How can D2C Brands Scale Their Online Biz with Q-Commerce
How can D2C Brands Scale Their Online Biz with Q-Commerce

Q-commerce (quick commerce) in India has undergone massive growth in the past two years. As the name suggests, it facilitates faster e-commerce deliveries, usually on the same day or within a few hours. While this concept has been around for a while in the West, the pandemic accelerated its adoption in the Indian market. Gradually, online shopping from direct-to-customer (D2C) brands with quick deliveries has become increasingly popular.

Customers have become accustomed to same-day deliveries for practically everything since the introduction of online D2C portals, including groceries, healthcare needs, and daily-use products. Not only that, but the quick delivery system allows businesses to deliver within 10 to 30 minutes of ordering. Q-commerce now accounts for approximately 13 percent of the $5.5 billion online grocery sector, and this figure will only increase as the trend for fast delivery gains traction. 

The Customer-Centric Approach of Q-Commerce 

In India, e-commerce is growing at a fast pace and is projected to reach $188 billion by 2025. This is majorly driven by a rapid shift in consumer demand, which is centered around convenience and efficiency. As per a recent survey, around 50 percent of global shoppers make purchase decisions depending on the delivery speed. Gradually, D2C brands are moving towards integrating tech-enabled solutions to provide phygital experiences to customers. By keeping Kirana and dark stores at the center of the supply chain through the Q-commerce mechanism, sellers are improving purchase experiences. Herein, quick delivery plays a significant role. 

Speed is the major element of Q-commerce. It is no longer about waiting for days after placing an order but getting immediate delivery when needed. Additionally, many Q-commerce brands offer small-sized orders for lower-cost products without any delivery fee or at a minimal charge. In contrast to many e-commerce platforms, this same-day delivery mechanism usually has zero to a nominal minimum on almost every order. Owing to these multi-fold benefits, D2C brands can reach more customers, offer better services, and enhance sales through Q-commerce practices and tech-enabled tools. 

Is Q-Commerce a Sustainable Business Model?

While quick deliveries have been acing the sales game for business, it comes with its own set of challenges. Firstly, businesses that intend to adopt Q-commerce can face issues when streamlining product sourcing, managing orders, and arranging logistics. The low turn-around time can be appealing to the customers but can really prove cumbersome for businesses. In such a scenario, SaaS-based order management and logistics tools have been simplifying everything from order taking, tracking payments, and then designing the logistical route. It adds ease to the day-to-day operations of an online business. 

Secondly, a range of D2C brands using Q-commerce promise ‘ten-minute deliveries’. To achieve this, riders who come across congested areas might have to make their way through the traffic and even jump red lights when delivering an order which brings rider safety into question. Herein, e-commerce management platforms help streamline all operations while optimizing routes to improve rider experience. This, in turn, adds to the convenience of delivery executives while ensuring order fulfillment within the promised time. 

Additionally, these new-age platforms reduce the probability of wrong product deliveries. For example, sellers can easily map orders with product details on a single window while automatically assigning tasks to delivery executives. It improves the accuracy of order-to-address ratios. Therefore, Q-commerce can be a sustainable option for businesses that employ tech-driven platforms to manage their end-to-end operations. 

Multi-Fold Q-Commerce Benefits for D2C Businesses 

Q-commerce essentially operates on the back of multiple dark warehouses located in close proximity to the target group’s location. By connecting all the touchpoints through a single order management platform, businesses can easily track all operations - from recording orders to delivering to the customer’s doorstep. Moreover, new-age operations management solutions allow businesses to coordinate all ground-level activities seamlessly. At the core, the successful adoption and implementation of Q-commerce are made possible by tech advancements in supply chain and logistical methods.

Let’s look at how Q-commerce through tech-driven solutions can help D2C brands scale their online business: 

-    Brand Awareness and Better Value Proposition: Rise in online shopping has altered the way businesses operate. D2C businesses managing their operations through SaaS solutions are able to track orders and ensure a quick delivery. The Q-commerce mechanism has enabled brands to reach a wider customer base and offers an enhanced experience. While providing instant gratification to customers, it also helps build wide-scale brand awareness.

