How India is keeping up with mobile & delivery commerce trends
Follow @SupplyChainD on Twitter.
In the era of Amazon Prime and Uber, today’s consumer expects instant gratification and a virtually seamless delivery experience.
The growth of mobile has fueled this instant gratification revolution. Consumers use their phones to browse and buy on the go. They can purchase products and services with the tap of a finger and they expect the shipping and delivery process to be just as simple.
But, it's this demand for speedy shipping that is creating serious implications on logistics channels. As brands scramble to accurately predict buying trends and ensure that products are in the correct warehouse at the right time, how can they strike the balance between satisfying demand while still remaining profitable? And how will these consumer demands impact logistics in rapidly developing, high-growth markets?
Let’s look at India, which is on its way to becoming the largest e-commerce market in the Asia Pacific region. According to market estimates, it is expected to grow 37 percent to reach $20 billion this year. This e-commerce boom is largely driven by the spread of Internet users in India – up from 50 million in 2007 to 300 million in 2014.
Plus, mobile devices are becoming increasingly more affordable and accessible, which is consequently re-shaping e-commerce trends for the Indian market, putting the emphasis on mobile experience and immediate delivery. For example, mobile traffic accounted for less than 10 percent of the entire traffic to Indian e-commerce company Flipkart less than a year ago, but now is close to 50 percent.
To keep up with the rising trends of mobile purchasing and instantaneous delivery demands, businesses are weaving analytics into their retail and logistics management systems. Gati KWE, an express distribution and supply chain management company in India, is addressing these challenges with logistics management technology that helps them anticipate and handle spikes in online sales.
To keep up with the demand and trends of enhanced buying experiences and shorter delivery times, Gati must have a seamlessly coordinated supply chain and distribution network. Using analytics technology, Gati is able to better integrate and coordinate the complex and time sensitive flow of products from warehouse to store to home.
Analytic insights are a critical component in Gati’s logistics success story. The analytics-infused approach is especially crucial during India’s festival season, when retailers have to handle a spike in online sales and promotions. For example, during Diwali, celebrated in autumn every year, gifts are exchanged among all friends and family. Diwali is known as the largest gift giving and shopping festival in India, where people go out of their way to splurge on themselves and their loved ones. It is even considered “socially mandatory” to exchange gifts with all near and dear, including friends, relatives, neighbors, colleagues and business associates.
This is the biggest retail and shipping season of the year, so Gati prepares appropriately. Gati mines their data and is able to alert their customers of potential shipping issues or delays – and is even able to anticipate trends for specific products each year. These insights help Gati better understand and anticipate sales spikes and what the most popular gift items will be based on analytic insights on past buying behavior.
In the world of instant gratification and same-day delivery, brands must ensure their logistics and supply chain operations are working smoothly. Analytics help shipping and delivery logistics to go off without a hitch – which means customers get the experience they crave. Worldwide, these insights are critically important for brands to understand and predict buying patterns, and help customers get the engaging experience they deserve while brands protect their bottom line.
Author: IBM Commerce Director, Adam Orentlicher.
Pandora and IBM digitise jewellery supply chain
Pandora has overhauled its global supply chain in partnership with IBM amid an ecommerce sales boom for its hand-finished jewellery.
The company found international success offering customisable charm bracelets and other personalised jewellery though its chain of bricks and mortar retail destinations. But in 2020, as the COVID-19 outbreak forced physical stores to close, Pandora strengthened its omnichannel operations and doubled online sales.
A focus on customer experience included deploying IBM’s Sterling Order Management, increasing supply chain resiliency and safeguarding against disruption across the global value chain.
Pandora leverages IBM Sterling Order Management as the backbone it its omnichannel fulfilment, with Salesforce Commerce Cloud powering its ecommerce. Greater automation across its channels has boosted the jeweller’s sustainability credentials, IBM said, streamlining processes for more efficient delivery. It has also given in-store staff and virtual customer service representatives superior end-to-end visibility to better meet consumer needs.
Jim Cruickshank, VP of Digital Development & Retail Technology, Pandora, said the digital transformation journey has brought “digital and store technology closer together and closer to the customer”, highlighting how important the customer journey remains, even during unprecedented disruption.
"Our mission is about creating a personal experience and we've instituted massive platform changes with IBM Sterling and Salesforce to enable new digital-first capabilities that are much more individualised, localised and connected across channels and markets,” he added.
Pandora’s pivot to digital
The pandemic forced the doors closed at most of Pandora’s 2,700 retail locations. To remain competitive, it pivoted to online retail. Virtual queuing for stores and virtual product trials via augmented reality (AR) technology went someway to emulating the in-store experience and retail theatre that is the brand’s hallmark. Meanwhile digital investments in supply chain efficiency was central to delivering on consumer demand.
“Consumer behaviour has significantly shifted and will continue to evolve with businesses needing to quickly adapt to new preferences and needs,” said Kareem Yusuf, General Manager, AI Applications and Blockchain, IBM. “To address this shift, leading retailers like Pandora rely on innovation to increase their business agility by enabling and scaling sustainable supply chain operations using AI and cloud.”
Yusuf said Pandora’s success was indicative of how to remain competitive by “finding new ways to create differentiated customer experiences that protect their enterprises from disruptions to help mitigate risk and accelerate growth”.