Today, e-commerce is all about instant gratification and consumer’s expectation has moved way beyond the normal. This has put immense pressure on e-retailers to respond to each consumer in real-time across all touch point. Consumers want their service providers to be present, active and quick on all channels despite of their business model. Turya Vardhan, 24, an avid online shopper and a banker by profession says that she has been shopping through Amazon since past 2 years because it gives her an ease of choosing the delivery format. At times she prefers COD (cash on delivery) and when in hurry she collects the items from Amazon’s dark stores while returning from office.
The concept of ‘dark stores’ in e-commerce is picking the pace as today a consumer expects a hassle-free shopping experience. Gone are the days when we used to wait for weeks to get the products ordered online. Today it’s just a matter of few hours and even if that’s not feasible, go and pick it up from a dark store nearby. Many online firms like Amazon India, Grofers, Peppertap etc. have stepped ahead and infused this concept to maximize profits and minimise cart abandonment.
The concept of dark stores has been around in the UK and many countries of Europe from quite some time now, but it recently begun in India and still a lot of online firms are experimenting with the concept. While the benefits are clear, what all it takes to deploy a dark store? Much has been talked about the quest of dark stores and how these online retailers are using it to provide a seamless and real time shopping experience.
Here are 3 of the most important mantras to set up an effective and responsive dark store:
Dark stores generally require a decent space in order to accommodate the products in large numbers. A retailer’s store network is the best candidate for a dark store location. Shops that are underperforming in less desirable retail locations are the best place to open up a dark store. Ideally, a retail dark store should be located in heavily populated areas, reasonably close to a large number of existing customers or other retail locations.
In order to optimise consumer expectation and the order processing mechanisms, an efficient order management is a must. It helps in routing the request of a right dark store and quickly pick and ship orders. With an effective order management mechanism in place, retailers can provide real-time updates on the status of the ordered products and by when it will be delivered to the consumers.
Yes, sounds a little off-track but data analytics too plays a crucial role in setting up dark stores. A robust data analytics help retailers understand consumer expectations in order to shape a internal processes based on the expectation. It further tracks popular items and the locations where it is easy for consumers to pick up and also monitors dozen of variables including order fulfillment, inventory management, and order accuracy. A right data analytics in place also determine various motion studies in order to build an efficient process all together.