Challenges and Tactics of E-commerce for Beauty and Wellness Brands
Challenges and Tactics of E-commerce for Beauty and Wellness Brands

E-commerce at the most basic level is empowering people with the ability to shop from the comfort of their homes. Online shopping has shaped consumer behavior across geographies and also vice versa. For example, online shopping in America has been a game of speedy delivery and great customer service for over a decade whereas in South Asia or the Indian subcontinent it is still more of a discounting game. But with more time being spent online and the audience maturity level getting increased across the globe, we can say that consumer behavior is becoming more fluid and people are adapting to trends from across the seas. 

The last decade has witnessed tremendous growth in the Indian e-commerce industry. On one hand, we have seen giants like Amazon and Flipkart taking a big chunk of the market share in terms of the total GMV being sold online, while on the other hand, we have seen the emergence of niche companies like Nykaa disrupting the beauty and wellness segment. The question here arises, is there still more room for disruption in online commerce specifically in the beauty and wellness category? 

Being optimistic that I am, I would say it’s just the beginning and there is a lot that has to happen under the Indian sky of online commerce. The pessimist in me says, although a lucrative segment, it is definitely not a cakewalk. 

What makes Indian e-commerce, especially the beauty and wellness segment attractive is the demographic richness and diversity in cultural values. India has seen a surge in both the spending power and also the trust for online shopping across all age groups and geographic locations across the country. A couple of years back online shopping was simply confined to the metros but things have changed and the next big hotspots are the tier-II cities. The pandemic has only increased the madness and spree of online shopping. 

So let’s deep dive into the challenges one is going to face while shifting to or starting an online commerce brand in the beauty and wellness segment. 

Niche & Value Proposition - With innumerous brands popping up every day and the existence of giants and almost monopolies in this category it is getting extremely difficult to get the attention of your audience and convert them into paying customers. Operating in a niche and identifying a unique value proposition in the B&W segment will give you a competitive edge over more generic brands. The niche could be gender-specific like men's care or concern-specific like hair care. It could also be category-specific like non-toxic alternatives to conventional personal care products.  In reality, everything would boil down to a real problem and identifying people who are ready to pay for the solution you are providing. This step is the most important as it would pave the way for your brand's core messaging and in turn your connection with the target audience. 

A very generic beauty and wellness brand will either need to have deep pockets for extreme discounting and ad spending or have a unique technology aspect like hyper-personalization to actually compete and stand out in this crowded market. Nykaa could compete with Amazon and Flipkart because of its unique business model (inventory model) rather than the conventional marketplace model. This helped them solve the problem of counterfeit products that were rampant in the beauty industry. 

Value proposition would also determine your pricing strategy which if not done correctly is definitely going to kill you before you even take off.  A right value proposition placed in front of the correct audience can help you demand a 25-30 percent premium over conventional products.

Acquiring the Customer - Identifying your brand's core segment is definitely half work done but not the tough work done. The tough part is reaching out to your audience with your brand's message and converting them into paying customers. 

-    Reaching Out: From search engine optimization to social media presence and paid advertisement, the modern world of e-commerce offers us a plethora of channels to broadcast our message to the world. The deep targeting and understanding of consumer behavior that is offered by social media and search engine giants have given every David a custom slingshot to fight the Goliaths of the business world. You will have to identify every channel where your audience hangs out and reach out to them with a 360-degree experience that is non-intrusive and is native to the platform you are using.  The challenge here is to build an authentic story that is appealing and attracts the attention of your target audience. The more genuine your story is, the more it will relate to your target audience. In all the fakeness of social media, there is still a price left for authenticity. 

-    Converting: Once you have already delivered your brand's message and the audience is on your website, the next big challenge is to help them make a purchase. This would require structuring your website through psychological insights and best web practices. It would entail endless experiments of A/B testing your different versions and seeing which delivers the best result. The standard conversion rate in  B&W e-commerce is 2 percent of conversion i.e out of every 100 audiences you will have 2 paying customers. The challenge would be to reach this standard and then beyond.  One of the best ways of converting your audience is to give them the solution to their problems then and there. This can be done excellently with real-time chat tools which can either deploy AI bots for an immediate reply or human consultants. The more personalized and real-time the experience is for an audience, the higher the chances of conversion. 

Customer Retention and Loyalty - What differentiates great and successful brands from mediocre ones is the ability to continuously bring their customers back and build a loyal fan base. Everything else will evaporate in thin air. 

Customer loyalty will depend on three different factors : 
1)    Genuineness of your solution/ product
2)    Customer experience
3)    How does he benefit from being your loyal customer

If we look at all these factors, the first is the most important as it will either make or break the trust your audience entitled you with when he made the first purchase. If your product really solves the problem, the customer is definitely going to come back, if it doesn’t no matter what you offer him, he ain't coming back.

The second factor is also important because even if your product is good but the overall customer experience including delivery of the product and post-delivery queries isn’t good enough the customer is less likely to be coming back. One of the other factors in this modern social world is how you engage with your audience on social media. You should align yourself with the thoughts and aspirations of your target audience. 

The third factor is a loyalty program which is definitely going to help you in the long run. Every returning customer should be rewarded and appreciated for believing in your vision of a better beauty and wellness world. 

 
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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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Maharashtra is the Startup Capital of India: Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis
Maharashtra is the Startup Capital of India: Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis
 

Igniting the debate on the Mumbai versus Bengaluru startup ecosystem, Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, during Mumbai Tech Week, remarked that Maharashtra is the startup capital while Pune is the tech capital of the country. Fadnavis also mentioned that the Maharashtra government is in active talks with 2-3 global tech giants to help them establish their tech operations in Maharashtra.

Devendra Fadnavis, Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra, launched Mumbai Megapolis Metaverse during Mumbai Tech Week organized by Tech Entrepreneurs Association of Mumbai (TEAM).

During the Fireside Chat with Rishi Darda, Joint MD and ED of Lokmat Media Group, remarked, “I must tell you that when we talk about the startup ecosystem, Bengaluru and Hyderabad are boasted as good startup ecosystems, but let me tell you that the actual reality, as per the numbers, is that Maharashtra is the startup capital.”

Fadnavis said, “The highest number of startups which are functional (those that have not moved to Bengaluru) are in Maharashtra, and the highest number of Unicorns, out of all the registered startups in India, are in Maharashtra, while 25 percent of the Unicorns are also housed in Maharashtra. Ultimately, the future of the startup ecosystem is Artificial Intelligence and technology, and now with the capacity of Data Center that we have created. I think that the entire future belongs to Mumbai.”

Elaborating on the issue of affordability of living in Mumbai, Fadnavis said, “Mumbai had become unaffordable for many, and that is why people shifted to other cities. But now, we are making Mumbai affordable. Once Mumbai becomes affordable, it will be the city of dreams. One should note that nobody wants to move out of Mumbai and in fact, people want to come to Mumbai.”

Talking about future plans for the tech startups in Maharashtra, Fadnavis said, “We have planned something very big with TEAM for the tech and Startup industry. TEAM really represents Mumbai and this will bring back Mumbai to its true position. Maharashtra was the first state in 2016 in which we came up with the startup policy and startup fund. We are now pushing to create a new startup policy to make the ecosystem much more effective and make it most attractive in the country. The future of startups belongs to Maharashtra.”

It was in 2023, Google began construction on its new Hyderabad campus. The office, which will be a 3 million ft structure, and located in the Financial District of the city, will be Google’s largest office anywhere outside the US, and its second-largest office worldwide after the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, California.

Talking about the big tech companies investing in other states rather than in Maharashtra, Fadnavis said, “I must tell you that the biggest investment in data centers is being made in Maharashtra. Recently, we went to Pune and entered into an MoU with Google, the search engine giant, to utilize artificial intelligence for agriculture, healthcare, and education solutions.”

He elaborated further and said, “The country head of Google told me that we will pitch Pune as the tech city. So today, not just Mumbai, Pune is the tech capital. In fact, many times Pune is overshadowed by Mumbai. But every tech company is present in Pune. Not only Pune but they are present in Nagpur and other Tier II cities as well.”

Discussing the role of government in bringing tech companies to the state, Fadnavis said, “As a government, we are in active talks with tech giants to offer them good facilities. They do not require anything from the government, but they just require good governance, which of course, we are committed to giving. There are 2-3 very big tech companies coming to Maharashtra soon.”

 

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From Likes to Profits: How Indian Entrepreneurs are Mastering Social Media Sales Strategies
From Likes to Profits: How Indian Entrepreneurs are Mastering Social Media Sales Strategies
 

India’s dynamic entrepreneurial ecosystem has undergone a remarkable transformation as the mindset of hardworking entrepreneurs shifts from merely contributing towards maximizing profits to employing innovative social media marketing strategies. By 2022, India boasts a staggering 448 million social media users, a number that is projected to exceed 500 million by 2025. According to sources, this massive growth in digital connectivity has become a compelling factor for new entrepreneurs who, not only specializing in online activity content but tangible digital communication, have also mastered the art of turning it into money.

From the vibrant streets of Delhi to the bustling industrial areas of Bengaluru, this article delves into the business minds of clever Indians. These forward-thinking individuals have successfully harnessed the power of social media, reshaping traditional business models and establishing a unique footprint in a fiercely competitive market. As we absorb their story, we unravel the ongoing narrative of 19th-century labor.

Growing Fraction of Social Media Marketing in India

Forget tea shops and boutiques; India’s shopping scene is going digital! Social media marketing is exploding, fueled by a 54 percent internet penetration rate and the fastest-growing smartphone market in the world. With 270 million users glued to their screens, local platforms like Meeshow and Spark give the giants a run for their money. Throw in the power of influencers – 77 percent of Indians trust their recommendations – and you have a recipe for a retail revolution. From regional-style sarees to handmade chai kits, brands weave lifestyle stories that sell, captivate, and swipe at the same time.

How to Master the Art of Social Marketing

Today's savvy entrepreneurs are garnering millions of "likes" in the art of social marketing.

  • Spicy Stuff: Think mouth-watering food demos, insightful local fashion tips, and interactive Q&As that tap into your audience’s appetite. 80 percent of Indians engage with relevant content.
  • Understanding the Market: Go beyond still photos! 46 percent of Indians make purchases while watching a live stream, so showcase your products in action, answer questions in real-time, and turn shopping into a virtual celebration.
  • Influencer Chai Parties: Partner with local social stars who inspire your niche. Their recommendations carry the weight of trusted "auntie" advice, influencing 77 percent of Indian consumers.
  • Ultra-Local Haats: Dining for everyone! Tailor your offerings to regional tastes and celebrations. From Kerala handmade sarees to Rajasthani spices, celebrate the diversity of India and watch the benefits dance.
  • Customer Service with a "Hello": Treat every "like" like your digital tavern guests. Respond promptly, answer questions cheerfully, and provide seamless customer service. 64 percent of people in India switch brands due to poor online experiences, so make them feel like family!

Takeaways

Content King (and Queen): 80 percent of Indians engage with relevant content, so make it come alive like your Holi! Embrace the available market: 46 percent buy after a live stream, so showcase your products in action and turn shopping into a virtual fair! Find your local influencers: They are the trusted "aunties" of the digital world, influencing 77 percent of Indian consumers. Partner with the right ones and watch your brand sizzle! The ultra-local is ultra-powerful: from saris to perfumes, it caters to regional tastes and celebrations. India’s diversity is your goldmine! Customer Service with a "Hello": Treat every interaction like a hot cup of tea. 64 percent of people switch brands for a negative experience online, so make them feel like family! Remember that India’s social selling revolution has just begun. Grab your apron, stir up some fun, and watch your business rise like a fragrant dosa on a Sunday morning!

 

About the Author

Gaurav Bhagat, Managing Director, Consortium Gifts

Gaurav Bhagat, Managing Director, Consortium Gifts 

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Retail Brands Embrace AI Revolution for Future Growth
Retail Brands Embrace AI Revolution for Future Growth
 

In a rapidly evolving landscape, retail brands are recognizing the imperative need to integrate Artificial Intelligence (AI) for sustained growth. At the recent Microsoft AI Tour in Mumbai, Puneet Chandok, Microsoft Country Head, hailed India as a formidable force in this AI-driven era.

Microsoft commenced 2024 with a groundbreaking move, launching the professional version of its AI chatbot, Copilot. Boasting capabilities such as custom GPTs and seamless Office integration, this innovation positions Microsoft at the forefront of AI advancements.

The impact of Microsoft's AI tools on the company's performance is evident, with an impressive 18% year-on-year revenue surge, exceeding $60 billion from September to December. Satya Nadella, Microsoft's Chairman and CEO, emphasized the shift from theoretical discussions on AI to its widespread application across their tech stack.

Nadella said, "We’ve moved from talking about AI to applying AI at scale. By infusing AI across every layer of our tech stack, we’re winning new customers and helping drive new benefits and productivity gains across every sector.”

At the heart of Microsoft's commitment to AI integration is a comprehensive approach, infusing AI across all layers of technology to win new customers and drive productivity gains across sectors, as Nadella stated during the Q4 earnings call.

A detailed breakout session at the event, titled "Empowering Retail in the Era of AI", featured Samik Roy, Executive Director of Corporate, Medium, and Small Businesses at Microsoft, Praveen Shrikhande, Chief Digital and Information Officer at Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail and Sandeep Jabbal, Chief Digital Transformation and Information Officer at Shoppers Stop .

Roy shed light on the transformative role of AI in the retail industry, citing examples of retail brands benefitting from Microsoft's AI-powered solutions.

Roy underscored the accelerated digital transformation prompted by the pandemic, with educational institutions planning to incorporate AI and ChatGPT into their operations. He identified the retail industry, spanning hypermarkets, supermarkets, shops, and company-owned retail stores, as actively leveraging AI in various capacities.

Highlighting the potential synergy between cloud and data, Roy advocated for the integration of AI Language Models (LLMs) and Speech Language Models (SLMs) to unlock new possibilities and enhance organizational capabilities.

Responsible AI usage took center stage in Roy's discussion, with an emphasis on adherence to design, security, compliance, and coding standards. Notably, key figures like Satya Nadella, Sam Altman of OpenAI, and Sundar Pichai of Google were invited at the White House for an in-depth discussion on the responsible AI rulebook.

Praveen Shrikhande, Chief Digital and Information Office, Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail shared insights into the use case of AI in enhancing sustainability within the retail fashion sector. Shrikhande highlighted AI's role in reducing wastage and streamlining recycling processes, contributing to sustainable manufacturing practices.

Sandeep Jabbal, Chief Digital Transformation and Information Officer, Shoppers Stop, emphasized AI's multifaceted impact on organizations. From suggesting tailored products for consumers to enabling trend predictions by Gen AI, Babbal stressed that embracing AI is not just a trend but a necessity for survival in the ever-changing business landscape.

Jabbal said, “Today trend predictions by Gen AI is helping brands tremendously, making it easier for brands to strategize its product designs and promotional strategies. Embracing AI will be the buzz word and a company who doesn’t work with AI will not survive for long. People have to be ready and adapt the change." 

Jabbal dispelled concerns about job displacement, asserting that AI will catalyze transformative changes led by big tech companies rather than replace human roles. As retail brands increasingly recognize the power of AI, its responsible and strategic integration emerges as a key driver for future success.

 

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E-Commerce and Beyond: How Automation and Robotics Are Shaping the Future of Last-Mile Delivery
E-Commerce and Beyond: How Automation and Robotics Are Shaping the Future of Last-Mile Delivery
 

In the fast-paced world of e-commerce, last-mile delivery has developed into a crucial battleground for those looking to satisfy customer expectations. Precise, timely, and error-free deliveries can lead to satisfied customers, while delays or mistakes can result in dissatisfaction. As the e-commerce landscape evolves, the integration of automation and robotics emerges as a transformative solution to overcome the challenges associated with last-mile logistics. Automation is at the forefront of this transformative shift and is actively developing solutions to redefine last-mile logistics and enhance efficiency.

Efficiency in last-mile logistics begins within distribution centers and warehouses. Robotic arms, conveyor systems, and automated guided vehicles (AGVs) are increasingly deployed to enhance order fulfilment speed. The use of robots in Indian warehouses is on the rise, recognizing their potential to improve operational efficiency. However, careful consideration of factors like existing infrastructure and workforce adaptability is crucial for successful integration.

Drones and other last-mile delivery technologies, such as autonomous delivery systems, enroute manufacturing, robotic stores on wheels, and delivery lockers, are emerging as promising solutions for the future of e-commerce. These innovative solutions are part of the vision for the future of e-commerce. Combined with the expertise, these can revolutionize delivery processes, making them faster, more cost-effective, and more reliable.

Major e-commerce retailers continue to innovate, pushing for fast delivery options. Consumer expectations for convenience, speed, and affordability have risen, placing substantial pressure on retailers' bottom lines. Shorter delivery times have become a determining factor for online shoppers, influencing purchasing decisions.

The rise of automation has revolutionized e-commerce fulfilment, streamlining operations from order processing to shipping. Robotics, AI, and machine learning are examples of technologies have significantly improved efficiency, reduced errors, and enhanced overall productivity. Faster order processing, accurate inventory updates, and reliable shipping information enhance customer satisfaction and foster brand loyalty.

Technology-driven fulfilment systems empower e-commerce businesses to scale efficiently, adapt to fluctuating demand, and make data-driven decisions. Cloud-based platforms and on-demand warehousing solutions provide greater flexibility. Data analytics offer valuable insights into customer behavior, inventory levels, and shipping patterns.

Fulfilment centers equipped with automation technologies are becoming crucial for quick order processing in hyper-urban locations. These centers contribute to fulfilling the instant gratification needs of customers and form a significant part of automating the last mile.

While integrating automation technologies promises transformative benefits, it has challenges. The substantial initial investment, regulatory hurdles, safety concerns, and the essential role of human involvement in handling exceptions and customer interactions must be considered. The last mile is among the most expensive and challenging parts of the delivery process. The perennial debate on whether customers are willing to pay for deliveries and returns has led companies to seek ways to optimize, automate, and reduce the cost of last-mile delivery. Challenges like training and retaining last-mile delivery executives are addressed through automation, reducing dependency and minimizing errors.