-    Customer Loyalty and New Customer Acquisition: A value-added service like on-demand delivery assists the D2C brands in achieving a client lifetime value. Getting products in a shorter time satisfies customers and leads to greater reliability. Herein, Q-commerce also enables swift re-order delivery due to optimum restocking of high-demand products. It helps build a loyal customer base and gain new customers.

-    Increased Profit Margins: By employing sustainable Q-commerce practices with tech-driven tools, businesses can streamline all their operations from procurement, storage, sales, receiving payments, and customer service. It further helps increase the volume of turnover. Increased orders that are fulfilled on time can lead to better revenue and business growth. 

The Way Ahead 

The new-age consumers, comprising millennials and GenZ, are gradually shifting from Kirana stores to online shopping. By 2030, online retail spending in India is projected to grow six-fold and reach $300 billion. This propels the exponential development of the quick commerce market, which is expected to reach 5.5 billion by 2025. To stay at par with this ongoing growth, D2C businesses need to step up and adopt quick commerce practices. 

Q-commerce services are at the forefront of penetrating India’s retail market across tier II, tier III, and beyond cities. As per recent reports, Q-commerce platforms that offer 10-20 minute delivery are growing around 25 percent faster than those that deliver within four hours or more. This is invariably a result of an increasing trend of convenience shopping, unplanned purchase behavior, and small-sized purchases. In the wake of this increasing competition to offer convenience shopping and quicker deliveries, businesses employing tech-driven Q-commerce solutions will witness substantial business growth. 

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Most of Our Products are Built in India: Puneet Chandok of Microsoft India
Most of Our Products are Built in India: Puneet Chandok of Microsoft India

In a spirited discussion on AI and the retail industry, Puneet Chandok, President of Microsoft India and South Asia delved deeply into India's role in transforming the world through Artificial Intelligence and technology enablement. He discussed Microsoft's commitment to India, not only in training Indian talent but also in leveraging it.

On Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had praised the Tech Entrepreneurs Association of Mumbai (TEAM) for hosting Mumbai Tech Week and their ongoing involvement in building tech startups in the country. During a panel discussion with Haptik CEO Aakrit Vaish at Mumbai Tech Week, Puneet Chandok, President of Microsoft India and South Asia, emphasized the transformative impact AI could have on various aspects of daily life.

Chandok stated, “When we look at India through the lens of demand, supply, and impact, there is no other market like India today. There are 7,000 listed companies in India and one hundred thousand startups. Many startups are in Maharashtra, and one hundred new startups are emerging in India every day. India is the largest SMB market globally, making it one of the most exciting markets today.”

He further added, “When we look at the supply lens and examine Microsoft's data, one out of four projects on AI in GitHub today is run out of India. Every sixth AI researcher in the world is from India. In the next ten years, 25 percent of the global workforce will come from India, meaning every fourth worker in the world will be from India.”

Discussing the growing influence and power of Artificial Intelligence, Chandok mentioned, “Last night, my 12-year-old daughter was creating text-to-video, and she told me that AI will change her life. She is an artist; she draws and paints. This also indicates how the younger generation perceives AI.”

Expanding on this, Chandok continued, “People will stop searching and instead have conversations. I have stopped searching myself; in fact, I was conversing with my Copilot to understand what is happening at the event and what I should speak about. We have shifted from searching to genuine conversations. This is not just chat drama anymore. These are sophisticated engines providing reasoning within.”

Regarding his personal perspective, Chandok remarked, “People say AI is overhyped, but I think it's not hyped enough. The next generation, which will use this in the next few years, will have much higher expectations of what technology can do for them. So, how you build it for that generation, how you build it for that future, will be really interesting to see."

Chandok also emphasized that those who do not embrace AI, risk falling behind in the rapidly evolving technological landscape. He encouraged Indian developers to seize the "lifetime opportunity" to become unstoppable by learning to use and deploy AI effectively.

He concluded, “If you are not learning AI, you are falling behind. I myself spend 30 minutes a day to learn more about AI. Technology is changing every day, and it has been 15 months since ChatGPT was launched. The speed of technology diffusion is unlike anything I have seen in my life, and it is advancing very rapidly. My call to action for everyone is to find a way to learn, otherwise, we will all fall behind.”


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