Delivery ChaCha is living up to the avuncular stereotype. It is spoiling us (for a small fee).
The ChaCha will pay your bills, pick up your movie tickets, do your groceries – but it doesn’t stop there.
ChaCha also comes to the rescue when you’re in an awkward fix, and often at your most desperate. Forgot your CNIC at the airport and don’t want to go all the way back? ChaCha will take care of the trouble. Bought a cat and can’t get it to behave in the car? Let a ChaCha rider take the wheel for you instead.
In this way, Delivery ChaCha is more than just a delivery service and brings diversity to the expanding convenience industry in Pakistan. We talk to the original ChaCha, Nashit Iqbal, who founded the business and functioned like a one-man army – juggling customer service, database management, feedback and the occasional delivery himself – until his business took off.Nashit Iqbal founded Delivery ChaCha and functioned like a one-man army – juggling customer service, database management, feedback and the occasional delivery himself – until business took off — Publicity photo
We ask him why he got into the risky business of running other people’s errands in the first place.
“Like most things in life, the idea of Delivery ChaCha came at a very unexpected occasion,” shares Nashit with Dawn.com.
“I was attending a friend’s engagement at her house when I realised how many last-minute arrangements had to be made,” he elaborates. “Her mother and sisters were running around frantically, asking the domestic staff to get things from the market before the event. At that point, I wondered if only there could be someone who would manage all these errands for the family. And then I thought, “Hey, why not me?” That is how the idea for the business came around.”
Nashit named his business ‘Delivery ChaCha’ because he wanted a name that would be relatable for every kind of household. “Desi titles for people, like ‘Chacha’, ‘Lala’, ‘Bhai sahab’ are very personal,” says Nashit, and it would work for the kind of connection he was trying to build with his clientele.
But Nashit’s ChaCha is a tad more flamboyant than the regular Jamal on the street. Complete with turban, a colourful desi wardrobe and a luxurious handlebar moustache, Delivery ChaCha’s fresh, vibrant image is a hip upgrade of its real-life equivalent, and is stuck to memory thanks to social media marketing. Sure enough, there are similar businesses like Forrun and Delivery Walay, but ChaCha stands out due to its strong brand image.
“Most of our actual and potential customers are young and middle-aged, so the brand was designed to attract this age bracket,” tells Nashit, “Roman Urdu is the language of our brand because we wanted to be accessible to everyone. Our call centre also operates in Urdu so as to make the customer service friendly and accessible to most residents of Karachi.”
It seems to have done the trick, for since its inception in June 2014, Delivery ChaCha has experienced no off-season, says Nashit.
“From dinner parties to iftars to weddings to late-night cravings, something or the other keeps happening around the year. One season that I felt was particularly busy was last winter from November to January, which is also the shaadi season in Pakistan. That was the only time we fell short of riders.”
Apart from rider availability, the other key element of a delivery service is the delivery promise. Delivery ChaCha prides itself on its under 90 minute delivery time, but have an added challenge of working around strike calls, turbulent city conditions and bad weather (like rain and flooded roads or the recent heatwave). What happens then?
“We try our best to deliver anything people want from anywhere. But obviously, given Karachi’s erratic political climate, there is very little we can do when shops are closed. We don’t stock anything, but as long as the shops are open and the traffic is flowing, you can be sure that ChaCha will deliver.”
Delivery ChaCha is also in partnership with EatOye and Aaramshop. With the growth of e-commerce, one expects their service to up its game to keep ahead of the competition. What lies ahead for Delivery Chacha in the future?
“With the growth in e-commerce, it will also become more challenging for the entrepreneurs in this sector to distinguish themselves from each other and offer niche services to their customers. To do so, Delivery ChaCha is now aiming at integrating technology solutions with their business model and optimising their services. This includes launching a website – under construction at the moment – which will act as a portal to take online orders and display information such as order placement, confirmation, tracking and expected delivery time. We are also thinking of expanding the services to other cities including Lahore and Islamabad.”
