A tale of Ulmart...
?Ulmart has decided to go back to good old fashioned post sales. We seriously doubt that customers will be eager to avail themselves of this method of ordering, but — whatever floats their U-boat.
A bunch of issues came up straight away.
Working solely with Russian Post, a state-run shipping company, would be an acceptable option if the state and the country were something else; as it is, this Soviet dinosaur is infamous for its quality of disservice.
And sticking with only one commercial delivery firm is a commitment to limitations: they may not deliver parcels to some places at all, or they may reject some kinds of cargo, lack certain services, charge too much for others and so on.
In short, for the potential customer to have a half-decent range of options for coverage, quality and price, Ulmart had to hook up with a bunch of companies.
Each one had its own terms, problems, pick up points, software interfaces for integrating customers" ordering systems (if at all), cost calculations etc.
Very messy and dubiously profitable, especially with the post sales concept itself being what it is.
Ulmart’s dedication to selling by post would have been abortive, had they not discovered the services of Aplix.ru — an integrator of various delivery services. This company is a middleman connecting online stores, the shippers, with the likes of DHL, Pony Express, EMS, Russian Post, DPD and others.
The company provides an API for calculating delivery price directly on the store’s website, which automatically tallies up cost for the operator of choice and the cargo’s weight and dimensions.
Then Aplix takes orders from Ulmart’s warehouse, packages and labels parcels to the standards of the selected delivery company, brings them to that company’s warehouse and works with it to sort out delivery issues as the tracked package moves to the destination. Nice!
So bow Ulmart gets a few percent of its turnaround from post sales — which is not so much by Ulmart’s measure, but very easily done thanks to the guys at Aplix.