‘Less than 30% retailers prepared to handle around 10x surge in online consumer demand’

November 18, 2020 1:21 PM

Logistics for MSMEs: Here are some important ways MSMEs can scale deliveries, shrink delivery turn-around-time, and ensure compliance with Covid-19 regulations.

Logistics has now become an extremely customer-centric function with stringent requirements on turnaround time and schedule adherence.Brands can leverage modern delivery tools to optimize their logistics operations.
  • By Kushal Nahata

Logistics for MSMEs: The festive season is expected to be nothing like we have seen before. With an approximate 10x surge in online consumer demand, less than 30 per cent of retailers are prepared to handle this surge. Retailers are constantly looking for ways to transform customer experiences, however, almost 66 per cent* of enterprises say that their existing systems do not impact customer experience positively. According to a survey on Indian online shopping behavior conducted by Rakuten Insight* in May 2020, about 59 percent of consumers said that they purchased online during the pandemic as they were practicing social distancing and wanted to minimize their time outside of the home. The most commonly purchased items were food and groceries, personal hygiene products, and household cleaning products.

As per a recent Redseer’s report, the first week of the festive sale saw a 55 per cent y-o-y sales growth, with $4.1 billion worth of goods sold across e-commerce platforms, as compared to $2.7 billion last year. This 52 per cent increase shows the surge in online consumer demand that will grow even more. Brands, whether big or small will need a robust and highly effective last-mile delivery logistics infrastructure to meet this demand. In such a scenario, brands can leverage modern delivery tools to optimize their logistics operations and make the most of the skyrocketing demand for online buying.  Here are some important ways businesses can scale deliveries, shrink delivery turn-around-time, and ensure compliance with COVID-19 regulations.

Dynamic Routing: Leveraging dynamic routing capabilities brands can track their delivery fleet in real-time and ensure end-to-end visibility of delivery operations. Dynamic routing technology shrinks delivery turn-around-time by automating route planning, scheduling, and task allocation. It drastically reduces delays by constantly optimizing delivery routes, eliminating unnecessary diversions, and stoppages. It generates routes based on weather conditions, traffic congestions, containment zones, productivity, and fuel consumption. Furthermore, advanced techniques such as loop optimization can drastically transform every driver’s performance by optimizing average stops per driver. This not just boosts driver utilization through continuous learning algorithms within a well-defined cluster, but also improves on-time deliveries. A last-mile delivery platform can enhance customer experience and brand loyalty.  It makes delivery operations transparent by informing customers about delivery progress, delays, and by generating highly accurate ETAs.

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Hyperlocal Deliveries: Hyperlocal delivery models gained rapid popularity this year. With people preferring to stay at home hyperlocal deliveries became the fast and easy way to buy and sell essentials like grocery, food, medicine, and everyday household items. During the festive season, it will be of great use, especially to small and localized shops and retailers who can indirectly leverage the advantages of digitalization. To gear up for the festivities, savvy brands are investing in modern logistics platforms that can quickly onboard local, temporary, and part-time drivers to execute orders and scale delivery operations. Cost is another advantage with regard to hyperlocal deliveries. Under this delivery type, there is no need to invest in warehouses. The cost of executing long haul deliveries is eliminated completely. Reverse logistics is also easy owing to a limited radius of operations.

Contactless Delivery 2.0: In the initial phase of the pandemic, contactless deliveries simply meant leaving a package or order outside the door. However, the initial methods of executing contactless deliveries are constantly evolving to ensure the safety of both customers and delivery executives. To boost safety measures and delivery on customer needs, savvy businesses embraced Contactless delivery 2.0. This includes some key offerings like temperature tracking, contactless payments, electronic proof of deliveries, scaling contactless deliveries, advanced delivery tracking, and boosting delivery flexibility.

The year 2020 has been a challenge as well as a learning experience for everyone alike. The festive season comes with a renewed determination for all of us to keep fighting and keep our spirits alive in the face of an ongoing health crisis.  Keeping customers at the center of delivery operations and leveraging the right technology tools, retailers and eCommerce brands can drive rapid innovation when it comes to generating delightful delivery experiences during this festive season.

Kushal Nahata is the CEO & Co-Founder of FarEye. Views expressed are the author’s own.

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