Last-mile delivery automation is the final piece of the puzzle in the rapidly evolving world of e-commerce. Whoever successfully solves this puzzle stands to gain the greatest advantage. While challenges exist, the integration of automation and robotics holds the key to shaping the future of last-mile delivery, offering businesses the opportunity to enhance efficiency, reduce costs, and meet the ever-growing expectations of online shoppers. The journey toward an automated last mile is not without obstacles. Still, the rewards in terms of customer satisfaction, operational excellence, and market leadership make it a strategic imperative for e-commerce players worldwide.

Nirav Doshi, Founder and Managing Director, NIDO Group

Nirav Doshi, Founder and Managing Director, NIDO Group

 

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Redefining the Online Shopping Landscape: Unveiling Shifting Trends and Growth Patterns
Redefining the Online Shopping Landscape: Unveiling Shifting Trends and Growth Patterns
 

In the ever-evolving landscape of online shopping, the traditional dominance of metros and Tier I cities is undergoing a transformation. While comprising only 14 percent of the total population, these urban centers command a significant 43 percent share of online shoppers, according to a recent report by Alliance Bernstein. However, as the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold, growth patterns are experiencing a notable shift.

As we navigate the post-COVID era, the dynamics of online shopping are undergoing a profound transformation. The expansion into Tier II and beyond, the normalization of growth patterns, and the influence of seasonal trends underscore the resilience and adaptability of the online market. The evolving landscape presents both challenges and opportunities, making it imperative for internet companies to stay agile and responsive to ever-changing consumer behaviors.

Changing Trends

The overall monthly shopper base (MTUs) has surged, constituting 31 percent of Active User Base (ATUs), a considerable leap from the pre-COVID figure of 23 percent. This signals a maturation of the online user base, with an evident rise in the frequency of online shopping activities. Concurrently, internet companies are strategically expanding their supply chains into Tier II and beyond, capitalizing on improving consumer bases and ordering metrics in these cities.

Post-COVID Normalization of Growth

Across various internet sub-segments, user growth is gradually normalizing after the initial COVID-induced traction. Particularly, in severely under-penetrated markets like grocery delivery, which accounted for less than 1 percent of total grocery retail spend, there was a remarkable surge in active user base, peaking at an impressive 228 percent YoY growth in July 2022. Meanwhile, slightly mature sectors such as E-Commerce and Fashion continue to witness sustained growth rates, fueled by increased competition from a plethora of Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) platforms.

OTT's Uptick

The Over-The-Top (OTT) segment experienced an uptick towards the end of the year, showcasing a 10 percent increase in Monthly Active Users (MAUs) in July-23, which escalated to an impressive 55 percent increase in MAUs by November-23. This surge was attributed to the broadcast of World Cup screenings, especially in cricket (ICC World Cup, T20) and football (FIFA World Cup). Noteworthy gainers in this arena were Jio Cinema and Disney+Hotstar, boasting exclusive broadcasting rights.

Redefining the Online Shopping Landscape: Unveiling Shifting Trends and Growth Patterns

Seasonality Trends

Three sectors have emerged as notable examples of strong seasonality trends. Firstly, in the realm of E-Commerce, the festive season in October drives the highest uptick in active user base, culminating in end-of-year sales across various categories. Secondly, Fashion Commerce, particularly apparel-led firms, experiences two festive seasons each year, with Q1 and Q3 being the strongest quarters, propelling user growth through end-of-season sales. Lastly, Digital OTT's key growth driver lies in sports content viewership, primarily cricket and football, with platforms like Jio Cinema and Disney+Hotstar securing exclusive broadcasting rights.

Redefining the Online Shopping Landscape: Unveiling Shifting Trends and Growth Patterns 

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Gen AI Takes Center Stage: 71 pc of Retailers Set to Adopt within Next 12 Months
Gen AI Takes Center Stage: 71 pc of Retailers Set to Adopt within Next 12 Months
 

The retail industry, recognized for its adaptability, is standing at the threshold of a transformative era with the advent of Generation AI (Gen AI). Traditionally relying on data to predict consumer behavior and manage inventories, the industry is now poised to leverage Gen AI for unprecedented insights and efficiency gains across the entire retail value chain. Here we explore the potential impact of Gen AI on the retail landscape.

Gen AI in Retail: A Paradigm Shift

Traditionally reliant on data for predicting consumer behavior and managing inventories, the retail sector is now gearing up to leverage Gen AI for a seismic shift in operations. Recent findings from a comprehensive survey conducted by EY underscores this readiness, revealing that 6 percent of the surveyed audience has already implemented Gen AI, while a staggering 71 percent within the retail sector plans to adopt it within the next 12 months.

The Promise of Gen AI in Retail

Gen AI touted as the next frontier in artificial intelligence, holds the promise of revolutionizing the retail experience by tapping into vast repositories of unstructured data. The survey projects current AI investments in the retail sector, estimated at $5 billion, to skyrocket to $31 billion by 2028. An overwhelming 88 percent of respondents within the retail sector believe that Gen AI will have a medium to high impact on their business.

Impact Areas: Beyond Customer Experience

While 76 percent of respondents foresee the highest impact on customer experience, the industry is also actively exploring Gen AI's potential impact on product innovation (65 percent), cost reduction (54 percent), and the entire value chain (50 percent). This signals a comprehensive approach, where Gen AI is seen as a catalyst for positive change across various aspects of retail operations.

Economic Implications: Gen AI's Contribution to Profitability

According to the EY report, by 2025, Gen AI could potentially elevate the retail sector’s profitability by a substantial 20 percent. The technology not only reduces overheads but also has the potential to significantly boost sales through tailored consumer experiences. This economic implication positions Gen AI as a critical driver of financial success for retailers.

Global Hub: India's Potential in Gen AI Retail Solutions

Given its IT prowess, India is positioned to emerge as a global nucleus for Gen AI retail solutions. Even local retailers can leverage Gen AI tools to provide 'hyper-local' personalized shopping experiences, contributing to the technology's global adoption.

Industry Insights and Leadership Perspective

Angshuman Bhattacharya, National Leader – Consumer Product and Retail Sector, EY India, shared valuable insights, emphasizing that Gen AI is not just a technological leap but a seismic shift in how retailers adapt, innovate, and enhance customer experiences. He stressed the importance of leadership in navigating the AI revolution, balancing innovation with the responsibility to craft a future where technology enriches shopping experiences with integrity and transparency.

Challenges and Ethical Considerations: Privacy at the Forefront

Despite the enthusiasm for Gen AI, the retail industry faces challenges and ethical dilemmas, particularly concerning privacy. As the technology promises valuable insights through features like real-time promotions using location tracking, transparency in data usage becomes imperative. The survey reveals that 80 percent of organizations express low-to-moderate readiness, citing unclear use cases and a skills gap. Currently, 82 percent prefer partnerships with external tech providers for Gen AI implementation.

READ MORE: India's E-Retail Market Poised to Soar Beyond $160 Billion by 2028

Navigating the Gen AI Revolution in Retail

As the retail industry embraces the Gen AI revolution, the integration of this technology brings with it a responsibility to address privacy, ethical considerations, and workforce readiness. Industry leaders must navigate this transformative era, ensuring that Gen AI not only drives profits but also enhances shopping experiences with integrity and transparency. The journey toward a future shaped by Gen AI requires a delicate balance between innovation and responsibility, marking a new chapter in the evolution of the retail landscape.

 

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The Phygital Edge: Cohesive Online and Offline Engagement to Skyrocket Customer Satisfaction
The Phygital Edge: Cohesive Online and Offline Engagement to Skyrocket Customer Satisfaction
 

Even though online shopping has become a staple choice for Indian consumers, physical stores are still popular destinations. Little wonder, then, that a digitally enabled physical space (with the best of both worlds) holds all the aces today in customer engagement.

Take, for instance, the sports gear brand Decathlon, which provides hassle-fee shopping with a phygital approach. With features like scan and go, a virtual reality zone, and a welcome zone at its store, Decathlon has seamlessly fused its physical stores with online buying experiences.

This shift isn’t just limited to popular apparel retailers and extends to the D2C stratosphere. Changing the face of the Kirana ecosystem are marquee players like Reliance Retail and D-Mart. Reliance has enhanced its D2C offerings with JioMart, and D-Mart has launched D-Mart Ready, the new formats that seamlessly combine physical retailing with online shopping.

Why the Shift to Phygital Engagement

Because the Indian customers say so!

Indians actively seek brands that go above and beyond after that first purchase. Consider a scenario where brand A, a show retailer, sells a pair of Oxfords to a customer, takes their money, and ends the interaction with a “Thank you for your order” email with the shipping details. Now imagine another shoe retailer, brand B, follows the same path but doesn’t end the interaction at the shipping details email. Brand B reaches out to the customer with relevant shoe recommendations of Brogues (a formal-wear shoe) on WhatsApp, aligned with the customer’s interest in Oxfords (also a formal-wear shoe). The customer mentioned above gets relevant coupon codes in their email and priority notifications for sales, referral codes, etc. There is no need to specify which of the two brands secures a loyal customer just from that single transaction.

The bottom line is that customers expect consistent engagement across all channels. In fact, siloed messaging across channels is one of the primary reasons for negative customer experiences. 

The findings from a recent study on the personalization pulse of Indian consumers corroborate this sentiment. A significant proportion of consumers surveyed (40.5 percent) said they interact with a brand across 2-3 channels before making a purchase. Therefore, brands that respond with a cohesive customer experience that is consistent and seamless across various channels to meet the diverse preferences of their customers will stay ahead of the game.

So, What’s the Hold-up?

While the perks of having an omnichannel/phygital customer engagement strategy are numerous, a couple of issues hamper adopting this approach for the better.

● Data silos are one of the biggest barriers brands face while adopting an omnichannel strategy. When confronted with isolated and unconnected data, brands have to look into manually merging segmented data gathered from different channels and sources. Naturally, the entire process becomes quite expensive and time-consuming.

● Conversations across all channels must be consistent and aligned completely. It is frustrating for the customers if the brand engages with them through contradictory communication. Channels have to collaborate their data in real-time to offer seamless omnichannel experiences.

Choosing the Right Engagement Partner to Ensure Maximum ROI

The cornerstone of a successful omnichannel approach is building strong customer relationships through personalized and highly satisfactory shopping experiences. Over time, the direct results are increased average order values (AOV) and higher retention rates. However, as mentioned before, creating consistent customer experiences across channels takes time and effort. To overcome these challenges, brands should invest in an insights-led customer engagement platform (or CEP).

Why?

Well, such an AI-powered platform can:

  • Help brands garner deep-level insights like what the most-used channels are by their customers
  • Map entire customer journeys
  • Identify gaps between channels that are causing friction in the customers’ experiences
  • Create a unified engagement strategy across channels that gets optimized in real-time.

Furthermore, a well-equipped CEP helps optimize costs (a one-stop solution to say goodbye to multiple tools and channel providers) and increases operational efficiency significantly (through AI-powered functionalities, reducing the manual effort required to orchestrate campaigns).

An integrated omnichannel/phygital strategy can solidify a brand’s footing in the customers’ hearts, ergo, keeps them coming back for more. It all boils down to who the brand’s trusted engagement partner is and how they utilize the platform. As rightfully quoted by Sean Gerety, “The technology you use impresses no one. The experience you create with it is everything.”

Raviteja Dodda 

 

 

 Author: Raviteja Dodda, CEO & Co-Founder, MoEngage

 

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Vibrant Gujarat 2024: Charting the Future of Indian E-commerce
Vibrant Gujarat 2024: Charting the Future of Indian E-commerce
 

The ongoing Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit 2024 is not merely a congregation of leaders and policymakers; it is a melting pot of ideas and strategies that promise to shape the future of various industries. One such crucial domain under discussion was the digitalization of e-commerce. A seminar titled 'E-Commerce: Business at Fingertips' on January 11, held at the Mahatma Mandir Convention Centre, brought together industry leaders and experts to delve into the role of technology, artificial intelligence, and cross-border policies in the evolution of the Indian e-commerce landscape.

The seminar, headed by Pankaj Mall, Founder Director of Astittva Welfare Foundation, and Business Catalyst at Farmitopia Pvt Ltd, featured a distinguished panel - Prof. Triveni Singh IPS, Superintendent of Police, Cyber Crime, Uttar Pradesh Cyber Police; Vishal Mehta, Chairman & Managing Director at Infibeam Avenues Ltd; and Samar Singla, CEO/Founder at Jungle Works/Jugnoo, added their valuable perspectives to the discussion.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Cybersecurity is Paramount: In an era of heightened cyber threats, awareness campaigns and robust cybersecurity measures are crucial for the effective functioning of a digital economy.
  2. Financial Inclusivity Drives Growth: Digital payments and financial inclusivity are not just trends; they are powerful tools that open doors for small entrepreneurs, fostering economic growth.
  3. Grassroots Empowerment Unleashes Potential: The focus on empowering entrepreneurs in Tier II and Tier III cities can unlock tremendous opportunities, creating a ripple effect of job creation and economic development.
  4. Government Support is Crucial: Collaborative efforts between the government and private sector, as seen in Gujarat, play a pivotal role in fostering a conducive environment for e-commerce growth.

E-commerce in India: A Growth Trajectory

India is poised to become the world's second-largest e-commerce industry by 2034, according to a report from Shiprocket. The country currently ranks as the ninth highest contributor to global cross-border trade growth. Pankaj Mall - Founder Director – Astittva Welfare Foundation, Business Catalyst, Farmitopia Pvt Ltd added, "The seminar aims to enable stakeholders to benefit from the opportunities arising from progressive digitalization of the domestic economy, mainstreaming segments of our economy, and enabling domestic players to sustain themselves in the digital economy."

Empowering Grassroots Entrepreneurs

Samar Singla - CEO/Founder at Jungle Works / Jugnoo passionately advocated for the empowerment of entrepreneurs at the grassroots level. He stated, "The focus should be on India, especially Tier II and Tier III cities. Transactionally cheap technology, necessary training, and effective branding can unlock immense potential, creating millions of grassroots jobs."

Digital Payments and Financial Inclusivity

Vishal Mehta - Chairman & Managing Director at Infibeam Avenues Ltd underscored the permanence of digital payments and the significant opportunities they bring. He emphasized, "Financial inclusivity opens doors for small entrepreneurs, providing them with vast opportunities. The synergy of technology and inclusivity creates an environment conducive to growth."

Cybersecurity: Safeguarding the Digital Realm

Prof. Triveni Singh highlighted the urgent need for cybersecurity awareness, emphasizing the exponential rise in cybercrime. He stressed, "There is a requirement of awareness campaigns which should not only target the corporates but every individual residing in the country to maintain cyber hygiene. As Cybersecurity is not just a necessity; it's a prerequisite for the effective realization of Digital India."

Gujarat's E-commerce Initiatives

The seminar also shed light on Gujarat's efforts to boost e-commerce. Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel's launch of IndiaHandmade.com last year, an online platform for artisan weavers, exemplifies the state's commitment to digitalization. Partnerships with Flipkart and Amazon further illustrate Gujarat's dedication to supporting local businesses in reaching a global audience.

A Vision for Viksit Bharat@2047

The seminar concluded with a vision for the future - 'Viksit Bharat@2047.' The discussions not only highlighted the opportunities presented by progressive digitalization but also underscored the need for inclusive growth, where every segment of the economy, from large businesses to grassroots entrepreneurs, can thrive.

As India inches closer to becoming the world's second-largest e-commerce industry, it is imperative to address the challenges and leverage the opportunities that digitalization brings. The insights shared by industry stalwarts at the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit 2024 emphasize the collaborative effort required from policymakers, businesses, and individuals alike to realize the full potential of a digitized and inclusive e-commerce landscape.

 

 

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India's E-Retail Industry Projected to Soar Beyond $160 bn by 2028
India's E-Retail Industry Projected to Soar Beyond $160 bn by 2028
 

In a recent collaborative report by Bain & Company and Flipkart, the e-retail market in India is projected to witness a remarkable surge, surpassing the $160 billion mark by 2028. The study highlights key factors contributing to this growth, such as affordable data, enhanced logistics and fintech infrastructure, and robust digital consumer ecosystems.

Current Scenario and Growth Projections

As of 2023, the Indian e-retail market is expected to range between $57-60 billion, with an annual shopper base of approximately 240 million. This represents an annual addition of $8-12 billion since 2020. Despite this substantial growth, online spending in India constitutes only 5-6 percent of total retail spending, indicating vast potential for expansion. In comparison, the United States and China boast online spending percentages of 23-24 percent and 35 percent, respectively.

The report anticipates a rebound in the market, with growth levels reaching 23-25 percent in the coming years. By 2028, the e-retail market is poised to surpass $160 billion, showcasing massive headroom for growth.

Driving Factors and Opportunities

The report underscores the enduring fundamentals of India's e-retail industry, including factors such as affordable data, improved logistics, and a thriving fintech infrastructure. With 94-95 percent of retail spending still happening offline, there is immense scope for the e-retail sector to capture a larger share of the market as GDP per capita increases, particularly beyond the $4,000 mark.

Currently, the per capita income in India stands at around $2,600, and as this figure rises, there is an expected surge in online spending, particularly on discretionary products. The report suggests that the majority of internet users in India, over 60 percent, are yet to embrace online shopping, highlighting the untapped potential within the market.

Expanding Seller Ecosystem

The seller ecosystem in India is rapidly expanding, with twice as many sellers added in 2022 compared to the previous year. Notably, around two-thirds of these new sellers originate from Tier II and smaller cities, indicating a democratization of the e-retail landscape beyond metropolitan areas. More than half of the total seller base is concentrated in seven major cities, including Delhi NCR, Surat, Jaipur, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Kolkata.

Emergence of New Business Models

The e-retail industry in India is witnessing the emergence of innovative business models to cater to evolving consumer needs. These include Quick Commerce (Q-commerce) platforms, Hyper-Value Commerce, Inspiration-Led Commerce (Live Commerce), and Fast Fashion.

Q-commerce, in particular, has experienced significant growth, with orders doubling over the past year and accounting for a substantial portion (40-50 percent) of India's e-grocery spending. The Hyper-Value sector has also witnessed substantial growth, with its share of overall e-retail expanding five times between 2020 and 2022.

