The customer psyche with reference to buying products and services has undergone a major transition across the globe and especially in India. Earlier, shopping from the physical stores was the only method of purchasing. However, over the years, online shopping is increasingly preferred now by consumers of all age groups.
The variety and convenience that it offers give it an edge over offline shopping. Scouting the wide variety in the online medium, multiple payment options, and doorstep delivery makes it a preferred way of shopping. The pandemic's entrance into our lives further accelerated the growth of online shopping. Its cashless and contactless features make it the go-to solution for all the purchasing requirements.
However, off lately, consumers have been experiencing troubles with this ideal shopping gateway. Lack of delay, payment issues, defective products, and replacement scheduling are some of the few concern areas hampering the user experience. There are major trust issues with the online shopping process. While this concept was not welcomed initially by the Indian consumers, now that the consumers have adapted to it; misleading discounts and promotions, poor service, lack of credibility have additionally led to the reduction in its acceptance.
In such cases when e-commerce seems to fade away, the hyperlocal markets come into the scenario. They perfectly combine the convenience of online shopping along with the comfort and reliability of the physical stores, thereby delivering the best of both worlds to the consumers.
They tackle all the issues that any e-commerce platform usually faces. These majorly include logistics, inventory management, transactions, delivery, and communication with the customers. They follow a customer-centric approach and hence work to provide benefits to the customers. They help bridge the gap between online and offline shopping and provide instant resolution of customer queries. The hyperlocal market place is a hybrid concept encompassing the best of the traits of both offline and e-commerce shopping.
How They Give Customer a Real In-store Shopping Experience
Hyperlocal e-commerce extends various benefits to all the involved parties - the e-commerce, the buyer, and the hyperlocal platform. Few major ones ensuring a real-time physical store experience to the customers are:
• The consumers can surf through the hyperlocal marketplaces offering a variety of products from multiple merchants and purchase via various modes of payment at convenient pricing
• Ensure swift doorstep delivery and send across the products within a few hours along with breaking the geographical barriers
• The consumers can touch and feel the product if they wish to by visiting the nearby retail store
• This proximity to the store also ensures quick consumer grievance redressal
• However, in case you don’t wish to visit personally, you can just check the variety online and place an order or order home delivery
• Delivery is their focus area and hence they ensure they have the required manpower and system in place to provide swift delivery to the consumers as per their preferences
• They also offer on sale certain products that are not available in the physical stores
• The concept eventually leads to an increase in sales thereby benefitting the stores
• Help reduce geographical barriers thereby reducing the marketing expenditure
• Provide control over the quality, quantity, variety, and delivery of the products
• Help in inventory and logistics management
On the whole, hyperlocal markets have made the online shopping experience swift, efficient, and all the more convenient. It also helps uplift the local stores and aims to provide a better shopping and customer experience.
From the business perspective:
• They add value to the brand image
• They also lead to a considerable increase in the consumer base for the retailers
• Other added benefits include the ease of operations and business-driven approach
These are the major reasons that have led to the businesses focusing on the expansion of their digital wing by collaborating with hyperlocal marketplaces. Such coalition also helps the retailers in expanding and optimizing their operations thereby extending a real in-store shopping experience to the customers. Additionally, the brands do and can further expand this partnership by offering localized and specific products at specific locations thereby strengthening the interaction with the customers.
The common myth is that e-commerce is replacing the physical buying experience. However, it is indeed a supplementary element to the traditional brick and mortar concept. With e-commerce growing, personal interactions and physical purchasing has reduced.By working in partnership with hyperlocal spaces, is a great opportunity for brands to strengthen their relationship with the customers. The best bit about this concept is that all brands irrespective of their size, the industry can undertake such partnerships. Despite the various pros of setting up the hyperlocal agreement, many retailers still fear to enter into such collaboration as they feel the efforts they will put in might not provide results in the long run. Additionally, there is an increase in competition and hence they need to come with new offerings and innovations to ensure the survival of the fittest.
However, the hyperlocal sector is booming and is the face of the new age retail industry of India. Providing a win-win scenario for merchants, buyers, and hyperlocal spaces, the hyperlocal industry is here to stay and will witness a surge in its acceptance along with the entrance of new trends.