening its circle of trust. With the capacity to handle multiple deliveries around the clock, throughout the island, what Grasshoppers offers local entrepreneurs is the essential infrastructure to scale and grow their online businesses.

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