In conclusion, the e-retail landscape in India is poised for significant growth, driven by factors such as affordable data, improved logistics, and a flourishing digital ecosystem. The projections of the market surpassing $160 billion by 2028 underscore the tremendous potential within the sector. As the seller ecosystem expands, new business models emerge, and online spending continues to rise, the Indian e-retail market is set to play a pivotal role in shaping the country's retail landscape in the years to come.

 

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Role of VMI in Elevating Supply Chain Management for Indian Businesses
Role of VMI in Elevating Supply Chain Management for Indian Businesses
 

In the dynamic landscape of today's business environment, effective supply chain management is a critical determinant of success. As Indian businesses strive for operational excellence, Vendor-Managed Inventory (VMI) emerges as a strategic solution to streamline processes, enhance efficiency, and elevate supply chain performance. In this innovative model, the supplier assumes a more proactive role, engaging in continuous monitoring of inventory levels, forecasting demand trends, and autonomously replenishing stock as needed. The primary goal of VMI is to create a seamless and efficient inventory management process that benefits both the supplier and the buyer. This method goes beyond the traditional buyer-initiated replenishment process, introducing a more dynamic and synchronized relationship between the two parties.

Key Components of Vendor-Managed Inventory

Real-Time Visibility: Vendor-Managed Inventory (VMI) offers real-time visibility into inventory levels, providing businesses with accurate data for informed decision-making. Leveraging advanced technologies such as IoT and RFID, VMI ensures that inventory data is continually updated, thereby minimizing the risks associated with stockouts or overstock situations.

Demand Forecasting: A key strength of VMI is its capacity to accurately forecast demand. Utilizing data analytics and analyzing historical consumption patterns, suppliers can anticipate future requirements, reducing the likelihood of stock imbalances and optimizing inventory management.

Automated Replenishment: VMI streamlines the replenishment process by introducing automation. This feature enables suppliers to proactively restock inventory levels, reducing the need for manual intervention. The automated replenishment not only enhances efficiency but also ensures timely deliveries, minimizing disruptions in the supply chain.

Trends Shaping the Adoption of VMI

Technology Integration: The integration of cutting-edge technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, is increasingly prevalent in VMI systems. These technologies play a pivotal role in enhancing predictive analytics, providing businesses with more accurate demand forecasts and ultimately contributing to more efficient inventory management.

Collaborative Partnerships: Indian businesses are increasingly recognizing the significance of establishing strong collaborative partnerships with their suppliers. These relationships are built on principles of transparency, trust, and a shared commitment to operational efficiency. By fostering these collaborative ties, businesses aim to create a more integrated and responsive supply chain.

Multi-Location VMI Models: A notable trend in India is the proliferation of multi-location VMI models. This approach allows businesses to synchronize inventory management across various locations, thereby optimizing the supply chain on a broader scale. The adoption of multi-location VMI models reflects a strategic effort to enhance coordination and efficiency in managing inventory across diverse geographical areas.

The Impact of VMI

Improved Efficiency and Cost Savings: VMI significantly improves operational efficiency and generates substantial cost savings by automating inventory management processes. The reduction in manual intervention streamlines operations, enabling businesses to optimize order quantities, minimize carrying costs, and achieve overall cost-effectiveness in their supply chain.

Enhanced Customer Satisfaction: The implementation of VMI ensures a consistent and reliable supply of products, allowing businesses to meet customer demands promptly. This reliability positively impacts customer satisfaction and fosters loyalty, as customers can rely on businesses to consistently deliver the products they need.

Risk Mitigation: VMI plays a crucial role in mitigating risks associated with stockouts or excess inventory. The system's emphasis on accurate demand forecasting and timely replenishments equips businesses to navigate uncertainties and disruptions in the supply chain effectively. This risk mitigation aspect contributes to the overall resilience and stability of Indian businesses adopting VMI practices.

In the intricate landscape of contemporary supply chain management, Vendor-Managed Inventory emerges as a pivotal catalyst for transformative change in Indian businesses. Embracing VMI and aligning with prevailing industry trends enables businesses to strategically position themselves for enduring growth, operational excellence, and a distinctive competitive advantage in the dynamic marketplace. A great VMI program ensures shorter lead times, greater transportation planning, and improved customer experience. Hire a vendor you trust with your sensitive business data to ensure maximum ROI for your business.

Anish Author: Anish Popli, CEO & Founder, ProcMart

 

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Navigating the E-Commerce Landscape: A Year in Review and the Road Ahead
Navigating the E-Commerce Landscape: A Year in Review and the Road Ahead
 

As we bid farewell to the transformative year that was 2023, the Indian e-commerce landscape emerges as a tapestry woven with threads of innovation, adaptability, and resonance with evolving consumer dynamics. Examining the broader industry canvas, we delve into the overarching trends and narratives that shaped the narrative of e-commerce, with a focus on insights from industry leaders, and a synthesis of the journeys undertaken by Myntra and Snapdeal.

The E-Commerce Tapestry: Industry Insights

Macro-Level Growth and Consumer Adoption

At a macro level, e-commerce witnessed an outstanding 26 percent year-on-year order volume growth, reflecting the robustness of the industry. The transformation in consumer preferences, inclining towards innovative product categories and a surge in awareness of sustainable options, has been a pivotal driver of this growth.

Tiered Triumph

One of the standout trends was the remarkable surge in e-commerce adoption from Tier II, III, and IV cities. Over 65 percent of prime members who participated in the festive season shopping hailed from these smaller towns, a substantial increase from the previous year's 50 percent. This shift signifies the democratization of e-commerce, reaching deeper into the heart of India.

SMBs and Artisans Shining

In a heartening turn of events, the festive season witnessed not only the traditional success of blue-chip companies but also a notable rise of Small and Medium-sized Businesses (SMBs), women entrepreneurs, and artisans. A substantial 30 percent increase in SMB participation during the festive season, coupled with a 35 percent surge in sales within the initial 48 hours, paints a picture of inclusivity and economic empowerment.

Seller Success Beyond Metros

Sellers from Tier II and III cities, often overlooked in the grand narrative, emerged as significant contributors. Over 65 percent of sellers who received sales were from these smaller cities, fueled by a robust distribution network that ensured almost 50 percent of all orders were delivered within 2 days or less pan India.

In the words of Mr. Anuj Bhatia, Founder of eTrade, "Apart from the buyers, sellers from Tier II and III cities also witnessed successful strides all around the year. This has been complemented by a large distribution network, making 2023 a year full of opportunities and growth for the industry."

E-Commerce Giants: Myntra and Snapdeal's Unique Stories

Myntra's Fashion Democracy

Myntra, a stalwart in the fashion e-commerce space, embarked on a journey to democratize fashion in India. The platform's milestones in 2023 spoke volumes about its ability to resonate with diverse consumer segments. “From crossing the 75 million mark in new app users to achieving a 100 percent year-on-year growth in loyal customers, our success mirrors a larger narrative of inclusivity,” said Myntra’s spokesperson.

Snapdeal's Niche in Value E-Commerce

On the other end of the spectrum, Snapdeal carved its niche in value e-commerce. By strategically curating its product selection, with over 90 percent of items priced below Rs 1,000, Snapdeal fostered loyalty from budget-conscious consumers. “Our success lies in recognizing the value-seeking, middle-income users predominantly located in Tier II+ cities, offering a wide selection of quality, value-priced products,” stated Himanshu Chakrawarti, CEO, Snapdeal.

Key Industry Strategies and Technological Leaps

Diversity in Product Categories

Both Myntra and Snapdeal observed shifts in consumer preferences in specific product categories. Categories like ethnic wear, sports, and casual footwear, and wearables saw surges in demand. This reflects a nuanced understanding of consumer needs and a commitment to providing a diverse range of products.

Technological Prowess

Technological advancements played a pivotal role in enhancing user experiences across platforms. Features like voice assistance in multiple dialects, AI/ML tools, and data science capabilities were leveraged to make the e-commerce journey seamless. Virtual try-ons, personalized interfaces, and app makeovers were among the strategies to enhance customer engagement and satisfaction.

Sustainable Growth and Focus on Value

The overarching theme across the industry has been a shift towards sustainable growth and a focus on providing value. Snapdeal's emphasis on a curated selection of value products below Rs 1,000 aligns with the industry's recognition that the future of e-commerce revolves around the 'value' segment.

READ MORE: Customer Experience Needs to Be Disrupted With the Power of AI in E-Commerce

Looking Ahead: Sustaining Growth, Innovation, and Customer-Centricity

As we gaze into the future, the e-commerce industry is poised for sustained growth, continued innovation, and a steadfast commitment to customer-centric practices. The stories of Myntra and Snapdeal serve as beacons, showcasing the adaptability and resilience required to thrive in this ever-evolving landscape.

The narrative of e-commerce in India is far from reaching its final chapter. With a focus on inclusivity, sustainability, and technological innovation, the industry is set to unfold new chapters, presenting both challenges and opportunities. The echoes of 2023 reverberate with a promise – a promise of an industry continually redefining itself to meet the diverse needs of a dynamic and ever-growing consumer base.

 

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Customer Experience Needs to Be Disrupted With the Power of AI in E-Commerce
Customer Experience Needs to Be Disrupted With the Power of AI in E-Commerce
 

The Indian e-commerce industry has been growing by leaps and bounds and is expected to surpass the US by 2034 to become the world’s second-largest. In 2022, Indian shoppers spent over 8.7 billion hours on shopping apps, which is almost 50 percent higher than the numbers in 2019. More and more people are now choosing to shop online, demanding seamless, personalized interactions at every touchpoint. This makes it imperative for e-commerce businesses to embrace innovation and introduce exceptional functionalities that ensure remarkable customer experiences. This would further enable them to gain a competitive edge and capture a larger share of the market.

One such powerful tool that has the potential to revolutionize customer experience in the realm of e-commerce is Artificial Intelligence (AI). With its strong data analyzing and predictive capabilities, AI is already making multiple breakthroughs in various aspects of e-commerce operations. Platforms powered by AI can speedily scan and analyze volumes of customer data from various channels to gauge interesting insights about consumer behavior, preferences, shopping patterns, etc. E-commerce businesses can better understand their consumers and use this knowledge to create personalized deals, recommendations, pricing, promotions, and rewards for each buyer. These tailored strategies ultimately increase the chances of successful purchases.

AI chatbots and voice assistants have also evolved significantly and can now drive deep personalized communications with consumers through customized content. In addition to elevating customer experiences, this personalized approach also contributes to improved sales and stronger customer loyalty. When customers feel understood and catered to, they are more likely to make a comeback for future purchases. Interestingly, 89 percent of customers expect e-commerce companies to understand their unique expectations, while a notable 64 percent lose trust in businesses that fail to deliver targeted communication.

AI has also been making great strides in simplifying product search on e-commerce platforms. With the sheer number of products available on any e-commerce platform, finding the right product at times becomes overwhelming for customers. This complexity often prompts shoppers to abandon their carts and leave without making an actual purchase. In India, the average cart abandonment rate is 51 percent. However, with the integration of AI in e-commerce, the search process has been greatly simplified. AI-powered insights enable e-commerce players and aggregators to provide relevant filters and sorting options, which makes it easier for shoppers to quickly find what they need. Moreover, voice search mechanisms that are quick to understand human speech, are playing a key role in changing the dynamics of product search on online shopping platforms.

Additionally, e-commerce companies deal with complex logistics challenges to ensure timely delivery of products to consumers. This happens at the back end and involves massive coordination between various suppliers, warehouses, and shipping partners. AI-driven inventory management has proved to be extremely advantageous in this case. By analyzing historical data and current market conditions, the use of AI allows e-commerce businesses to accurately predict product demand. This knowledge further allows them to optimize their stock levels and mitigate the risks of stock surplus or shortages. The use of AI robots have proved effective in enhancing warehouse efficiency by streamlining order processing and reducing human error. Additionally, AI can efficiently predict lead times, transportation delays, and other supply chain disruptions, which makes it easier for businesses to make proactive adjustments. By automating repetitive tasks and providing real-time insights on the best shipping routes, AI can help businesses deliver products faster, reduce costs, and improve customer satisfaction.

Looking at the current trend, 51 percent of e-commerce businesses have already integrated AI into their operations to create highly distinct customer experiences. The trend is swiftly becoming more widespread, with AI knocking on the doors of many more players. Gazing into the future, as the technology continues to evolve and penetrate deeper into the e-commerce ecosystem, more possibilities for enhancing customer experience are likely to emerge in this space.

Businesses that can harness the disruptive power of AI will secure a long-term advantage in attracting and retaining customers. For others, the battle could prove to be tough, since, in today’s hyper-competitive era, it is always the survival of the fittest.

 

About the Author

Anuj Bhatia, Founder, eTrade

Anuj Bhatia, Founder eTrade

With a passion for innovation and a keen eye for market trends, Anuj founded eTrade in 2010, aiming to revolutionize the way people engage with online commerce. With over 16 years of experience in the industry, Anuj possesses a wealth of knowledge and expertise that has propelled eTrade to become a leading player in the market. Anuj's extensive experience spans across multiple industries, enabling him to effortlessly navigate the ever-evolving business landscape.

 

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Navigating the Dynamic Landscape of Kids' Digital Entertainment Industry in India
Navigating the Dynamic Landscape of Kids' Digital Entertainment Industry in India
 

In the heart of the ever-evolving digital landscape, the Kids' Digital Entertainment Market stands as a dynamic realm, where creativity, technology, and imagination converge to shape the narratives that captivate young minds. A recent panel discussion, featuring industry leaders, delved into the nuances of this fascinating journey, shedding light on cross-media franchises, interactive storytelling, and the transformative impact of technology.

Cross-Media Franchises: Weaving Anime's Tapestry Beyond Screens

The panel discussion kicked off with Ashish Kulkarni, Chairman of AVGC-XR Forum - FICCI & Founder - Punnaryug Artvision, unraveling the trend of anime being adapted into various media forms. He remarked, "Cross-media franchises have become a powerhouse in the kids' entertainment market. The adaptation of anime into video games, novels, and movies creates a multi-dimensional universe that engages fans across different platforms."

This trend mirrors the industry's response to the changing preferences of young audiences. A stroll through the digital landscape reveals iconic anime series seamlessly transcending the boundaries of the screen, extending their narrative prowess into interactive gaming experiences, gripping novels, and blockbuster movies.

The benefits are two-fold, as Kulkarni explains: "Expanding the anime narrative across different media not only broadens the reach but also fosters a deeper connection with the audience. Fans can immerse themselves in the story through diverse mediums, enhancing the overall storytelling experience."

Navigating Challenges: The Tightrope Walk of Expanding Narratives

However, the path to crafting cross-media franchises is not without its challenges. Manoj Mishra, CEO of Powerkids Entertainment, sheds light on the delicate balancing act required. "Maintaining narrative coherence across various platforms is a challenge. Each medium comes with its unique storytelling demands, and harmonizing these elements while staying true to the essence of the original content is crucial."

Mishra's insight reflects the industry's quest for synergy, striving to seamlessly translate the magic of anime into formats that resonate with diverse audiences. This challenge, while daunting, serves as a catalyst for innovation, pushing creators to explore new dimensions of storytelling.

Rise of Interactive and Gamified Content: A Playground for Imagination

As the discussion pivots, Munjal B. Shroff, Co-founder of Graphiti Studios, highlights the rising tide of interactive and gamified content for kids. He notes, "The landscape is evolving, and today's kids crave more than passive viewing. They seek participative experiences where they can shape the narrative. Interactive content, whether in the form of games or immersive storytelling apps, empowers children to be co-creators of their entertainment."

Shroff's observation aligns with the industry's response to the digital-native generation. From educational games that make learning fun to interactive story apps that encourage decision-making, the market is witnessing a paradigm shift towards engagement-driven content.

Technological Marvels: Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality in Kids' Entertainment

In the realm of kids' digital entertainment, technology plays a pivotal role in transforming experiences. Ashish Kulkarni, a tech visionary in the space, delves into the impact of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). "AR and VR are not just buzzwords; they're transformative tools that redefine how children engage with entertainment. These technologies open portals to fantastical worlds, allowing kids to step beyond the screen and be active participants in the narrative."

The adoption of AR and VR in kids' content is evident in the array of educational AR apps and VR experiences tailored for young audiences. These technologies not only add an immersive layer to entertainment but also provide educational value, blending learning seamlessly with play.

"The fusion of technology and storytelling is not just a trend; it's a necessity. We need to adapt to the changing preferences of our tech-savvy audience while ensuring that the essence of storytelling remains intact," emphasizes Ashish Kulkarni.

Interactive Storytelling: Nurturing Cognitive Development

As the narrative unfolds, the impact of interactive storytelling on children's cognitive development takes center stage. Manoj Mishra reflects on this aspect, stating, "Interactive storytelling is a powerful tool for cognitive development. It stimulates critical thinking, decision-making, and creativity in young minds. As creators, we have a responsibility to harness this potential for positive impact."

This sentiment echoes the broader industry shift towards creating content that not only entertains but also contributes to the holistic development of children. Educational apps, interactive e-books, and narrative-driven games are designed not only to captivate but also to foster essential skills in the formative years.

The Road Ahead: A Tapestry of Possibilities

In conclusion, the landscape of kids' digital entertainment continues to evolve, driven by the dynamic interplay of creativity and technology. The panel discussion, a snapshot of this ever-changing narrative, reveals a future brimming with possibilities.

"The journey ahead involves continuous innovation, adapting to technological advancements, and above all, staying true to the essence of storytelling. As creators, we are the architects of dreams, shaping the digital odyssey for the next generation," affirms Munjal B. Shroff.

The cross-media frenzy, the rise of interactive experiences, the infusion of AR and VR, and the focus on interactive storytelling collectively paint a picture of a vibrant and inclusive market. The industry, propelled by these trends, is set to create immersive, enriching, and purposeful content that will define the digital childhood of generations to come. As we navigate this landscape, one thing is certain—the adventure has just begun, and the future of kids' digital entertainment is a canvas awaiting the strokes of innovation and imagination.

