This decade has been the decade of transformation for businesses, and the last 18 months have evidently pushed the e-commerce boom. According to a report by India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), the Indian e-commerce market is expected to grow to $200 Bn by 2026 from$38.5 Bn in 2017.
Given this huge shift, online shopping has become a key lever of driving revenue as it is far more convenient, safe, and seamless. As a result, many brands have also joined the D2C club. As per media sources, India is currently home to more than 800 D2C brands. For these brands, warehousing and fulfillment remains a struggle, especially given the budget constraints.
However, fulfillment is a critical aspect of any business and can not be ignored. Moreover, being digital oriented it has become even more important and challenging for these brands to overcome the fulfillment challenges. Indiaretailing recently interacted with Saahil Goel, CEO and Cofounder, Shiprocket to take a closer look at these trends and challenges. Let us take a look at some of these trends.
- Ensure faster deliveries
Customer behaviour has changed drastically over the years as they become more tech-oriented. Apart from availability, accessibility and affordability customers also look for free and faster deliveries while shopping. To keep up with these demands, brands are focussing on faster deliveries.
- Enable real time updates
Real-time communication via email and SMS has been a feature that almost every brand and e-commerce website offers these days. One of the key aspects of D2C is customer experience and timely updates contribute greatly to that. Customers expect the personalised messages from the brands which keeps them connected and closer to the brand, helping in building brand loyalty.
- Leverage technology
Evidently, the audience of today rely on technology for almost everything and sellers need to take advantage of this. Goel also hinted towards the same saying, “Sellers want more recommendations based on data and digital assets over word of mouth and this is a huge change from the typical b2b logistics sector.” In today’s digital world, using the right data can lead your brand to the right path towards boost growth and sales.
- Taking care of cash flow
D2C brands are often low on budgets and COD remains a challenge for small businesses. Where e-commerce giants can often bear the brunt of returns, small brands still need to figure out a way around them. Some partners such as Shiprocket do provide an early COD feature to support smaller brands on a small budget. As shared by Goel, Indian consumers still rely heavily on COD which can make it difficult for D2C brands to operate.
- Taking data backed decisions
Brands are dropping the spray and pray approach and using data-based insights to make decisions. Companies are also leveraging various technologies such as cloud based inventory management in order to reduce costs and increase operational efficiency.
- Choosing the right partner
Choosing the right logistics partner can be a make or break deal for these companies and this decision must be taken wisely. Coverage remains the key factor, it should always match the product life cycle. For instance, for a PAN India brand, the partner should also be equally good all over the country. If taken lightly, this can affect the brand strength as well as revenue drop.
Additionally, brands must ensure that they choose a trustworthy partner, as COD orders are collected by them. It is essential to keep the inventory cycle shorter for effective management.