Ashish Punj, CEO, and Co-founder of pikkop tells us how they supports customers with small businesses.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Ashish Punj: We are all fine with the blessings of the almighty; thanks, Kossi. I have looked you up on LinkedIn and hope you and your loved ones are safe and joyful in these testing times too.
How does pikkop innovate?
Ashish Punj: My one-word answer is Empathy, but to elaborate on it a bit. We will be completing our 4th year of operations in Mexico. From experiencing the devastating earthquake of 2017, which brought the whole city on its knees to worldwide of the pandemic, survival has been the game. But we are proud as a team to navigate ahead during difficult times by not only helping other businesses resolve their logistics challenges but to empower and guide them build a powerful eCommerce store so they can sell more, and shipping is a crucial part of any small business who wants to be successful in a world dominated by the behemoths like Amazon and Walmart who have deep pockets, unlike a micro business. So our team knows the key to innovation is first to hear the target audience and build the correct product and services to help them grow.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Ashish Punj: In terms of growth and revenue, we are some of the few businesses that have seen more than expected growth as we are in the logistics business, which has become a lifeline of almost every business during these covid times. Having said that, my team and I was always at high risk as we are in the business of picking, packing, and shipping, and taking care of each other was the most important thing for us. We had to bring in contactless deliveries, delivery proof via images, touchless options to pay, and invest in a bigger space so our team can have more distance between to keep each other safe and still have fun.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Ashish Punj: Biggest lesson was, life will go on. Neither my team nor I have ever experienced something like this in our lifetimes. Our team understands ultimately, staying healthy and blissful is key to anything. We quickly understood that working from home, zoom, or phones will be a more practical way to survive the current crisis, to continue on the growth path, and to serve our clients even better, we had to invest in laptops, better phones, cameras, train our team to interact with our clients digitally, without making them feel disconnected, we built empathy with our clients in these tough times, and for that, we had to work on our pitch to build trust over emails and chats. This is all new for us; speed and the learning curve are the two things that are the key issues we keep an eye on.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Ashish Punj: Asana, Slack, Whatsapp, Front, Hubspot, Mailchimp, calendly, Hootsuite, trylately, these tools are to make our life better and improve our engagement with our users.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Ashish Punj: The competition has more features and has a head start, enviaya, envioclick, mienvio, sky drop are some of the good competition. We are tackling problems others are ignoring because small businesses are struggling to compete with Amazon’s or Walmart’s; hence they need to be educated about overall best practices of e-commerce to compete with the already established players and not just sell them shipping labels. We help them grow their business with our more than 20 years of experience in customer experience, logistics, and using tech to bring efficiency, and businesses love the overall value. Our clients helped us reach a 500% growth from year to year in 2020.
Your final thoughts?
Ashish Punj: First, thanks for allowing us to share our story with the world through your magazine. I Am personally grateful for reaching out to pikkop.com. In 2016 pikkop was founded because my own family business struggled with picking, packing, and shipping-related issues. It was a bottleneck for my family and my business. There were no easy-to-use solutions, and if there were any, either – they were expensive to install, or the learning curve was too complex for a small business owner who is not a logistics expert. In 2017 my co-founder Lucas Introne launched pikkop, a first-of-its-kind app in Mexico, which lets you ship just by taking a picture. We would do all the heavy lifting of packing, finding the best shipping options, printing labels, and shipping with the best last-mile company. Without charging extra, small businesses love this, and we have more than 3 k small businesses on our shipping platform, shipping hundreds of packets daily. This number is increasing exponentially under the current pandemic environment, resulting in more people buying online, and more packages need to be shipped. In short, we are blessed to be in the right country and the right industry.