 

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Myntra Revolutionizing Fashion in India Through Tech-Driven Innovation
Myntra Revolutionizing Fashion in India Through Tech-Driven Innovation
 

In the vibrant tapestry of India's booming e-commerce industry, Myntra stands as a trailblazer, shaping the landscape of fashion, beauty, and lifestyle. As the country's fifth-largest economy, and with a staggering 1.3 billion population, Myntra has not only tapped into the diverse and dynamic market but has also become a beacon of innovation. Speaking at the recent Labels Summit 2023, Manika Mittal, Director and Head of International Brands, Myntra, shared how the giant revolutionized fashion in India. 

The Indian Market Dynamics

1. Demographic Dividend:

India's demographic profile sets the stage for a revolution in consumption. With 50 percent of the population below the age of 25, the country is witnessing a surge in demand across various categories, including fashion, lifestyle, and beauty. This young and hungry consumer base is a driving force behind the shift to a middle-income-dominated economy.

2. Premiumization Trend:

As India strides confidently into a middle-income-dominated economy, the premiumization trend becomes evident. Comparable to countries like Mexico, Brazil, the UK, and Canada, India's upper-middle-class segment is on the rise, moving from 21 percent to 42 percent. This economic shift has created a demand for international names and licenses, as the country embraces a premium lifestyle.

3. E-commerce Boom:

The e-commerce wave in India is surging, with the online fashion market projected to reach $124 billion by 2024-25, boasting an impressive 11 percent CAGR. Notably, the e-tail penetration is on the rise, moving from 9 percent to a projected 25 percent. This surge is not limited to major metros but extends to non-metro regions, representing 70 percent of the fashion market and growing steadily at 50-60 percent.

Myntra's Position in the Market

1. A Fashion Powerhouse:

Myntra, as one of India's leading fashion, beauty, and lifestyle players, has successfully positioned itself as a fashion destination for the masses. With 55 million active users, the platform provides a diverse array of brands, both Indian and international, making it a one-stop shop for fashion enthusiasts.

2. Omni-Channel Model:

Myntra's unique omni-channel model seamlessly connects 4,500 stores and their inventories to the Myntra app. This not only ensures a vast selection but also offers consumers the convenience of choosing products from nearby stores, enhancing the overall shopping experience.

3. Tech-Driven Engagement:

At the core of Myntra's success lies its tech-driven approach. The predictive fashion engine ensures a personalized app experience based on individual shopping histories. The brand's commitment to speed and reach is exemplified by its under-two-day delivery across the country and coverage of 98 percent of PIN codes.

4. Inclusivity Across Tiers:

Understanding the diverse demographics of India, Myntra caters to consumers between the ages of 22 and 34, with a balanced distribution of men and women. While it remains accessible to metro and Tier I cities, Myntra is actively bridging the gap to reach Tier II and III cities, where 45 percent of its consumers reside.

Myntra's Innovations

1. Myntra Forward:

Addressing the unique shopping habits of Gen Z, Myntra Forward introduces a revolutionary "spot and shop" model. Departing from traditional searches, Gen Z consumers can now seamlessly spot trends and make purchases directly, enhancing the speed and efficiency of the shopping experience.

2. Social Commerce Engine:

Myntra's social commerce endeavors host up to 10 hours of content and 1,500 live sessions on the app. This interactive platform enables consumers to engage with brands, as exemplified by co-brands like HRX, facilitating a seamless transition from product awareness to purchase.

3. Virtual Fashion Influencer – Maya:

To assist users in fashion decisions, Myntra introduces Maya, a virtual fashion influencer. Still in its evolutionary phase, Maya aims to guide users on pairing items, providing a personalized touch to the shopping experience.

4. Myntra Cross Border:

One of Myntra's standout innovations is the Myntra Cross Border program, a tech-enabled solution providing live access to global fashion trends. This B2B2C cross-border e-commerce platform allows Indian consumers to choose and order products from international catalogs, overcoming logistical challenges faced by fast fashion brands.

Myntra's Collaborations and Brand Management

1. International Success Stories:

Mango, a renowned international brand, stands as a success story on the Myntra platform. Exclusive styles of Mango are made available, showcasing Myntra's prowess in fostering global brands within the Indian market.

2. Own Brand Stores:

Myntra provides a unique platform for brands to tell their stories through own brand stores on the app. This feature allows consumers to understand the ethos of each brand, whether it stands for sustainability or caters to the Gen Z audience.

3. Myntra Omni Ecosystem:

With a vast network of 300 points of sale across 60 cities, Myntra operates an omni ecosystem that includes renowned brands like Mango, Nautica, and Bebe, along with its in-house brands such as HRX, Taavi, and Roadster.

In the dynamic realm of Indian e-commerce, Myntra emerges as a force to be reckoned with, embodying innovation, inclusivity, and a commitment to meeting the diverse demands of its consumers. As the fashion landscape continues to evolve, Myntra's tech-driven strategies, collaborations, and unique offerings solidify its position as a trendsetter in the industry. Through Myntra Cross Border and other groundbreaking initiatives, the platform not only adapts to market changes but also shapes the future of fashion consumption in India. With 55 million active users engaged on the app, Myntra remains at the forefront of the e-commerce revolution, paving the way for a more connected and fashionable India.

 

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Avoiding Downtime During the Festive Season: Why E-Commerce Companies Need Observability
Avoiding Downtime During the Festive Season: Why E-Commerce Companies Need Observability
 

It’s the time of the year when retailers and e-commerce businesses in India ramp up for annual festive season sales. Annual sale events are crucial to the industry, and in 2022 alone, India’s e-commerce industry reached Rs 40,000 crore ($480 million) in revenue. In a few days from now, Black Friday and Cyber Monday will be here. 12.7 percent of annual shopping will take place across this eight-day shopping marathon, making it one of the largest drivers of revenue for the Indian retail market.

When large, revenue-driving sales are underway, businesses face challenges with maintaining the uptime of their websites and mobile apps due to an increase in traffic. Because downtime drives customers away, competitors with more reliable systems will come out on top. When website and mobile app traffic volumes rise during sale days, backend teams need to constantly fight issues, which they may not be able to address fast enough. This is perhaps why research into Cyber Monday sales revealed that only 36 percent of customers in India were satisfied with their online experience during this sale period.

Today’s retailers face fierce competition amid a risky macroeconomic climate, with major hikes in energy costs, growing inflation, interest rates and supply chain disruptions causing consumers to tighten their purse strings. This makes festive sales even more critical, as customers look to find a bargain.

With millions of dollars on the line, it is critical for retailers to double down on their digital customer experience (DCX) strategies to create seamless customer journeys. Observability is important here, as it allows teams to proactively analyze and optimize their systems based on logs, metrics and traces, in order to provide a real-time view of collated data. Retailers need powerful AI-driven observability solutions to ensure they can offer seamless customer experiences for festive season shoppers.

The Cost of Doing Business without Observability

With the festive season sales already well underway, Indian e-commerce and retail businesses must ensure that their services can scale efficiently to meet the demand of peak traffic periods, as even a small outage can have an adverse impact.

According to the New Relic State of Observability in Retail report, nearly 4 in 10 global retailers report having high-impact outages once a week. What’s concerning is the time taken to resolve these, as the longer a resolution takes, the more revenue is lost. Currently, 61 percent of retailers say it takes at least 30 minutes to resolve such outages, and this is costing them dearly. The median annual cost of IT outages among retailers stands at $9.95 million. During a sale, this could mean more revenue is lost. For businesses that aren’t using full-stack observability, the process of finding and fixing issues becomes very difficult and ultimately ends up costing the business new customers and brand loyalty.

Fixing Incidents Quickly to Maintain Uptime

Retailers are realizing the benefits of observability because the payoff is evident. By adopting observability, retailers improved the time taken to detect and fix incidents. Many of them are realising the monetary benefits of maintaining uptime. The State of Observability in Retail report also revealed that nearly 60 percent of retailers derived more than $500,000 in total annual value, with 43 percent saying they derived a total annual value of $1 million or more after adopting observability.

In most retail and e-commerce companies, the responsibility for maintaining uptime falls on engineering teams. To enable an omnichannel approach, retailers often depend on third-party solutions that they have little or no access to like kiosks, video cameras and POS systems. They also use different technologies for payments and external distribution logistics. With such a variety of technology in play, teams often find it challenging to easily implement telemetry in their retail strategy. And when outages occur, engineering teams at the backend have to spend hours trying to parse logs, analyse metrics and toggle between different monitoring tools. Spending a significant amount of time on fixing a single issue can pose a challenge to maintaining uptime.

All-in-one observability platforms consolidate the entire process of monitoring and analyzing the IT infrastructure. It helps engineering teams find out what’s going wrong and also to derive valuable context of how it went wrong and what’s needed to fix the problem. When these processes are automated, DevOps teams can fix issues faster, ensuring uptime.

Retailers aiming to keep their digital storefronts operational this festive season must invest in full-stack observability. This will provide them with comprehensive visibility into their software, and the ability to proactively collect and visualise data, apply intelligence and understand the behaviour of the IT ecosystems. Observability solutions have emerged as a competitive differentiator for retailers and ecommerce companies, and the time for these businesses to adopt them is now. Otherwise, they risk losing millions in revenue.

Prasad

 

  Author: Prasad Rai, Vice President Sales for India, New Relic

 

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Warming up to the Future of Retail: Customer Centric, Technology First
Warming up to the Future of Retail: Customer Centric, Technology First
 

The retail landscape is undergoing a seismic shift, largely propelled by technological advancements. The global pandemic and the ascent of eCommerce have only intensified the influence of technology. Retailers have leveraged technology innovations to enhance efficiency while remaining steadfast in their commitment to customer centricity. The result? Total experiences that delight both customers and employees.

However, the retail journey doesn't stop here. The evolution of customer behavior and technology continues unabated. Retailers are mandated to stay attuned to this evolution to stay ahead of the curve in terms of sales and customer satisfaction.

The future of retail is poised to ride the technology wave, further bridging the physical and digital realms. Retailers are looking beyond mere product sales on shelves, aspiring to build comprehensive ecosystems that encompass services spanning health, finance, entertainment, and more capitalizing on digitization and technology's ability to offer enhanced accessibility to consumers. In this era of technological transformation, barriers between industries are blurring, enabling retailers and other operators to seize opportunities rapidly by engaging directly with consumers.

Some of the technologies that are scripting this transformation and will continue to do so in the future are Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), Blockchain, Internet of Things (IoT), and others. These multifaceted technologies promise to revolutionize both physical and virtual operations and reshape customer relations. Let’s take a closer look at these modern-day technologies that will undoubtedly shape the future of retail, catering to a digital-first, digital-only consumer base.

Generative Artificial Intelligence will Drive Customer Benevolence

The ability of Generative AI to work with Large Language Models applying in-context learning to learn from analogy and generate responses based on enhanced understanding of context, improved reasoning, inference skills, and tailored problem-solving capabilities has come out as a potent force for businesses.

Generative AI is a powerful technology that leverages vast datasets to create personalized experiences and optimize various aspects of retail operations. It's not limited to one area but offers multiple benefits across different functions. In content creation and optimization, Gen AI autonomously generates and improves product descriptions and copy, reducing the need for extensive human involvement. It also excels at providing personalized discounts by analyzing purchase history.

Gen AI extends its capabilities to customer interactions through the development of intelligent bots. These bots go beyond traditional AI bots by generating relevant responses in various formats, such as text and visuals, based on real-time data. They are efficient in handling customer inquiries and can identify upselling and cross-selling opportunities.

In the context of inventory management, Gen AI analyzes multiple data sources, including consumer sentiment and competitor data, to predict demand accurately. This helps retailers drive sustainability by optimizing supply and delivery, preventing inventory deficits, and avoiding wastage.

In the instance of supply chain management, Gen AI can assist with product configuration in transport, ensuring the best possible use of space and safe handling of goods, apart from suggesting the most viable transport routes. This ability to optimize the operational aspect of logistics not just saves costs but also augurs well for sustainability reducing carbon footprints, and ensuring minimum wastage of perishable and high-value goods.

Gen AI's real-time capabilities also extend to pricing optimization, where it can adjust prices based on competitor pricing, demand trends, and market conditions.

Gen AI can also play a crucial role in fraud detection by identifying counterfeit products, unauthorized sellers, and fraudulent activities, helping retailers save valuable resources and drive sustainability. Similarly, the technology can be utilized for product and packaging design optimization, reducing material use, and encouraging recyclable materials.

The versatility of the technology is already a talking point among retailers around the globe with 92% planning to ramp up their investments in Generative AI as per a GlobalNewswire release.

Immersive Reality will No Longer be a Novelty

Retailers bet big on experience as a major differentiator and try using technology to drive experience as a differentiator. The evolution of Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and Mixed Reality has thrown open a new paradigm in experience that seamlessly marries the physical with the virtual. The ability to experience furniture, fashion, and more from the comfort of the drawing room is a relatively new experience, one that customers are eagerly absorbing and consuming. According to a survey by PWC, India, China, and Qatar are most keen on VR. The survey states that 32% of users buy products after checking them out on VR platforms. A similar report on AR from NielsenIQ highlights that 56% of customers feel more confident about the product using AR, while 61% said they prefer to shop with retailers offering AR experiences.

AR/VR and MR empower retailers to:

  • Entertain – Walmart collaborated with DC Comics and Marvel to bring superhero-themed AR experiences to selected outlets
  • Educate – Vanity Planet’s skin reporter app scans users faces to educate them about their skin types and possible skin conditions, aligning it with complementing makeup recommendations
  • Evaluate product fit – IKEA uses AR to help users gauge the fit of furniture within a given surrounding enabling consumers to validate their purchase against their exact requirements
  • Enhance the post-purchase experience – McDonald's used AR to help users discover the origins of ingredients used in their products to ensure customers know the source of their produce and enjoy consuming the products without hesitation

The evolving wave of spatial computing that utilizes a range of technologies, including AI, ML, AR, and IoT, to establish an awareness of the three-dimensional (3D) environment surrounding an object, enable it to interact seamlessly with its surroundings is a fast-developing technology poised to take the experience quotient to another level and promise an immersive, engaging future for retail consumers and better returns for retailers. The growing influence of immersive technologies is charting the way for retailers into the evolutionary world of the Metaverse. Retail giants like Nike, Gucci, and Adidas among others have already made a foray into the virtual world by buying real estate, building digital stores, conducting fashion shows, and hosting concerts. The future state of this space holds a lot of promise for retailers as it is expected to create a digital connection between the customer and the brand, like never before. Retail brands are excited about the opportunity as it provides them with direct access to zero-party data of customers, enabling retailers and service providers to establish a hyper-personalized connection with the customers. The customer is enthusiastic and buoyed by the surreal experience that is being rendered across these new digital platforms, which promises to better all previous experiences from the past.

Expanding the Expanse with Omnichannel Integration

Powering the futuristic omnichannel retail ecosystem at the front end will be a headless commerce architecture that delivers a distinctive, consistent customer experience across channels and supports all touchpoints with shared functionalities, such as wish lists, appointment booking, and payments. This architecture is also expected to be more scalable and flexible than a traditional monolithic architecture as it is decoupled from the backend giving retailers the ability to drive changes faster. The world is steadfastly embracing IoT in the shape of wearables, home automation, and more. The headless architecture will help retailers deliver content across each device type without reinventing the wheel, keeping the experience consistent. Talking of the backend, the move towards a microservices-based architecture at the backend can also be a game changer for retailers. This decoupling of the monolithic architecture at the backend will help retailers to upgrade or revamp a specific function quickly, for example integrating biometrics into the sign-in function or integrating gesture recognition for payment. These new-age capabilities can be separately developed and deployed in a modular fashion. This is unlike how it is done in the traditional monolithic architecture where the complete system would need a revamp for the addition of any functionality.

Blockchain Safeguarding Digital Assets Across the Virtual Terrain

Blockchain technology is a decentralized ledger system that provides robust security and transparency for safeguarding digital assets in the retail sector across the digital landscape. Through its immutable and distributed nature, blockchain ensures the integrity of transactions and data, reducing fraud and enhancing trust. For example, in supply chain management, blockchain can trace the origin and journey of products, allowing customers to verify the authenticity and quality of goods. It also acts as a powerful tool for driving sustainability within the retail sector by providing retailers insight into their supply chains, promoting responsible sourcing and reducing waste. By verifying product authenticity, blockchain helps combat counterfeiting, ensuring that consumers receive genuine, quality products discouraging the production of environmentally damaging fakes.

In e-commerce, blockchain-based payment systems like Bitcoin offer secure and borderless transactions, eliminating the need for intermediaries. Blockchain can also be a game changer in driving loyalty programs enabling retailers to offer customers rewards securely, while smart contracts, an agreement based on blockchain technology that kicks in automatically once certain conditions are met, can enforce credible, transparent agreements on product authenticity, warranties, or refund policies, ensuring a seamless and trust-driven retail experience. Blockchain holds significant value in a rapidly digitizing world that is embracing Non-Fungible Tokens, or unique digital identifiers recorded on a blockchain ledger as an identification of ownership and authenticity for digital assets such as art, music, fashion, or any other collectible owned by an entity. One of the main advantages of NFTs is that they allow people to own and intellectual property. NFT cannot be replicated, a strong reason why fashion labels, and multinational retail conglomerates, are exploring the use of NFTs to secure ownership of digital assets and thwart counterfeiting.

Embracing the Future of Retail Technology, Today

As inflation and fears of an economic slowdown weigh heavy on the minds of consumers, curtailing their spending, retailers will need to embrace the advances in technology to attract, convince, and drive sales to build an all-encompassing retail ecosystem. Retailers will need to deploy new-age strategies powered by contemporary technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, augmented and virtual reality, and more to get up close and personal with their customers building long-lasting trust and value. Retailers will have to look at technology not just for delivering convenience and experience but also as a medium to drive sustainability and security. The time is ripe for retailers to embrace the future of technology to catapult from digital transformation to digital ascendance.

