How Not To Do Shipping And Logistics For Your E-Commerce Startup

One of the most frustrating experiences I ever had a while back, is getting my WamdaCard shipped to me in Morocco.

Some random guy Called me:

Le Me: Allo!! who is with me?

Random Guy: Is this the guy from Settat?

Le Me: Yes, who is calling

Random Guy: I have some important papers to give you!

Le Me: What? Who are you?

Random Guy: Its Documents from the Emirates!

I don’t know, but based on my humble experience in security auditing and social engineering, it had all the aspects of a blackmailing or a trap.
A call from a random person doesn't want to say who he is, and why I’m receiving papers from UAE?

UAE, I have nothing I’m waiting from there, I thought.

Lionel Richie Hello

He called again two weeks later.

Random Guy: Hello I came to Settat (myCity) just for you I’m calling you, you are not answering.

Le Me: But who are you?

Random Guy: I come to deliver documents for your from Emirates?

Le Me: But who are you? Who sent them? Who are you working for?

Randon Guy: I come to deliver, I’ve been waiting for you for One Hour!

Le Me * hang up the phone *

I blacklisted his number.

After one month, I decided to remove my blacklist, if the guy is real and pro he would call back. He called again.

Random Guy: Hello I come to settat this time, I’m looking to see you

Le Me: (Hey honey It has been long time, but how the hell do I know you!!) Can you tell me please which company you are working in

Random Guy: An international company

Le Me: (woww this looks so “cool and official”! seriously!) Name?

Random Guy: Aramex

Le Me: (quick brain heuristic: Aramex+UAE+papers= Fadi Ghandour+Shipping+papers/documents= wamda card) Is it written Wamda Somewhere?

Random Guy: I don’t know I should ship this.. yes yes its Wamda

Wamda Card

I had ordered a Wamdacard while signing up in the Mix’N’Mentor program organized by Wamda the first time in Casablanca, not only for the many benefits I would get, but to encourage such great initiatives in the MENA region, and having an affiliation and identity for MENA entrepreneurs, from a philosophical point of view entrepreneurs in MENA need sense of belonging, unity, and cohesion, hence I should get affiliated to one of the central hubs, despite the cost. The folks at Wamda are doing amazing job, so we should be supportive to each others efforts.

So I asked my Wamda contact to see the progress of the delivery, and she told me that Aramex was the shipping provider, and that they do face-to-face shipping.

Coming back to reality!

If you are shipping to an entrepreneur, or any other person with high distribution and low availability, I think one should bare in mind that meeting the person face-to-face in a random place in his city is not a solution. Else, why would people invent mail boxes and create the complex Zipcode numbering, if a shipping provider is going to call the person and deliver the package face-to-face.

Another two months passed, Aramex couldn’t deliver a package based on a mail address. Even if the client requested so, “I want it dropped in the Mail Box!”.

Each time Aramex failed to deliver.

“You know what let me pick my package in Aramex Office in Casablanca! that’s way better”

The Epiphany

Then three weeks later I was able to go to the Aramex office in Casablanca.


This is more organized than the packages room in Aramex’s Casablanca Office

Le Me: “Salam Aleikum, I came to see a package with this following details”

The Receptionist: “I don’t nothing about this let me call the guy in charge of your city”

Meanwhile, I was looking at the room where packages are stored, it was a real mess, even my freshman-college-room-one-week-before-the-final-exams was even cleaner and organised. Then the guy arrived, I forgot his name I gave him details about the package.

He coldly told me “Sorry I don’t know anything about this package”. I was like “What! the deliverer told me to pick it up here”. He continued “You know what, here is the delivrer’s phone number, the guy who usually ships to your city, call him and see where he is and you can retrieve it”

A moment of silence.

Talking as polite as I can I respond “Are you really serious! I’m sorry … I don’t know what you wanted to say.. but it's your duty to make sure I get what was supposed to get delivred to me”

The guy asked for a mobile phone with call-credits, then typed his number many times, talked for 10 minutes, spent another 15 minutes searching in the poultry of packages, to finally give me the package.

And I was like….. if I’m to use a shipping service in Morocco, for my e-commerce, I should invent my own shipping provider.. this was a very unreal customer experience from a “so-called” to be recognized as one of the top five global logistics and transportation companies.

Lessons Learned:

  • If you are shipping to Morocco/Africa with Aramex your customers will have a hard time
  • If you are receiving a package from Aramex in Morocco, you should add it to your calendar and todo list.
  • If you are Wamda, know the whereabouts of your customers, a card that was supposed to be shipped in September, was received till en January, losing your customer the right for 4 Months!
  • If you are Aramex, you should really check what your teams are doing, give them a proper training, its more chaotic than Joutiya Souk
  • If you are a startup operating for the MENA (Middle East & North Africa) market, do some A/B testing on a closed niche with your shipping channels before mass shipping.