How AssureShift Moved the Relocation Industry Online
AssureShift, a leading packers and movers directory in India, has become the go-to option for thousands of people who plan to relocate every day across the country. There are two significant groups of people who benefit well from AssureShift; those having specific relocation requirements and the packing and moving experts who offer these relocation services to customers. AssureShift is associated with experienced and trustworthy packing moving firms that provide a wide range of shifting services for home relocation, office relocation, vehicle transport, storage needs, and so on.
Founded in 2016, AssureShift officially launched operations in early 2017 from its headquarter in Bangalore. In just 4 years, they are successfully established in over 25+ major cities and are currently expanding and launching their operations in at least 10 more cities this year. With very minimal advertising, AssureShift credits the growth in their brand popularity to the exceptional word-of-mouth marketing they received from their customers and packers and movers partners alike.
As part of our weekly Talking Insights series, Adgully is in conversation with Debendra Prasad, Co-Founder, and CEO, AssureShift, who is telling us about the journey of AssureShift and exploring how they revamped the concept of Relocation in India.
How did AssureShift manage to shift the entire relocation sector online in an industry that primarily works offline?
In the age of digitalization, when everything from calls to booking a wide variety of services to making payments has shifted online, it was only natural to find a way to ensure our customers could hire relocation services from the comfort of their homes.
By working for the packing moving industry in my initial days, I learned about the problems and opportunities in the sector. One of the people’s biggest concerns was finding reliable relocation companies near their location and offering services within their budget.
However, many people don’t know what details to check and how to verify the moving company documents to hire a trustworthy and capable packer and mover. Because of this, they would often hire newly established and amateur movers who don't know how to carry out the required shifting services, or fall into their trap of fraud companies who would often quote extremely cheap charges estimates.
The deeper we delved into the industry's roots, the more we realized how disorganized it was. The lack of a proper authenticator resulted in notable losses to people’s hard-earned money, safety of their belongings, additional stress and trauma, and so on. Additionally, it cost them a lot more time to verify moving companies by themselves, which sometimes resulted in incorrect choices.
Thus, we decided to change that and make sure that stress-free shifting and best moving experience are made available to every person across the country in an extremely easy-to-use platform with a simple process. After much research and many brainstorming sessions, Juby and I decided to create a digital marketing strategy to get in touch with customers before the fraud moving companies do. We planned to set up a private verification firm to verify and authenticate the moving company details before making their profile available to customers.
Tell us about the design, prototype, and launch process of AssureShift. What steps did you take to overcome the challenges you faced?
Our first and foremost important objective was to personally meet well-known packers and movers in various cities across the country and begin the verification process. It was a long and meticulous process and a tough one as we had to spend a long time in each city, which took up most of our time and increased the overall expenses in the initial stage itself.
That was the major challenge we faced before we even built our database of moving companies. So, we had to make the more challenging decision of shifting our complete verification to online methods, which was a considerable risk for us to take at the time. Gradually, we streamlined the entire verification and background checking process so that we need not physically visit the moving company in their respective city unless it’s vital to confirm their details and get a copy of all their original paperwork provided to us during the online verification.
We do an initial online screening of the moving documents, background checks via telephone & video calls, and thoroughly going through their past reviews & ratings on Google and popular reviews websites. We also cross-check the validity of their business registration on the Indian Govt Portal and authenticate the owner ID details provided to us with the owner details on their business registration documents. Additionally, we ask for proof of office location in the form of rent agreement/ lease contract copies, along with the photos of their office setup.
The Bangalore packers and movers listing, or for any other city like Pune, Mumbai, Delhi, etc., will be confirmed to associate with us only after they successfully fulfil each step of the complete verification process. This process may not have eradicated the fraud moving companies entirely from the market. Still, it’s an excellent start to making a central portal where only genuine movers are listed and made available to customers.
Our business model is simple but efficient; we have listed a wide range of moving companies for our wide range of customers. People simply need to submit their shifting requirements. According to that, our advanced software will assign a fixed price based on different variables like distance, moving size, and service quality. Three nearby best-match moving companies who can provide the services as requested can purchase the lead on a first-come-first-serve basis; for this, packers movers will have to maintain the required credit amount in their wallet from where the lead charges will be deducted.
Were the operations of AssureShift affected during the pandemic? How did you manage to get back on track?
Yes, in the early days of the pandemic, our business took a major hit and almost came to a standstill for more than 2-3 months. But with fantastic teamwork and dedication, we were able to quickly get back on our feet and even gain speed as soon as the lockdown in 2020 was eased. However, we came across another significant issue when allocating customer requirements to relocation companies as most of the packers movers crew members had migrated to their respective home base because of the lockdown. For example, we received many leads from Delhi city just after the lockdown eased in 2020, but we hardly had any availability of Delhi movers and packers to whom we could assign the corresponding leads and ended up facing a significant loss due to this as well. However, this year, we were much better prepared for every type of situation with proper planning in advance.
Since the launch, what has worked to retain customers and grow the brand name of AssureShift?
Initially, we started getting customers via search engines and social media. Ranking on the top (i.e., in 1st position) of the organic search results page was our primary mode of marketing; along with this, we also promoted our business in the working cities of India via Facebook and LinkedIn. We also ran Google Ads to get the attention of customers and increase our visibility.
For retaining our customer base, we focused on and improved our service quality and customer support to make sure that none of our customers felt helpless in their time of need. To keep our service quality in check, we take regular feedback from our customers; good performers will be awarded high ranks, and poor performers will be penalized for the loss caused to customers. We also made it a point to resolve our customer’s issues in the quickest and best way possible because customer satisfaction matters 100%. This way, we make sure that neither our current nor potential customers face any problems.
As our name suggests, our main aim has always been to assure the shifting process of our customers; we are committed to providing safe and secure packing and moving experience in economical pricing. And, we work towards building our reputation in the eyes of both our partner moving companies and our customers.