 

Nareshraj

 

Author: Nareshraj Gururaj, Sr. Vice President, India Delivery & Operations, Innover

 

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Phygital Retail: Bridging the Gap Between Online and Offline Shopping in India
Phygital Retail: Bridging the Gap Between Online and Offline Shopping in India
 

"Phygital" describes the seamless integration of physical and digital experiences, revolutionizing the way consumers shop. This innovative approach combines elements from both the physical and digital realms, creating immersive and convenient shopping encounters. Phygital technology is pivotal in merging online and offline retail, enabling retailers to offer customers a harmonious blend of traditional and online shopping benefits.

Why is Phygital Relevant?

Understanding the significance of phygital requires tracing the evolution of shopping. Traditionally, shopping meant physically visiting a store mostly in groups either, either with families, or friends, exploring products, and making a purchase. However, the emergence of e-commerce has transformed this process, allowing customers to shop individually from home and receive deliveries. While e-commerce offers convenience and variety, it lacks the physical and social aspects of traditional shopping. Phygital retail addresses this gap by merging online and offline experiences, providing a seamless customer journey.

Phygital technology incorporates various tools like augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), interactive displays, and mobile apps or even a physical experience stores. These innovations empower retailers to craft immersive experiences, engaging customers both online and in physical stores. It also enables consumers to explore the brand further by providing an opportunity to engage with the brand physically while also enjoying the convenience of digital shopping. Same-day deliveries are also becoming increasingly common.

Importance of Phygital Marketing in Retail

Phygital has emerged as a crucial strategy for modern businesses, responding to the growing demand for seamless and consistent customer experiences. This approach integrates the physical and digital dimensions of a brand, fostering a robust brand identity and cultivating lasting customer loyalty.

One of its key merits lies in the realm of personalization. Through adept use of data and analytics, businesses can tailor their marketing efforts to cater to specific consumer needs, both online and offline. This level of customization forges a profound connection with consumers, leading to heightened loyalty and enthusiastic brand advocacy.

Furthermore, phygital marketing in retail offers a distinct advantage by enabling the creation of a unique brand identity. The fusion of physical and digital elements allows businesses to craft a memorable and distinctive brand encounter, setting them apart from competitors. This not only fosters brand loyalty but also bolsters customer retention significantly.

In the realm of outreach, phygital strategies widen the audience net. Digital channels complement physical presence, enabling businesses to showcase their in-store displays through social media or establish online stores to supplement their brick-and-mortar locations.

Additionally, phygital marketing serves as an invaluable tool for understanding customer behavior and preferences. By meticulously tracking interactions across various touchpoints, businesses can gain profound insights into what stimulates customer engagement and loyalty. Armed with this knowledge, they can optimize their marketing and sales approaches effectively.

In our increasingly interconnected world, it is imperative for brands to evolve in response to shifting consumer demands and expectations. The fusion of physical and digital realms, known as Phygital, represents the future of retail, promising substantial benefits for those who adopt it. Although Phygital concepts are still in their early stages, their permanence in the market is evident. As technology progresses, we anticipate witnessing more inventive approaches from brands in seamlessly connecting physical and digital experiences.

Phygital Retail- Bridging the Gap Between Online and Offline Shopping in India (1) 

 

  Author:  Aman Jain, Co-founder and CEO, Doodhvale

 

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Click & Mortar: The Evolution of India’s Retail Ecosystem
Click & Mortar: The Evolution of India’s Retail Ecosystem
 

More than 80 percent of Indian retailers do not see e-commerce as a threat, finds the NeoInsights study – ‘Click & Mortar: The Evolution of India’s Retail Ecosystem’ – released today by NeoGrowth, the MSME-focused NBFC in India, leveraging the digital ecosystem.

The study, covering around 3,000 Indian retailers and shoppers across more than 25 top cities in India, has analyzed how physical and online retail experiences complement each other.

Arun Nayyar, Managing Director and CEO of NeoGrowth said: “India’s retailers have stood the test of time and have always innovated to keep growing and enhancing customer experience. Their remarkable business growth is a testament to their creativity, persistence, and long-term engagement with customers. Our study revealed that Indian shoppers have a strong preference for shopping at physical stores and enjoy the personalized approach of their local retailers.

With customer-centricity and competition from e-commerce in mind, retailers are upgrading the in-store experience with technology. Offline retail will continue to occupy a larger share of the Indian retail sector, elevating itself to a ‘Click and Mortar’ model by adopting digital tools.

At NeoGrowth, our mission has always been to empower MSME retailers by providing them with timely financial support. We are positive about the future of India’s retail ecosystem and are committed to supporting retailers in their growth journey.”

Resilience of Offline Retail:

Despite the rapid growth of e-commerce in India, a significant majority of retailers remain confident about their physical storefronts. Only 18 percent say that their sales have been impacted by online selling platforms.

The top industries witnessing the highest contribution from offline sales are FMCG & Retail (97 percent), Food & Beverage (95 percent), and Consumer Durable & Electronics (93 percent).

Special Offers, At-Home Delivery Enabling Offline Retail:

Indian retailers are bringing the best of both worlds to shoppers by integrating digital tools with specialized in-store offers to encourage offline sales. The top 5 strategies used by offline retailers are Specialised offers, discounts, using instant messaging apps to connect with customers, doorstep delivery, and multiple payment options. 60% of retailers have adopted digital payments at their stores for ease of payment and a hassle-free buying experience for their customers.

At-home delivery remains a top priority for shoppers, with 60 percent of offline retailers receiving customer requests to start home delivery services. Retailers have initiated free home delivery services for their customers, taking orders via phone or through instant messaging apps for products available at their physical stores.

The top industries with the highest number of home delivery requests include Food & Beverage (73 percent), Healthcare (68 percent), Fashion & Lifestyle (63 percent), and FMCG & Retail (55 percent).

Ability to Touch and Feel the Product, Indian Family-Oriented Value System Drives Indians to Shop at Offline Stores:

Physical stores remain the most popular mode of shopping for Indians despite the proliferation of online marketplaces. The ability to touch and feel the product is the top reason for the popularity of in-store shopping. 54 percent prefer offline shopping due to the assured authenticity and quality of products. Approximately 50 percent of respondents are loyal to their local stores, with multiple generations of a family often shopping from the same retailer leading to trust and familiarity. 35 percent of Indians shop from their local retailer to encourage and support small businesses.  

Popular segments for in-store shopping in India include Consumer Durable & Electronics, Food & Beverage, Fashion & Lifestyle, and Healthcare.

‘Shopping Only Online’ occupies a minimal share of India’s shopping channels:

Only 10 percent of Indian shoppers are shopping exclusively on online selling platforms. This contribution further varies by generation. While only 14 percent Gen Z population shops online, this number falls to only 5 percent for the Gen X population. 11 percent of millennials shop only online. Online shopping sees a spike during flash sales and times when higher discounts are offered by e-commerce platforms, with nearly 35 percent of shoppers preferring online shopping only during flash sales.

Festive Season Increases Offline Retail Sales:

Festive shopping is a family affair in India when all members of the family across age groups get together to celebrate. More than 70 percent of Indian shoppers value a family shopping experience in a physical store. Indian retailers see the maximum footfall at their stores during special occasions such as festivals. During this time, they ramp up product inventory, introduce differentiated offers, and aggressively promote their businesses.

Industry segments that see maximum offline sales during the festive season include FMCG & Retail (80 percent), Consumer Durables & Electronics (79 percent), and Fashion & Lifestyle (75 percent).

Click & Mortar - Path Ahead for Indian Retail:

Almost 60 percent of retailers want to focus on physical stores with assistance from digital tools in the future to drive in-store sales. The relevance of offline retail is evident from the study with one in two retailers receiving requests from their customers to replicate products based on online reference images.  Fashion & Lifestyle and Consumer Durable & Electronics retailers receive the majority of such requests.

Online selling is yet to pick up among India’s retailers, with 46 percent saying that they are at the nascent stage of understanding the workings of online retail. 16 percent of retailers are yet to find digitally savvy staff to use online selling platforms.

The study revealed that 7 in 10 retailers plan to open new stores to strengthen their physical presence. This expansion and growth of offline retail will be facilitated by digital building blocks including digital payments, digital order fulfillment, and digital in-store operations.

 

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Technology - A Key Factor in Reshaping the Retail Landscape and Enhancing Customer Experience
Technology - A Key Factor in Reshaping the Retail Landscape and Enhancing Customer Experience
 

The COVID-19 pandemic spurred businesses to rethink traditional practices across industries and hence, companies rapidly adopted digital solutions to adapt to shifting consumer behavior. The retail industry, in particular, has experienced a significant transformation due to a growing emphasis on technology, increased online accessibility, changes in consumer behavior, and the emergence of new business tactics.

The pandemic made retailers revamp their business models, fueling the expansion of omnichannel strategy. The use of technology in retail has become essential, from virtual storefronts to AI-powered chatbots for customer service, enhanced online platforms, delivery, and returns for a seamless shopping experience. Therefore, the retailers have adopted a hybrid business model combining both online and offline strategies, valuing the digital-physical blend.

The pandemic caused retail to embrace omnichannel strategies. This includes popular options such as buy-online-pick-up-in-store (BOPIS) and curbside pickup, bridging virtual and physical retail. This trend in the retail industry is leading to major changes in the retail space landscape as well since customers can easily buy products online and then pick them up in-store, saving them time and adding convenience.

Developers are now focusing on creating retail spaces that are well-suited to their target customers, considering the location, accessibility, and unique selling points of each locality, eventually crafting spaces to reshape the future of the shopping world. The integration of technology like augmented reality, and virtual reality enhances the customer experience, allowing virtual try-ons. Additionally, automated floor plans and street views enable customers to seamlessly navigate through their shopping journey. Tech-driven data collection, resource optimization, and sustainability promotion are also disrupting retail businesses.

Besides, a variety of high-quality dining options, cinemas, game arcades, concert halls, and bowling alleys, are all aimed at creating a holistic leisure and shopping experience for people. A report from KPMG and the Retailers Association of India predicts a 45 percent growth in the utilization of AI within the Indian retail sector over the next two years. This growth is driven by the need to improve customer experiences by personalizing services and enhancing operational efficiency. 

Retailers are leveraging this approach to provide convenience, personalization, and a seamless shopping journey by ensuring that they cater to the new normal. The pandemic has been a catalyst for change in the retail industry, pushing it towards a future where technology, convenience, and adaptable physical spaces are paramount.

The evolving retail landscape anticipates future expectations, reflecting resilience and innovation. Developers focus on safety, efficiency, and enhancement of the overall shopping experience by understanding consumer’s habits and preferences to succeed in this evolving retail market. 

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The COVID-19 pandemic spurred businesses to rethink traditional practices across industries and hence, companies rapidly adopted digital solutions to adapt to shifting consumer behavior. The retail industry, in particular, has experienced a significant transformation due to a growing emphasis on technology, increased online accessibility, changes in consumer behavior, and the emergence of new business tactics.  The pandemic made retailers revamp their business models, fueling the expansion of omnichannel strategy. The use of technology in retail has become essential, from virtual storefronts to AI-powered chatbots for customer service, enhanced online platforms, delivery, and returns for a seamless shopping experience. Therefore, the retailers have adopted a hybrid business model combining both online and offline strategies, valuing the digital-physical blend.   The pandemic caused retail to embrace omnichannel strategies. This includes popular options such as buy-online-pick-up-in-store (BOPIS) and curbside pickup, bridging virtual and physical retail. This trend in the retail industry is leading to major changes in the retail space landscape as well since customers can easily buy products online and then pick them up in-store, saving them time and adding convenience.   Developers are now focusing on creating retail spaces that are well-suited to their target customers, considering the location, accessibility, and unique selling points of each locality, eventually crafting spaces to reshape the future of the shopping world. The integration of technology like augmented reality, and virtual reality enhances the customer experience, allowing virtual try-on. Additionally, automated floor plans and street views enable customers to seamlessly navigate through their shopping journey. Tech-driven data collection, resource optimization, and sustainability promotion are also disrupting retail businesses.   Besides, a variety of high-quality dining options, cinemas, game arcades, concert halls, and bowling alleys, are all

Ms. Kaustubh Chandra, Manager, Marketing and Leasing, Brahma Group

 

 

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How the Logistics Industry is Changing as a Result of Technological Improvements
How the Logistics Industry is Changing as a Result of Technological Improvements
 

A big part of the nation's industrial innovation is played by the logistics industries. Similar to the developed countries, India is accessible to technological progress. Technology and logistics are two of the many sectors that are connected. Wherever technology is extensively used. Due to modern business methods and innovations, the flow of commodities from manufacturers, merchants, or wholesalers to customers has changed. The transition from manual to automated technologies and communication, as well as advancements in information technology, have had a significant impact on the logistics business.

As a result, it is now crucial to keep track of the supply chain and the transparency of logistical activity in order to maintain the needed pace, ensure customer happiness, and guard against any delivery ecosystem inefficiencies.

Below are some prominent ways that the Indian logistics sector has been transformed by technological advancements:

Improved Supply Chain Management

Due to AI's crucial position in supply chain management, technology has undergone tremendous change. One example is the development of predictive optimization, which is anticipated to become one of the biggest forces in the logistics sector. The entire supply chain is strengthened and improved through supply chain visibility solutions, which provide constant data access to all users. Predictive optimization facilitates efficient last-mile delivery by bridging the supply and demand gap through accurate forecasts. The last-mile delivery intelligence, which includes route optimization and ETA prediction, will also ensure smooth operations.

Digitization Ends Warehousing Problems

One of the most important advantages of digital warehousing is increased visibility. Real-time understanding of inventory levels and shipment status is hampered by slow, error-prone manual methods, which cause delays and mistakes. Similar to how this data may be organized, warehouse management systems (WMS) may provide staff with real-time positional information. This level of sight helps warehouses avoid several common accidents. Improved visibility makes warehouses more useful. This augmentation might be most obvious in preference. Employees who are knowledgeable about the precise position of every item spend less time rummaging through and perusing shelves.

Enhanced Routing Assistance

Another important impact of technical developments on the logistics industry is the enhancement of routing. Modern GPS technology makes it unlikely that drivers would get lost or that consumers will have to wait for deliveries.

Technology can also be used to optimize routes, ensuring that drivers take the fastest paths possible to their destinations. In addition to knowing this before leaving, drivers can also be notified of a better route while on the road, depending on things like traffic jams, roadwork, or other unexpected delays. Businesses benefit from this flexibility to take more economical routes because it lowers fuel costs and vehicle usage.

Smooth Functioning

The ability to track a product's delivery from start to finish is one of the most common client expectations in logistics. Internet of Things (IoT) can be used to monitor an object's temperature and location. The position and temperature of items being moved by vehicles can also be tracked using IoT. The logistics sector is seeing substantial changes in its manufacturing processes as a result of technical improvements and the e-commerce boom.

The use of data to drive operations and decision-making will rise as logistics becomes more and more digitized. A seamless exchange of information between humans and machines will result from AI data analytics. AI can ascertain how logistics movement might be optimized by analyzing data and automating procedures like capacity estimation, demand patterns, network analysis, and other similar elements.

The improvement of fleet performance visibility is one of the most significant ways AI may assist in lowering logistics costs. A logistics platform powered by AI would allow for precise load-vehicle matching and onboard capacity optimization. With fewer trucks, it would be possible to transport shipments that currently demand more trucks, reducing overall vehicle overburden. A logistics company can significantly increase its cost utilization in warehousing by implementing AI-based automation in inventory management. Time is saved, and fewer human resources are required, which also lowers operational costs.

Tech Powered Fourth-Party Logistics

With a 4PL, a firm outsources all of its logistics, supply chain management, and supply chain optimization to an outside logistics service provider. All distribution chain and logistics tasks are handled by 4PL Logistics, which also keeps an eye on the operational and financial effectiveness of the supply chain. These logistic aggregators cover all aspects of a company's logistics needs as well as its strategic planning. They also collaborate with 3PLs to outsource some logistics and transportation-related tasks. Significant changes in the logistics processes are made as a result of a 4PL company's strategic, operational, and technological partnership, increasing efficiency and lowering costs. One of a 4PL's key features is that it provides total visibility, real-time information, and communication to gather, store, and manage supply chain data

Even if reinventing the processes is necessary, Indian logistics firms must invest in modernizing technologies to create creative and effective solutions. Robotics and artificial intelligence are increasingly being used to automate operations in warehouse and transportation management. As a result, companies will be able to use fewer human help.

 

About the Author

Pawan Kumar, Co-Founder of Shipease

Pawan Kumar ,Co-founder of Shipease

 

 

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Online Sellers Shine Through Tough Times with Festive Optimism
Online Sellers Shine Through Tough Times with Festive Optimism
 

Despite a challenging start to the year in CY23, online sellers are gearing up for a festive season comeback. They anticipate a substantial year-on-year sales boost of at least 15 percent during the upcoming festive period. The median projection stands at an impressive 26 percent growth compared to last year's festive season. Sellers spanning various product categories, including those with lower average selling prices like fashion, are displaying a bullish outlook on this growth trajectory. This surge in sales is poised to offer a much-needed respite in the face of an otherwise demanding macroeconomic environment.

Online Sellers Shine Through Tough Times with Festive Optimism

The latest report by Redseer Strategy Consultants on the Indian festive season, reveals the market readiness and seller’s bullish sentiments for a profitable festive season. Redseer surveyed a few hundred sellers (primarily the smaller sellers) prior to the festive sales 2023. Our findings show that despite modest sales growth on e-commerce platforms recently (only 40 percent of sellers we surveyed reported a >10 percent increase in current quarter sales vs JFM 23 quarter), anticipation for a festive sales boost amongst the sellers is high across categories.

e-Commerce platforms are tailoring solutions to meet the optimism of sellers and as a consequence of which, seller perceptions around support provided by eTailing platforms have seen an uptick – with 62 percent of sellers agreeing with the sentiment that the platforms have been supportive in their festive planning vs. 53 percent sellers who observed this in the lead-up to the last year’s festive season. Through our surveys, sellers have highlighted the strong support received from platforms in terms of data analytics, trends predictions, and consumer visibility, among others.

