If there’s one sector which has witnessed an exponential rise in the last decade, it is undeniably the eCommerce industry. The Indian customers today is spoilt by choice– right from products and services to various tech driven platforms as well as third-party solutions–a development that is making the entire market more efficient and productive. All of this is a part and parcel of the digital adoption and the growing tech-driven solutions within the direct to consumer market.
This abundance of resources at customer’s disposal, is paving a path for innovation and efficiency. For instance, 38 per cent of the shoppers now want same-day delivery of their orders. This luxury – which has become an imperative for a fair share of customers – is something that was simply unimaginable a few years ago.
Similarly, there are numerous othereCommerce trends shaping the industry, which both big and small eCommerce entrepreneurs must be prepared for. Here are some of them:
- Tier 3 and Tier 4 Markets: In India, more than two-thirds of the overall population dwells in rural geographies or non-urban regions. Moreover, the urban markets are gradually becoming saturated with less scope of growth and scalability. This is not the case with tier 3 and tier 4 markets, which offer innumerable disruption opportunities to both brands and MSMEs. However, a robust infrastructure needs to be in place to drive this change. Some market players are now leveraging the existing supply chain of courier companies to bring about a unique confluence of delivery channels and tech-driven approaches to make logistics operations simpler and more accesible.
- Evolution of courier aggregation platforms: As a direct result of the first trend, we are witnessing the rise of courier aggregation platforms in India. The approach paves the way for partnership of postage and shipping companies with modern day startups. On one hand, the shipping companies already have the on-ground resources, on the other hand,startupsdrive the relevant technological approaches to improve their efficacy. Courier aggregation platforms are today leveraging some of the avant-garde technologies including Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, and IoT to improve visibility of shipping and of the insights generated through operations. These factors are decreasing the long-standing challenges such as high return rates, sub-standard last-mile delivery, and higher costs incurred in low volume deliveries.
Startups, being as unconventional as they are, today are also acting as a catalyst to market growth through progressive services and features such as Early COD for solving real time problems of MSMEs.It is enabling the sellers to counter the challenges of locked-in capital with guaranteed daily remittances (as early as 2 days post package delivery).
- Increased use of automation: An increasing number of companies are expected to embrace automation of various processes in the future. For example, with automated process flow, undelivered orders can be identified in minutes using non delivery report dashboards that provide transparency and prompt sellers to take swift actions to ensure successful deliveries. Another example takes us to warehouse automation (with automated sorters, conveyors, packagers, and verifiers) that considerably decreases the turnaround time of in-house logistics.
- Increased use of Big Data: Big Data helps in making informed decisions, forecasting demand, observing consumer behaviour, and the overall market trend. Big Data involves computing voluminous data to give projections and insights that are otherwise not possible to visualize. This enables respective stakeholders to ably manage their resources with superior visibility and actionable insights. The approach improveseverything from product placement, pricing strategies, and optimization strategies to layout optimization, operational risk management, and improved product/service delivery.
- E-tailers taking the middle way:Another interesting trend within the eCommerce industry is that the growing adoption of technology is also adding to the overall market awareness.It is true that the availability of e-tailers on conventional eCommerce platforms considerably increases their business footprint. However, the eCommerce platforms have been facing the grunt of regulatory notifications as they also eye profitability, making them transfer the cost of operations (such as packaging, branding, and logistics) to the e-tailers. Also, eCommerce platforms try and source products from their own vendors, which already creates a disparity for others onboard. This is taking away the incentive that primarily drove merchants towards eCommerce platforms.
So , the digital merchants are now opting for the middle path by launching their own proprietary platforms alongside maintaining a presence on eCommerce portals. They now also have the luxury to pick-and-choose their own service aggregators and hence, are taking the most cost-effective path as they see fit.
The Indian eCommerce market is pegged to become worth USD 200 billion by 2026, growing more than four-fold from its market size of USD 48.5 billion back in 2018. The prevailing opportunity is simply unprecedented. Only the right approach can position respective stakeholders in this new and emerging market. The future clearly is ours!
--Mr Saahil Goel, CEO & Co-founder, Shiprocket...