We decided to put Delivery ChaCha service to the test, and surveyed its customers to see what they have to say.
Customer 1: Sobia
Scenario: I couldn’t be with my mother on her birthday, but still wanted to do something special for her from another city. She loves Pie in the Sky, so I thought the classic cake surprise would do the trick!
Experience: I requested them to deliver chocolate malt cake at midnight, even though they don’t deliver past 10pm on weekdays. Thankfully, they agreed. Placing the order for another city was super-convenient; I just transferred the money through easypaisa.
Time of ordering: The day before.
Time of delivery: My sister received it at midnight on the dot, as requested! So pleased.
Delivery notes: The cake was perfect. It was fresh and the rider picked up the right flavour and there were no slip-ups in the message on the cake.
Value for money? Yes! Especially since I was ordering from another city. Compared to Sentiments Express, Delivery Chacha’s charges are quite reasonable.
Customer 2: Umair
Scenario: I’m an occasional Delivery Chacha customer; it’s my go-to option whenever I’m too lazy to drive to the grocery store. I order the usual stuff, nothing fancy – juice, cola, mobile cards and cigs.
Experience: Delivery Chacha is a blessing, especially since I haven’t come across grocery stores that are willing to deliver. Plenty of people have tapped into food delivery, but not groceries. They should expand to the smaller cities where everything shuts down so early.
Time of ordering: Always after 10pm
Time of delivery: They take a maximum of 45 minutes; usually, I have my order in half an hour.
Delivery details: I get what I asked for. My friend’s choice of cigarettes – a soft pack of Marlboro Lights – aren’t available at every khoka, but they’ve always managed to find us a pack.
Value for money? I’m not bothered about their delivery charges.
Customer 3: Bisma
Scenario: I’ve used Delivery Chacha countless times, sometimes for ordering movie tickets, other times for selling products. Most recently, I used it to deliver charity goods during the ongoing heatwave emergency.
Experience: My experience has generally been flawless. This one time I was unsure whether Cinepax had any Dil Dharakne Do tickets available but Delivery Chacha still sent its rider at their own expense to check! That was really cool of them, though the rider didn’t get me center seats like I had repeatedly asked. Plus, when I was using DC for charity, I was sending water and juice to two different hospitals, Indus Hospital and Naya Jeevan, so they should have charged me for two deliveries but they waived off the fee for the second! I recommend it to everyone. They go out of the way to serve their customers.
Time of ordering: Different times.
Time of delivery: They’re super swift. They reach within half an hour sometimes…
Delivery details: Yes, the delivery is just the way I want it. They’re very responsible.
Value for money? Yes, it’s totally worth the money!
Customer 4: Rabia
Scenario: Delivery Chacha helps satisfy my cravings for street food — Karachi Broast, Ghaffar, Zameer Kebab, you name it.
Experience: It’s pretty convenient for cheat days when I need a street food fix. It beats driving through the traffic to get the food myself. The first experience was not good, as they took too long to deliver, which spoiled a surprise I had planned. However, they were quite professional and apologized for their mistake and made follow-up calls, so I decided to order from them again. My subsequent orders were delivered on time with no hitches.
Value for money? I guess it would cost me a bit less if I went on my own, but that’d be a hassle. Ghaffar, for instance, does not have a lot of parking space. So yes, it’s value for money.
Customer 5: Zara
Scenario: I’ve used Delivery Chacha twice, once to deliver a cake and once to deliver cupcakes.
Experience: My experience both times has been good. I really have no complaints. They’re prompt, didnt make me wait too long at all. The most recent order that i placed was for 2pm pick up from Tariq Road and delivery to Clifton, Block 5, they delivered it by 2.30/ 2.40. So that was quite perfect for me. My order was in perfect shape.
Value for money? I think 300 rupees delivery charge from Tariq Road to Clifton is perfect considering the distance. I wouldn’t mind paying that much. I also love how they made the payment in my behalf at the pickup spot and i just paid the total at the drop off spot.
Published in DAWN on July 8, 2015.