Online Sellers Shine Through Tough Times with Festive Optimism

Driven by this seller bullishness, they are expected to ramp up their ad spendings on the online platforms meaningfully- creating the right sales impact for themselves and also benefiting the platforms

Our survey results indicate that sellers are willing to spend more on marketing/advertising during the festive season on online platforms to drive sales growth. Overall, across the surveyed sellers, they anticipate a 15 percent spending growth vs last year’s festive season and 50 percent ad spending growth vs business as usual (BAU) periods of this year.

Interestingly, smaller sellers are highly willing to spend on ads and bullish on overall sales growth- smaller sellers anticipate a 22 percent ad spend growth vs last festive season and 75 percent growth vs BAU period of this year per our surveys.

Online Sellers Shine Through Tough Times with Festive Optimism

“Our interactions with sellers prior to this 10th eCommerce festive season reaffirms the transformative impact eCommerce has on these MSMEs. The festive period is expected to enable sellers especially the smaller ones to come out of the challenging sales environment seen through this and sellers are optimistic about strong sales growth. Accordingly, they are willing to significantly ramp up their advertising spending on the e-commerce platforms during this festive period. In the longer term, more and more sellers will continue to benefit from eCommerce growth given its strong positive impact on seller topline and bottom line that emerges from our research,” says Mrigank Gutgutia, Partner at Redseer Strategy Consultants.

 

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The Data-Driven Future of D2C Retail: Personalization & AI in E-Commerce
The Data-Driven Future of D2C Retail: Personalization & AI in E-Commerce
 

In the dynamic realm of retail, one phrase has emerged as the ultimate mantra for success: "Direct-to-Consumer" or D2C. This approach has fundamentally altered how businesses connect with their audience by eliminating intermediaries and establishing direct relationships. However, in today's digital commerce landscape, marked by intense competition and soaring consumer expectations, thriving as a D2C brand requires more than just cutting out the middleman. It necessitates a strategic blend of two forces: personalization and artificial intelligence (AI).

D2C, short for Direct-to-Consumer, represents a business model empowering brands to oversee every aspect from production to marketing and order fulfillment. This model has surged in popularity due to a growing appetite for unique, personalized products. In contrast to the traditional supplier-to-retailer (S2R) approach, where intermediaries like wholesalers come into play, D2C brands directly sell their products through various channels, including e-commerce websites, mobile apps, and brand-owned physical stores. Freed from shelf space constraints and intermediary pricing policies, D2C brands leverage their in-depth knowledge of their target audience to curate captivating product offerings, fueling innovation and fostering close client relationships. 

When it comes to  Artificial Intelligence, which is gaining a stronger foothold in our world day by day, D2C brands are not only able to collect data about consumers but also derive meaningful insights from it. This data-driven strategy enables brands to curate product catalogs with unmatched accuracy, anticipate consumer needs, and optimize pricing strategies. These brands can improve their marketing strategies, streamline their business processes, gain greater insight into their customers, and ultimately thrive in the market by utilising the power of AI. 

For example, imagine an online store that knows exactly what you’re looking for. It recommends products that you didn’t even think you needed. Such is the strength of AI personalization, allowing consumers to enjoy a highly curated experience. This in turn leads to a rise in consumer loyalty as well as conversions. An advantage artificial intelligence has over the human mind is that it is able to analyze and process large amounts of data, identifying patterns that humans might miss.  AI-driven recommendation engines leverage customer browsing and buying patterns to offer tailored product suggestions and content, thereby enhancing the likelihood of customers completing a purchase.

Direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands are reshaping the retail landscape through a powerful arsenal of AI-driven tools, such as recommendation engines, dynamic pricing algorithms, personalized email marketing, natural language processing (NLP), computer vision, machine learning, augmented reality (AR), and virtual assistants. This technological synergy enables D2C brands to deeply connect with consumers and redefine their shopping experience while transcending traditional retail norms. Beyond customer engagement, these tools optimize operations, predict market trends, manage inventory efficiently, and reduce costs and waste through machine learning. Augmented reality and virtual assistants further elevate the customer journey, offering real-world product visualization and personalized assistance. As a result, D2C brands are thriving and pushing the boundaries of what's possible in the retail industry, creating a more seamless and immersive shopping experience for consumers.

In a world where competition is fierce and consumer expectations are higher than ever, D2C brands that embrace personalization and AI as core pillars of their strategy are not only surviving but thriving in the dynamic e-commerce landscape. As technology continues to advance, it's clear that the future of D2C retail will be defined by those who harness the potential of AI to forge deeper connections with their customers and deliver exceptional, tailor-made experiences.

 

About the Author

Parth Patel, Co-founder & Director, Cossouq.com

Parth Patel, Co-founder & Director at Cossouq.com 

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Elevating the Gifting Experience: Crafting Connections in the Digital Age
Elevating the Gifting Experience: Crafting Connections in the Digital Age
 

Gifting is an age-old tradition that has found a new heartbeat in the digital era. E-commerce gifting platforms have redefined the art of expressing sentiments, transforming it into an experience transcending traditional boundaries. This article explores the evolving world of e-commerce gifting platforms, uncovering how they're simplifying the gift-buying process, harnessing the power of artificial intelligence for personalized connections, and shaping a promising future of gifting that resonates deeply in 2023 and beyond.

E-commerce Dignify the Emotions Behind Every Gift

The digital age has brought a sweeping transformation in almost all aspects of life, including gift-giving. While this may seem like a simple enough activity, one has to understand the intricacies and emotional overtures of selecting a gift that communicates the right emotions. Therefore, these platforms help one go beyond the physical exchange of presents, acknowledging that the gifting experience is an emotional journey. It encompasses the entire narrative, from the meticulous selection of the perfect gift to that heartwarming instant of giving and the genuine reaction of the recipient.

These platforms have evolved beyond transactional entities. They have emerged as architects of memories, championing the cause of convenience and forging deeper connections. 

Convenience in the Process of Gift Selection

One of the most praiseworthy features of e-commerce gifting platforms is their ability to simplify gift buying. These platforms have successfully undertaken the Herculean task of stripping away the complexities and anxieties traditionally accompanying the search for the perfect gift. Users are greeted with an appealing and easy-to-use interface, allowing them to effortlessly sift through a treasure trove of gift ideas expertly categorised by occasion, recipient, or budget. The pressure of time no longer hangs heavy; informed decisions can be made with ease. The user-friendly interfaces encourage a culture of appreciation and participation, where giving takes centerstage.

Ever-evolving E-commerce Gifting Platforms

E-commerce gifting platforms have been able to evolve with the changes in the preferences of the customers.  Once confined to mundane options like flowers and chocolates, these platforms have expanded their horizons to align with emerging market trends and demands. Today, the range of gift options available is nothing short of staggering, from meticulously personalised items to unforgettable experiences and eco-conscious and sustainable choices.

This diversification is rooted in the modern consumer's quest for meaningful and thoughtful gifts. E-commerce platforms now serve as one-stop destinations for all occasions, whether a personal celebration, a festive extravaganza, or a corporate gala. Their adaptability ensures that customers are never at a loss for that apt, memorable gift, no matter the context.

AI as Pathway to Foster Connection

Artificial Intelligence (AI), the modern-day marvel, has become a key player in online gift shopping. It's like a digital assistant that understands your preferences by analysing what you've bought before and how you shop online. Then, it uses this knowledge to suggest gifts just right for you.

Social media has vast amounts of information related to individual style. AI mines this goldmine, scouring social interactions, likes, shares, and comments to decipher interests and trending preferences. This insight goes beyond what meets the eye, uncovering the subtleties that define personal tastes. Armed with these comprehensive insights, AI becomes a gift-giving virtuoso. It suggests gifts that reflect the shopper's love, care and appreciation and help the recipient feel valued and cherished.

Furthermore, AI doesn't stop at the act of gifting. It continues to engage, sending reminders for special occasions and suggesting meaningful follow-up actions. This constant interaction and engagement is like having a trustworthy assistant who ensures you never miss a moment to connect.

Bottomline

E-commerce gifting platforms are at the forefront of reshaping the art of gift-giving, emphasizing the entire gifting experience. They have simplified the gift-buying process, expanded their offerings, and harnessed AI for deeply personalised connections. As we gaze toward the horizon, these platforms are poised to continue their journey, making gifting more accessible and meaningful to individuals across the globe. Digital gifting has thus become a convenient and reliable way of ensuring your loved ones receive the best possible gift on their special day. The future of gifting holds the promise of bringing people closer together, one heartfelt gift at a time.

Dhanunjaiah Koppolu Director, MINIKART (2)

     Author: Dhanunjaiah Koppolu, Director, MINIKART

 

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Netcore: Transforming Legacy Email into a Global MarTech Powerhouse
Netcore: Transforming Legacy Email into a Global MarTech Powerhouse
 

In a rapidly evolving tech landscape, companies must adapt to stay relevant. Netcore, once known as a legacy email company, successfully transformed itself into a global MarTech leader by rebranding and focusing on customer-centricity, continual partnerships, and product innovation. Praveen Sridhar, VP - Growth & Special Projects speaks to Indian Retailer about the phenomenal growth journey – from its roots in India to the global MarTech space, the company’s unique strategies for growth, technological innovations, and long-term goals.

From Legacy Email to MarTech Marvel

Netcore began its journey as a legacy email company, but it didn't stop there. The shift in focus towards MarTech products paved the way for success. It strategically started by catering to its home ground, India, where its approach aligned with the sentiments of Southeast Asia. The initial response was promising, validating the value of their products. This positive reception emboldened the company to look beyond Indian shores and go global.

Rebranding and Breaking Free from Legacy Tech

Having spent almost three decades in the industry, Netcore recognized the need to shed its legacy image. The first step in this transformation was rebranding, showcasing a bolder and more vibrant identity. This shift resonated well with the market, but it also posed a challenge. The company had an array of product offerings, albeit siloed. Recognizing the immense market opportunity, Netcore integrated these offerings into a cohesive suite of products. This consolidation allowed for a tightly knit story, converting potential clients into loyal customers. “If you don't have a story, people are not going to get the full value. That's a challenge which we faced. Although we had separate products, we wanted to system that had one suite of products where our goal was simple. For example, if there was an e-commerce customer or a D2C customer, our goal was clear: Help convert your shoppers to buyers. That included everything from product discovery to closure, to reactivation and repurchase,” elaborated Praveen.

A Diverse MarTech Powerhouse

Netcore's journey towards becoming a MarTech powerhouse marked a turning point. The company's diverse portfolio, extended far beyond email services, becoming a comprehensive MarTech solutions provider. This evolution was further validated by reports from industry authorities like Forrester and G2, positioning Netcore as a contender for the MarTech market leadership.

Netcore's strategic vision for future growth today centers around a few core principles. According to Praveen, its Continual Partnerships, Customer-Centricity, Product Innovation and Employee Experience.

  • Continual Partnerships: Netcore believes in forming meaningful partnerships with customers, affiliates, and organizations. The emphasis is on mutual value, ensuring that every engagement delivers tangible benefits.
  • Customer-Centricity: Unlike traditional product-centric companies, Netcore places the customer at the core of all its operations. Every team member, from developers to sales and marketing, is driven by the customer's needs and experiences.
  • Product Innovation: Netcore is committed to constant product innovation, making customer and marketing teams' lives more comfortable. This innovation serves as a core strategy for the company's future growth.
  • Employee Experience: Recognizing that employee experience directly impacts customer experience, Netcore has invested in empowering its teams to drive profitable growth for its customers. This holistic approach has set Netcore apart from competitors.

Technological Innovations

Netcore's technological edge extends beyond its strategies. Unique features like the full-stack offering, search algorithms, and the journey builder distinguish them from their competitors. The company's intelligence on customer and catalog data, coupled with AI-driven personalization capabilities, ensures that Netcore offers an unparalleled experience to its clients.

The brand has set ambitious long-term goals to solidify its position as a one-stop solution for customers' profitable growth. “The company's vision encompasses covering a wide range of verticals, making marketers' lives easier, and reducing friction in consumers' lives. Additionally, we aim to amplify our model of continual partnership to keep customers' growth and happiness at the forefront of its operations,” concluded Praveen.

 

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Private Labels & D2C Products: Transforming Retail as Adoption Skyrockets
Private Labels & D2C Products: Transforming Retail as Adoption Skyrockets
 

India's private label sector and direct-to-consumer sector are currently valued at Rs 13 billion, making up 10-12 percent of the organized retail sector in the country. These labels also enable a significant influence in the offline retail space, dominating a staggering 90 percent of sales in the large apparel and fashion retail sector, while making a substantial 40 percent contribution to sales in the thriving online grocery retail segment. Prominent retailers like Pantaloons, Tata Group’s Trent Ltd, Shoppers Stop, and Spencer’s Retail have been increasingly emphasizing private label retailing, with private labels accounting for 90 percent of Trent’s sales, 80 percent of Reliance’s, and 75 percent of Pantaloon’s overall sales. Aditya Birla Retail is also planning to boost the contribution of its own brands in sales from the current 3 percent to 10 percent over the next 2-3 years.

InGovern, a leading corporate governance advisory firm, released a research report titled, ”Private Labels and Direct to Consumer Brands: Democratising Retail Commerce in India,” analyzing the role of private labels and D2C products and their growing adoption in retail. The report highlights the advantages that private labels and D2C brands bring to retailers and small businesses while simultaneously helping consumers by providing more affordable and higher-quality products.

Speaking on this, Shriram Subramanian, Managing Director, InGovern said, “Private labels and direct-to-consumer brands offer a mutually beneficial scenario in India’s retail sector, empowering MSMEs with increased revenue streams, brand recognition, and global access while providing consumers with cost-effective, customizable, and trusted alternatives. As the e-commerce industry soars, regulatory clarity and streamlined oversight are imperative for sustained growth and innovation. The government can enable the start-up community by creating a policy environment that creates more investment opportunities and selling platforms both offline and offline. There is no reason for the government to bar the D2C approach as long as they are compliant with the law. The government must allow the same equitable treatment of e-commerce e-tailers/marketplaces as they do for offline sellers.”

The report also mentions how these brands are owned and manufactured by retailers/marketplaces for reasons such as generating higher margins, filling product range gaps not covered by branded suppliers, differentiating their store's product range from competitors, and enhancing profitability and customer loyalty. Additionally, it emphasizes how partnering with retailers for private label and D2C products offers MSMEs numerous benefits, including diversifying revenue streams, reducing reliance on single products, and fostering stable collaborations, which, in turn, boosts financial stability through increased sales. These partnerships aid in building brand recognition and loyalty by exposing products to a wider audience over time.

The report concludes by pointing out how sharing marketing and distribution duties with retailers/marketplaces through private labels and D2C products can help MSMEs focus on innovation and product enhancement, and be part of economies of scale by cutting production costs, elevating profitability, fueling economic growth and expanding the customer base.

 

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Reducing Shopping Cart Abandonment: How RTE Enables E-Commerce Websites to Engage with Users
Reducing Shopping Cart Abandonment: How RTE Enables E-Commerce Websites to Engage with Users
 

In today's digital landscape, relying solely on static images on product pages is insufficient to motivate shoppers and ensure they follow through with their purchases. According to McKinsey & Company, live-commerce-initiated sales could account for 20 percent of all e-commerce by 2026. India's e-commerce market is projected to be $220 billion by 2025, while live commerce could touch upwards of $50 billion in terms of Gross Merchandise Value (GMV), according to EY India. To boost the conversion rate and drive successful orders, it's crucial to empower content creators within your marketplace to establish personal connections with customers through live video and chat interactions. This interactive approach enhances the shopping experience by allowing content creators to engage directly with shoppers, answer their questions, and address any concerns in real-time, thereby encouraging them to proceed with their buying decisions.

By leveraging Real Time Engagement (RTE), e-commerce websites can provide a personalized and interactive experience to their users, enhancing customer engagement and ultimately driving conversions. Here are some ways RTE enables e-commerce websites to engage with users:

Live Chat

RTE enables the implementation of live chat functionality on e-commerce websites. This allows users to interact with customer support representatives or chatbots in real-time, getting immediate assistance for their queries or concerns. Live chat enhances customer satisfaction, increases trust, and helps users make informed purchasing decisions.

Personalized Recommendations

RTE allows e-commerce websites to deliver personalized product recommendations based on user preferences, browsing history, purchase behavior, and other relevant data. By analyzing user data in real-time, RTE can present tailored product suggestions, cross-sell or upsell offers, and targeted promotions, leading to increased user engagement and higher conversion rates. RTE platforms provide options like live auctions, live streams, and personal shoppers which makes for a hyper-engaging shopping experience.

Real-Time Notifications

E-commerce websites can use RTE to send real-time notifications to users. These notifications can include updates about order status, back-in-stock alerts for desired products, personalized offers, flash sales, and more. By delivering timely and relevant notifications, e-commerce websites can keep users engaged, encourage repeat visits, and drive conversions.

Dynamic Content

RTE enables e-commerce websites to display dynamic content that adapts in real-time based on user interactions or external factors. For example, websites can showcase limited-time offers or countdown timers for discounts, display social proof such as recent purchases or customer reviews, or highlight trending products. Dynamic content captures user attention, creates a sense of urgency, and encourages immediate action.

Interactive Product Visualization

With RTE, e-commerce websites can offer interactive product visualization tools such as 360-degree product views, augmented reality (AR) try-on experiences, or virtual reality (VR) showrooms. These immersive experiences enable users to engage with products in a more interactive and realistic way, enhancing their confidence in making purchase decisions.

Gamification

RTE can be leveraged to incorporate gamification elements into e-commerce websites, making the shopping experience more enjoyable and engaging. This can include interactive quizzes, challenges, rewards, leaderboards, or loyalty programs. Gamification fosters user engagement, promotes brand loyalty, and incentivizes repeat purchases.

RTE can help bring a marketplace to life with human interaction. It helps decrease shopping cart abandonment and increase cross-selling by encouraging customers to socialize with each other and influencers to purchase an entire look, find seasonal necessities, get expert advice, and more. RTE empowers e-commerce websites to go beyond static content and deliver personalized, interactive, and real-time experiences to users. By leveraging these capabilities, e-commerce websites can enhance user engagement, build trust, and ultimately drive conversions and revenue.

 

About the Author

Ranga Jagannath, Senior Director, Agora

Ranga Jagannath, Senior Director, Agora 

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Why Flexible Technology Architecture and Integrated Leadership are Imperative in Digital Commerce
Why Flexible Technology Architecture and Integrated Leadership are Imperative in Digital Commerce
 

To grow digital commerce and leapfrog competitors, it’s critical to establish both the right technological and leadership foundation. It’s not surprising that chief marketing, sales, and revenue officers drive stronger business performance, given their customer-centric focus. But that’s not to say that technology leaders take a back seat. Business leaders can only bring their visions to life when the tech stack supports the experience roadmap. Today, that means hyper-personalized, hyper-channel capabilities that bring commerce functionality to physical stores, mobile and smart devices, chatbots, social networks, and non-standard points of engagement.

Data from a recent study found organizations that combine customer-centric leadership with flexible, future-forward technology that is Microservices-based, API-first, Cloud-native, and Headless (MACH) are best positioned to win the digital race. This framework allows enterprises to handle any new experience and deliver it far faster than traditional commerce technologies.

The monolithic era is over

Like all enterprise systems, e-commerce platforms were historically architected as monoliths, meaning backend components such as Catalog, Pricing, Accounts, Cart, and Checkout all live within a single code base, along with the front end. While many monoliths can be customized by adding code (within limits), they all eventually hit their breaking points – becoming too large and too fragile to maintain without introducing bugs or adding technical debt. With a tight-coupled front end, they also struggle to hook into important, non-standard consumer touchpoints like mobile applications, video, digital screens, social networks, and chat applications to make them natively “shoppable.”

In recent years, a new pattern has emerged, commonly called MACH (Microservices, API-first, Cloud-native, Headless), or ‘composable commerce’. This approach breaks the monolith into smaller, independent pieces (microservices) that communicate with each other through an API layer. Microservices’ independent code and data store enable developers to build new features and experiences much faster and with less risk than hacking the monolith, including experiences built for novel touchpoints. For this reason, it’s rare for an enterprise to procure new systems in monolithic form – MACH has become mainstream.

Because an organization can use microservices alongside existing legacy monoliths (provided they are “headless” with a supporting API layer), migration to MACH can be done fast, or gradually over time using the strangler pattern.

Solving with extensibility

To provide even greater flexibility, this evolved version of MACH can add extensibility to the equation. Where most commercial off-the-shelf microservices can only be used “as delivered” by the vendor, the extensible version uses open-source technologies that can be modified and customized to suit the unique requirements of a business or project. The same tech stack can be used to build bespoke microservices to handle ultra-innovative requirements.

This flexible foundation will ensure that the commerce system is future-proof and can evolve in step with business objectives and consumer expectations. New capabilities can work seamlessly with existing APIs and be deployed anywhere. Keeping API customizations separate from core layers will ensure that organizations are on a seamless upgrade path. This means customizations never need to be rebuilt to stay on the latest version of any microservice.

This is important for long-term IT efficiency, as the cost to redo any work always comes at the expense of new delivery, consuming resources that would otherwise be applied to continuous innovation.

Digital commerce as a ‘team sport’

This ethos of continuous innovation and continuous delivery supports both IT and business objectives, but customer-facing leadership makes a difference in business outcomes. The study found that companies organized around value streams are 50 percent more likely to be among the fastest to bring innovation to market.

This means a company is more likely to lead the market if digital commerce is owned by the CMO, CRO or CSO (marketing, revenue, or sales, respectively). However, the best-performing companies recognize that digital commerce is a team sport and favor a decentralized organizational model where specialized digital commerce roles are deeply integrated across other business functions.

Decentralization makes digital commerce part of an organization’s DNA, increasing its visibility and impact internally and externally. Undoubtedly, technology leaders play a key role in building the ecosystem containing everything that matters — architecture, capabilities, analytics, system integrations, and payments. It’s critical for organizations to have both technology units and revenue leaders work in harmony toward a common vision, enabled by flexible architecture that brings the vision to market, fast.

About the Author

Amit Kalley is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Infosys Equinox, a human-centric digital commerce and digital marketing platform. Amit has successfully driven digital transformations for over a hundred G2K enterprises across the globe for over 2 decades. His experience spans a wide range of industries including retail, CPG, high-tech, manufacturing, financial services, telecom, energy, and media.  With a strong foundation in technology, Amit has created and taken to market several industry-leading products, solutions, and practices. Prior to his current role, he has held leadership positions in the other Infosys products portfolios and at Infosys Labs. He has also been the Global Head of Innovation at Infosys for multiple industry verticals. Amit has an MBA from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and a B Tech in Aerospace Engineering from IIT, Kharagpur.

 Amit Kalley, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Infosys Equinox

Amit Kalley is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Infosys Equinox, a human-centric digital commerce and digital marketing platform. Amit has successfully driven digital transformations for over a hundred G2K enterprises across the globe for over 2 decades. His experience spans a wide range of industries including retail, CPG, high-tech, manufacturing, financial services, telecom, energy, and media. 

With a strong foundation in technology, Amit has created and taken to market several industry-leading products, solutions, and practices. Prior to his current role, he has held leadership positions in the other Infosys products portfolios and at Infosys Labs. He has also been the Global Head of Innovation at Infosys for multiple industry verticals. Amit has an MBA from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and a B Tech in Aerospace Engineering from IIT, Kharagpur.

 

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Amazon India & India Post Forge Strategic Partnership to Streamline Cross-Border Logistics for MSME Exporters
Amazon India & India Post Forge Strategic Partnership to Streamline Cross-Border Logistics for MSME Exporters
 

Amazon India recently announced a series of initiatives aimed at boosting India's digital economy and exports, aligning with its commitments to the country. In a move that deepens its longstanding partnership with India Post and Indian Railways, which form the backbone of India's logistics and supply chain infrastructure, the company has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with India Post. This MoU paves the way for an integrated cross-border logistics solution that promises to significantly expand the e-commerce export opportunities available to micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) across India.

“Amazon India's recent collaboration with India Post marks a noteworthy development. Currently, over 125,000 sellers participate in the global selling program, allowing for easy registration online. The partnership with India Post offers significant advantages for exporters. They can conveniently drop off their shipments at the nearest post office, eliminating the hassles of logistics and paperwork. This simplification enables exporters to concentrate on their core expertise—developing high-quality products—without the burden of handling intricate logistics. While Amazon already manages much of the paperwork, this partnership further streamlines the process by integrating it with the extensive postal network,” said Manish Tiwary, Country Manager India Consumer Business, Amazon India.

As a testament to their decade-long partnership, India Post and Amazon unveiled a commemorative postal stamp. This stamp not only celebrates the enduring collaboration between Amazon and India Post but also underscores their joint effort to reach customers in 100 percent serviceable pin codes throughout India. It creatively showcases the various transportation modes that Amazon employs to efficiently deliver products from sellers on its marketplace to customers across the country.

Dr. Jitendra Singh, Minister of State (I/C), MoS in the Prime Minister's office, Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Department of Atomic Energy, Department of Space, Government of India, lauded Amazon's commitment to digitize 10 million MSMEs, create 2 million jobs, and drive $20 billion in e-commerce exports from India by 2025. He emphasized the transformative potential of digitization for small businesses, including economic growth, broader customer reach, reduced marketing and distribution costs, and access to international markets.

The collaboration between Amazon and India Post promises to be a game-changer. By harnessing India Post's extensive nationwide reach, including their Dak Niryat Kendras, and combining it with Amazon's substantial investments in technology, logistics, and infrastructure, this partnership aims to lower the entry barriers for Indian entrepreneurs looking to capitalize on the burgeoning export market. It will simplify cross-border logistics and compliance for Indian exporters, enabling them to ship their products directly to customers worldwide with ease.

Under this collaboration, Indian exporters participating in Amazon's Global Selling program will have the convenience of booking shipments, printing shipping labels, and paying for shipping directly from their seller central accounts. They can then drop off these shipments at over 100 Dak Niryat Kendras located across India. From there, these consignments will be efficiently exported to overseas customers.

Shri. Vineet Pandey, Secretary, Department of Posts, and Chairperson, Postal Services Board, expressed his enthusiasm for this collaboration, emphasizing that “India Post's Dak Niryat Kendras have been specifically designed to empower small businesses across India and enhance their contribution to India's overall exports. This partnership with Amazon is a significant step in lowering entry barriers for countless Indian small businesses, enabling them to seize the e-commerce export opportunity.”

 

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ONDC to Bring The Next Big B2B Digital Commerce Revolution In India
ONDC to Bring The Next Big B2B Digital Commerce Revolution In India
 

The pioneering initiative, the Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC), spearheaded by the Government of India, seeks to democratize the e-commerce landscape in the nation. At present, e-commerce contributes just about 4.3 percent to the retail commerce sector in India.

To enable and educate India Inc. about the numerous benefits of ONDC, Deloitte released a whitepaper titled “Commerce@Bharat: Redefining business models and supply chain.”

By fostering an inclusive, competitive, and open network, the initiative aims to amplify its impact across the business spectrum. ONDC is dedicated to establishing an interoperable marketplace that seamlessly accommodates sellers of all scales − from small and medium-sized enterprises to larger entities.

Through this comprehensive whitepaper, Deloitte intends to guide, handhold, and enable stakeholders toward the next phase of transformative growth.

"ONDC is a remarkable opportunity for India's economy spanning diverse industries," remarked Sathish Gopalaiah, President, Consulting, Deloitte South Asia.

"I'm optimistic about India's forthcoming growth phase, where empowerment shifts to consumers and SMEs, aligning with ONDC's mission of illuminating Bharat. At Deloitte our aim is to help customers navigate various challenges whilst leveraging the opportunities that technology and digital commerce bring together with open network.

With a unique proposition built around agility, security, and profitability at the same time, ONDC streamlines value chains, bridges gaps, and endorses innovation, paving the way for the next generation to explore novel paths.”

Four important industry trends emerge in this context:

  • Empowering financial institutions through ONDC: The network presents a unique opportunity for Financial Institutions to engage with both “buy and sell” sides of a transaction. As ONDC's adoption increases, FIs stand to explore untapped segments and geographies. Regional banks' dominance over certain segments could be disrupted by forward-thinking financial institutions, bridging gaps for MSMEs to access services that were previously out of reach.
  • ONDC empowering brands and retailers: With the launch of B2B on ONDC, brands can establish connections with retailers or facilitate their distributors' entry into new markets. With “plug and play” capabilities (such as real-time ordering, swift delivery, and credit management) offered by eco-system participants, ONDC will enhance the experience for both brands and retailers.
  • Direct access for farmers through ONDC: The network champions technological utilization, enabling direct access for farmers to inputs, services, and buyers. This transformative shift holds the potential to modernize Indian agriculture and streamline the value chain, ushering in greater efficiency and profitability. Farmers gain direct access to buyers, while the Farmers Producer Organisation (FPO) can establish direct connections with potential clients, bypassing intermediaries. This integration optimizes the value chain, facilitating trade amongst stakeholders (such as mandis, corporations, traders, hospitality establishments, and farm-to-table start-ups).
  • Optimizing cost to serve manufacturers: The availability of suppliers, logistic providers, and other ancillary service providers on a single network enables manufacturers to respond to sudden disruption in the supply chain. ONDC will also enable manufacturers, especially small and medium scale, to access demand in markets beyond their immediate reach. Thus, ONDC has the capability to create an integrated manufacturing value chain, thereby improving operational efficiencies and effectiveness by 5–10 percent.

The ONDC network is poised to disrupt the following four key industries within the economy:

  • Financial services: The industry envisions redefining offerings for digitally native banking clients using transaction data, fintech, and account aggregators. By digitizing SME data and expanding banks' customer experience horizons, the ONDC ecosystem opens new avenues of commerce.
  • Manufacturing: ONDC can support India's aspiration to elevate the manufacturing sector's GDP share from 16−17 percent to 25 percent. This initiative empowers the Indian manufacturing segment to realize opportunities and tackle challenges along the value chain.
  • Retail and e-commerce: The network will bring a transformative shift in how brands, retailers, and MSMEs procure goods and services. With the increasing significance of online sales, the retail ecosystem can use ONDC for streamlined interactions within the supply chain and with end users.
  • Agriculture: With the potential to revolutionize technology adoption in the agricultural landscape, ONDC can unite buyers and sellers across the network.
 

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The Role of Audio Products in Smart Home Ecosystem
The Role of Audio Products in Smart Home Ecosystem
 

In today's interconnected world, smart homes are becoming increasingly prevalent, transforming the way we live and interact with our living spaces. While smart home devices like voice assistants and connected appliances have gained significant attention, audio products are emerging as a central component of the smart home ecosystem. With advancements in technology and the growing demand for seamless integration, audio products such as active ceiling speakers are playing a vital role in creating immersive, intelligent, and convenient home environments. Let's explore how audio products are shaping the future of smart homes.

The Hub of Control

 Audio products are evolving into central hubs for controlling and interacting with various smart home devices. With voice assistants integrated into speakers, users can effortlessly control lighting, thermostats, security systems, and more through simple voice commands. For example, talking directly to home automation AI networks via a Lithe Audio speaker. The ability to connect and control multiple devices through audio products enhances convenience and accessibility, making the smart home experience more intuitive and user-friendly.

Enhanced Entertainment

 Audio products, such as wireless ceiling speakers and in-ceiling surround sound systems, are revolutionising the entertainment experience within smart homes. With WiSA (Wireless Speaker and Audio) technology, brands like Lithe Audio allows consumers to enjoy high-quality, immersive audio without the need for cumbersome surround sound wiring. Wireless Speaker and Audio technology allows for easy installation and flexible placement of speakers, creating a seamless and clutter-free audio setup. From movie nights to music streaming, audio products are enhancing the entertainment possibilities within smart homes.  This universal surround sound platform allows speakers to become your wireless concealed surround speakers for any other brand of TV and front of house speakers.

Integration with Artificial Intelligence

 As artificial intelligence (AI) assistants become more prevalent, audio products are integrating seamlessly with these intelligent systems. Imagine a future where a whole home ceiling speaker system is voice-controlled by a smart home AI assistant. This integration allows for a truly interconnected and personalised experience. AI assistants can learn user preferences, adjust audio settings based on room acoustics, and even curate music playlists tailored to individual tastes. The synergy between AI and speakers by brands like Lithe Audio opens up a new world of possibilities for smart home enthusiasts.

Multi-Room Audio

 Surface mounted outdoor products are enabling multi-room audio capabilities, transforming smart homes into synchronised soundscapes. With wireless connectivity and smart home integration, users can enjoy their favourite music or podcasts throughout the indoors and outdoors of their entire home, seamlessly transitioning from space to space without missing a beat. Whether it's morning motivation in the kitchen, relaxing tunes in the living room, or a soothing ambience extending to the patio and garden, multi-room audio brings a whole new level of immersion and convenience to the smart home environment.

Future Possibilities

 The future of audio products in smart homes holds tremendous potential. Advancements in technology, such as spatial audio and augmented reality (AR), promise to create even more immersive and interactive experiences. Users may be able to enjoy 3D audio that adapts to their specific location within a room or virtual environments that merge digital content seamlessly with real-world surroundings. These advancements will further enhance the entertainment, communication, and overall smart home experience.


Conclusion

 As the smart home industry continues to expand, audio products are assuming a pivotal role in creating seamless integration, immersive entertainment, and intelligent control within our homes. Speakers can act as central hubs for smart home management to delivering high-quality audio experiences, these products are transforming the way we interact with our living spaces. With future advancements on the horizon, the possibilities for audio products within the smart home ecosystem are truly limitless. As we embrace the interconnectedness of our homes, let us not underestimate the significant contributions that Lithe Audio products make in shaping the smart home of tomorrow.

The author:

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Veeryavanta Pariat Bhide, Director Sales, Residential AV, Alphatec

 

 

 

 

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Discover the Best Food in iGaming Venues Worldwide
Discover the Best Food in iGaming Venues Worldwide
 

Playing your favorite games at popular iGaming venues is already quite an adventure. However, these places usually have something more to offer and we’re talking about serving some of the most delectable dishes that can make your gaming experience even more memorable.

From the clinking of chips to the sizzle of gourmet delights, let’s explore why iGaming venues have become a hub for some of the best food around.

Of course, this article wouldn’t be complete if we don’t talk about specific foods you should be looking for when you visit them.

Why iGaming Venues Have Some of the Best Food Served
You know that feeling when you're having a great time, and suddenly your stomach grumbles, distracting you from all the fun? Well, iGaming venues want to make sure that doesn't happen to their guests.

If they also take care of their guests by serving the best food, they somehow help ensure that you still stay fueled up and energized to play more of your favorite games.

But it’s not just about preventing hunger pangs. These venues are all about creating an immersive and memorable experience for their customers.

Let’s also not forget the social aspect of dining. Casinos often have restaurants, buffets, and cafes that offer a relaxed and inviting environment where you can chat with your friends, companions, and fellow players, or even strike up a conversation with someone new.

Everyone can agree that sharing a meal is a great way to connect with others. Pretty much, the more memorable your experience is, the higher the chance that you’ll keep coming back for the same great experience.

What are the Best Foods They Serve?
So, if you’re craving food that live casino online sites just can’t give, you can go ahead and start planning your next casino trip.

It can be an iGaming venue in any gambling hotspot like Las Vegas, Atlantic City, or the Caribbean. What we’re sure about is that these are the foods they most likely will offer on their
menu:

Sizzling Steaks
Imagine sinking your teeth into a perfectly grilled steak that’s juicy, tender, and bursting with flavor. Steaks are a casino favorite because they’re hearty and satisfying, and provide that protein-packed punch to keep you energized during intense gaming sessions. The sizzle and aroma give you a great sensory experience.

Irresistible Burgers
Nothing hits the spot quite like a delicious burger, right? Casinos know that burgers are the ultimate comfort food. They’re customizable, handheld delights that cater to a wide range of tastes. Many of them offer classic cheeseburgers or gourmet creations piled high with toppings to satisfy that meaty craving. 

Yummy Sushi
iGaming venues often serve up exquisite sushi rolls that are as much a feast for the eyes as they are for the palate. Sushi is a culinary masterpiece, offering a delicate balance of flavors and textures. The artistry behind each roll adds an element of elegance to your dining experience.

Seafood Delights
Fresh seafood, anyone? iGaming venues excel at serving up seafood delights like oysters, shrimp cocktails, and lobster tails. These ocean treasures bring a touch of luxury and sophistication. Their light yet flavorful nature makes them perfect for enjoying between bets. You shouldn’t miss out on these especially if you’re visiting a casino in a tropical setting.

Vibrant Salads
Health-conscious players rejoice! Casinos wouldn’t want to skip serving healthy delights, especially salads. They can come as an appetizer but no one would judge you if you want to eat salad as your main meal. Salads are also a great option for those who want a lighter meal without compromising on taste.

Decadent Desserts
Indulgence is the name of the game when it comes to desserts at casino restaurants. These sweet treats are usually a celebration of sweetness and artistry. It’s rare to see these venues serving dull desserts. They serve not only decadent but also visually pleasing desserts that can add that final touch of luxury to your whole experience.

Wrapping Up
So if you’re more excited about the food as you plan your next casino trip, we just can’t blame you. These iGaming venues simply can’t help but give you the best and most well-rounded casino experience.

Pro tip: before visiting any casino, always check the food menu at the casino restaurant. If they don’t have their restaurant, at least check what establishments are nearby so you already know where to go when hunger strikes.

We hope you’re ready to roll the dice, place your bets, and embark on a gastronomic journey that’ll leave you craving more than just hitting the jackpots. Bon appétit and may the odds be ever in your flavor-filled favor!

 

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Factors Amping up the Popularity of Refurbished Gadgets in the Market
Factors Amping up the Popularity of Refurbished Gadgets in the Market
 

 

Fast-paced digital world has brought a series of changes in terms of consumer preferences and buying behavior. Today, digitalization is the utmost priority for the Indian market with rising technology consumption. However, the country still boasts of more than 400 million feature phone users attributed to frequent model upgrades, affordability and interruptions in the supply chain, which inhibit consumers from getting their hands on a brand-new phone. 

Against the backdrop of this, the second-hand smartphone market is rising at an unprecedented pace. The IDC and Indian Cellular and Electronics Association (ICEA) reveals – around 25 million second-hand smartphones were bought and sold in the market and their sales are projected to rise to 51 million units at a valuation of $4.6 billion by 2025. A convergence of factors leads to the rising demand for refurbished or second-hand smartphones in the market. 

Value for money

Pocket-friendliness is the most typical reason for consumers to shift to refurbished smartphones. India’s largest demographic segment i.e., the middle class comprises about 300 million individuals and is the major driver of such smartphones. In retail, refurbished or second-hand smartphones are sold at almost half of the Average Selling Price (ASP) of a new one. 

The recent market data states – 78% of the users buying a refurbished smartphone have a monthly income of less than Rs. 30,000 while 18% have a monthly income between Rs. 30,000 and Rs. 50,000. Hence, refurbished smartphones fulfill the aspirational demands of this consumer class who look for affordability to satisfy their appetite for high-end devices.  

Reduce e-waste footprints

In 2020, more than 20 million smartphones were traded in the second-hand market. This exhibits the possibility of another 100 million smartphones stacked idle at home. Most of the phones that remain at home are kept as spare phones for emergencies or just sitting in a drawer. This could be an appealing choice for environmentally conscious consumers who are becoming aware of their own e-waste footprints. 

Refurbished smartphones slow down the e-waste generation process as the refurbishing process gives the device a new life that eventually increases its longevity. Around 85% to 95% of a phone’s annual footprint comes from the energy-intensive process of manufacturing. The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, 2021 suggests refurbishing can bring down this carbon footprint to almost 55% as compared to using a brand-new smartphone for 2.5 years. 

Quality Assurance

Many smartphone users remain skeptical about the quality which ultimately influences their buying decision. In recent years, the refurbished smartphone market has evolved into a more organized segment. Many players in the refurbishing market constantly gauge consumer demands and focus on customer centricity by providing quality assurance. 

There are several organized players in the smartphone refurbishment market who ensure quality assurance. By testing the device internally and externally, these players ensure the quality of devices from multiple checkpoints. For instance, considering at least 80% battery health, the functionality of all ports, key parts functionality, etc. to deliver optimum performance. 

Enjoy extended warranties

Previously, the refurbished smartphone market was recognized for the void of warranty on devices. As a result, consumers preferred brand-new smartphones for the warranties and other offers they received from the brand. However, the new-age refurbished smartphones often come with extended warranties. Once the company examines the smartphone, it sends the phone for reconditioning which further helps resellers or dealers to provide replacement and extended warranties to consumers. 

Warranty on a refurbished smartphone gives the consumer peace of mind and ensures they have purchased it from a certified seller. It eases their concerns about the maintenance and service of the smartphone and boosts their confidence in refurbished gadgets. 

Ease in availability from reputable sellers

The entry of organized players in the refurbished smartphone market is augmenting the sales of refurbished smartphones. Besides the metropolitan cities, tier 2 and tier 3 cities also demonstrate growing demand for such smartphones due to affordability and accessibility that has been eased by refurbishing players. 

These refurbishing companies have benchmark processes to extend the longevity of smartphones with additional value-added services. As a result, the consumer gets the similar rights of purchasing a brand-new smartphone when actually buying a refurbished one. Additionally, this can keep customers steer clear of false or deceptive selling as well as misleading promotions. 

Final Thoughts

The refurbished smartphone market is triggering several benefits that were once unimaginable to capitalize on. With accelerated refurbished smartphone adoption across tier 2 and 3 cities, the market is harmonizing the demand and supply of advanced smartphones in the market. Additionally, it is creating a cult of technologically advanced smartphone users that can be a game-changer in enabling India’s digital transformation journey. 

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Sourav Gupta, CEO, XtraCover

Sourav Gupta, CEO, XtraCover co-founded XtraCover, an e-commerce platform that caters to the life cycle management services of smartphones and other electronic devices. As Co-Founder and CEO, he handles multiple tasks including operations management, product portfolio, development of digital marketing strategy & product pricing, and funds management for Business Units.
 

 

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Why Observability is Indispensable to the Indian e-commerce Market
Why Observability is Indispensable to the Indian e-commerce Market
 

The e-commerce ecosystem in India grew significantly in 2022 with over 750 e-commerce startups securing funding, and the direct to consumer (D2C) segment branching out offline. D2C brands alone received funding of over $11.7 billion in 2022. 

Amidst this expansive growth, consumer expectations have also begun to shift, with omnichannel operations front and centre. Research has also found that 88% of Indian consumers want to purchase items as quickly as possible, which demonstrates how crucial it is for e-commerce businesses to deliver exceptional customer experiences.

The challenging macroeconomic climate has put these businesses under significant pressure to deliver and innovate. This requires websites, mobile apps, and social media buying channels to be running smoothly and around the clock. Observability is indispensable for e-commerce companies looking to secure sales through their web and mobile properties. It ensures uptime and performance are optimized long before any traffic surges begin, preventing customer defection to competitors.

However, the situation in India is quite different. Most startups in the e-commerce space view observability as a solution to use only in times of crisis and therefore, not an investment priority. The misconception largely stems from a narrow view that some organizations hold of observability. In reality, observability is at the heart of keeping digital assets up and running, reducing churn for engineering teams, and most importantly, identifying customer preferences and delivering across websites, Order Management Systems, or mobile apps.

For e-commerce businesses that require strong digital systems, observability is a must, and there are two key ways it can boost growth.

Improve the bottom line

Revenue can be vastly affected when system-performance problems impact the customer experience, and ultimately sales-conversion rates. When web pages are slow to load and frustrate customers, it leads to low transaction-completion rates, bearing a direct impact on sales conversion. A recent report from Akamai Technologies, showed that page-load times exceeding 4 seconds can drive away as much as 80% of potential customers, and shopping-cart performance delays and degradations can drive up cart abandonment by as much as 30%.

Additionally, a study by Deloitte found that 70% of consumers cite page load speed on mobile phones impacts their willingness to buy from an online retailer. When considered alongside the fact that approximately half of mobile users won’t download an app with a rating below four stars, the importance of mobile performance issues, errors, and crashes play a huge part in user ratings and in turn, the bottom line. 

An all-in-one observability solution can dramatically reduce the negative impact of errors and delays to e-commerce revenue by making it easy to identify, locate, and address issues before customers are impacted.

Insights that Drive Agility and Innovation

Visibility into the IT environment is crucial, especially for digital businesses like e-commerce companies where knowledge on where the site traffic is coming from is essential. Diwali and Black Friday sales would require e-commerce companies to bring more databases online, more virtual machines (VMs) added to a cluster, and more customer service operators staffing online chats — all to ensure uptime when traffic is high.

Observability is pivotal in ensuring seamless performance across cloud, hybrid, and on-premise environments, identifying third-party performance issues that put the shopping experience at risk, accurately identifying sources of latency, errors, slow-loading images, and other performance barriers.

All-in-one observability solutions will ensure e-commerce companies identify such problems proactively. Thanks to having a single source of truth across systems and stakeholders, these businesses can make game-changing connections between system performance, customer experience, and business KPIs, while informing decisions that boost conversions, revenue, and customer lifetime value.

Monitoring customer engagement and interactions then becomes effortless, guiding businesses towards smarter site-investment decisions. It empowers teams to collaborate on problem solving, and enhance customer experiences. Observability sets DevOps teams up for success with analytics to drive iteration and innovation, dramatically reducing manual toil.

With millions of dollars on the line and many balls in the air to juggle, e-commerce businesses need to stay focused on factors such as conversion rate, order counts, payment success rates, and Apdex for key transactions. Building and sharing real-time analytics and dashboards creates visibility into user flow and performance across web, mobile, and infrastructure by tracking key metrics and user satisfaction scores. All-in-one observability solutions lead to better business outcomes, adding significantly to the quality of the digital customer experience being delivered. 

E-commerce is a 365-days-a-year business. While a lot is at stake during peak season, ensuring apps, websites and other points of contact are up and running smoothly at all times is critical for online retailers. Successful companies need a flexible, “always-on” approach to development, testing, and monitoring and this is possible with observability. 

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Rob Newell, Vice President of Customer Adoption for APJ, New Relic

As New Relic Vice President of Customer Adoption APJ, Rob Newell is responsible for the growth of customer acquisition, customer success and driving observability maturity across
the APJ region. Rob is an experienced technology and business leader with more than 20 years experience spanning sales, solutions consulting, operations and technology delivery
across the APJ region.

 

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Revolutionizing Last-Mile Delivery: Blockchain and the Future of Instantaneous Logistics
Revolutionizing Last-Mile Delivery: Blockchain and the Future of Instantaneous Logistics
 

In today's fast-paced world where instant gratification is the new norm, the demand for efficient and reliable last-mile delivery has reached a new high. Consumers today expect their packages to arrive on designated time slots, securely, and in a hassle-free manner. To meet these expectations, the logistics industry is now embracing innovative technologies, and one such technology that holds immense promise is Blockchain.

Transparency is critical in the logistics industry, and blockchain excels in providing an immutable and transparent ledger. A study by Accenture found that blockchain technology can reduce costs related to logistics such as tracking and tracing, by up to 20%. With transparent and auditable records of every transaction, stakeholders can easily track and verify the movement of goods, thus increasing trust and reducing the chances of fraud and theft.

Off late, decentralized marketplaces powered by blockchain are gaining traction in the logistics industry. These platforms facilitate peer-to-peer transactions, eliminating intermediaries and enabling efficient and cost-effective last-mile delivery solutions. This model not only empowers local delivery providers but also leads to improved service quality and reduced costs for consumers.

Efficient route planning is a significant challenge in last-mile delivery. The inefficiencies associated with traditional methods can result in increased delivery times and costs. As per a study by DHL, inefficient route planning can increase delivery costs by 25%. By leveraging blockchain's decentralized nature, algorithms can optimize delivery routes in real-time, considering factors such as traffic conditions, weather forecasts, and delivery demand. This dynamic route optimization can lead to significant time and cost savings for logistics providers.

Another major concern in last-mile delivery is security and blockchain technology has the ability to significantly enhance it. Blockchain's ability to create tamper-proof records of each transaction and shipment movement adds an extra layer of security to the entire delivery process. Additionally, the decentralized nature of blockchain makes it highly resistant to hacking or data breaches, ensuring the integrity and confidentiality of sensitive information.

When it comes to last-mile delivery, trust and reliability are crucial factors. A study by Deloitte found that blockchain technology can enhance trust among stakeholders, reducing the need for intermediaries and improving operational efficiencies. By utilizing decentralized consensus mechanisms, blockchain platforms have the ability to verify the authenticity of participants and ensure contractual obligations are fulfilled. Such an environment fosters confidence and strengthens partnerships within the logistics ecosystem.

As we look towards the future, the potential applications of blockchain in last-mile delivery are vast. It is predicted that by 2025, 20% of all IoT deployments will have basic levels of blockchain services enabled. This integration of blockchain with emerging technologies like IoT devices can enable real-time tracking and monitoring of packages, further enhancing the efficiency and transparency of last-mile delivery.

To sum it up, blockchain holds the key to revolutionizing last-mile delivery in the era of instantaneous logistics. By leveraging blockchain's transparency, decentralized marketplaces, efficient route planning, enhanced security, and trust-building capabilities, we can reshape the logistics industry to meet the ever-increasing demands of modern consumers.

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Vishal Totla, Co-Founder and COO Shipyaari

Vishal is the COO & Co- Founder of Shipyaari. As an experienced chartered accountant, a seasoned business
professional, an entrepreneur, and an investor, he has over 10 years of industry experience in Retail, Distribution,
Logistics, and Supply Chain management.

 

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The Digital Transformation of Enterprise Procurement: A Post-Pandemic Paradigm Shift
The Digital Transformation of Enterprise Procurement: A Post-Pandemic Paradigm Shift
 

The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2019 brought the world to a standstill and forced enterprises to rethink their traditional procurement processes. As businesses faced disruptions in supply chains, remote working challenges, and economic uncertainties, the pandemic became a catalyst for the acceleration of digital transformation in procurement. Let’s explore how the pandemic has revolutionized enterprise procurement, leading to a seismic shift towards digitalization. We will examine seven major trends that showcase the before-and-after scenarios of procurement in the post-pandemic era.

Embracing Remote Collaboration Tools:

Before the pandemic, procurement teams heavily relied on in-person meetings and site visits to conduct negotiations and engage with suppliers. However, the lockdowns and travel restrictions  necessitated a swift shift towards virtual collaboration. Enterprises swiftly adopted video conferencing platforms, such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams, to maintain communication with suppliers and facilitate contract discussions.

Example: A manufacturing company that traditionally held quarterly supplier meetings at their head office moved all negotiations to virtual meetings. This resulted in significant time and cost savings, leading to the adoption of remote collaboration even after the restrictions were lifted.

Cloud-Based Procurement Solutions:

The pandemic underscored the importance of having agile and accessible procurement systems. Many enterprises relied on legacy, on-premises software, which proved challenging to manage during remote work situations. As a result, the adoption of cloud-based procurement solutions surged, offering real-time data access, streamlined workflows, and enhanced collaboration.

Example: A large retail chain transitioned from an on-premises procurement system to a cloud-based procurement platform. This empowered their workforce to work remotely, ensuring seamless procurement operations during lockdowns, and provided greater visibility into their supplier base.

AI-Driven Supplier Selection and Risk Management:

The pandemic exposed the vulnerabilities in global supply chains, prompting businesses to prioritize risk management in procurement. AI-powered tools and data analytics have become instrumental in evaluating supplier risks, diversifying supply sources, and enhancing procurement decision-making.

Example: An automotive manufacturer leveraged AI algorithms to assess suppliers' financial health, geographical locations, and dependency on single regions during the pandemic. This proactive approach enabled them to mitigate potential disruptions and secure alternative suppliers, reducing risk exposure significantly.

Blockchain for Transparent Supply Chains:

The pandemic heightened the need for transparency and traceability in supply chains. Enterprises turned to block chain technology to enhance the traceability of products, increase trust among stakeholders, and combat counterfeit goods.

Example: A luxury fashion brand implemented blockchain to track the provenance of raw materials, manufacturing processes, and transportation routes. This not only boosted consumer confidence but also facilitated compliance with ethical sourcing practices.

IoT-Enabled Smart Inventory Management:

Stockouts and inventory imbalances were common during the pandemic, prompting businesses to adopt IoT-powered sensors and data analytics for real-time inventory tracking and demand forecasting.

Example: A pharmaceutical company integrated IoT sensors in their warehouses and distribution centers to monitor temperature-sensitive products, ensuring quality control and optimizing inventory levels. This approach minimized wastage and maximized availability during a surge in demand.

Digital Supplier Onboarding and E-Procurement:

Traditional supplier onboarding processes often involved time-consuming paperwork and manual verifications. The pandemic led to the rapid adoption of digital onboarding systems, simplifying supplier evaluations and expediting the procurement cycle.

Example: An electronics manufacturer implemented a self-service portal for suppliers, streamlining the onboarding process and reducing administrative overhead. Suppliers could now submit documents, update information, and view purchase orders electronically.

Sustainable Procurement Practices:

The pandemic amplified the awareness of environmental and social responsibilities. Enterprises began incorporating sustainable procurement practices to support eco-friendly suppliers and local communities.

Example: A global food and beverage company revamped its procurement policies to prioritize suppliers with sustainable sourcing methods and eco-friendly packaging. This initiative not only reduced their environmental footprint but also enhanced their brand reputation among conscious consumers.

Conclusion:

The COVID-19 pandemic was an unprecedented event that challenged enterprises across the globe. However, it also served as a catalyst for transformation, pushing businesses to embrace digitalization in procurement. The trends discussed above reflect the pivotal changes in how enterprises engage with suppliers, manage risks, and optimize supply chains. As we move forward, the lessons learned during the pandemic will continue to shape the future of enterprise procurement, fostering resilience and adaptability in the face of uncertainty.

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Swati Gupta- Founder, Industrybuying

Swati Gupta is the Co-Founder of Industrybuying, a leading online platform that acts as a gateway for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and growing businesses to buy bulk industrial items at affordable rates. A seasoned corporate leader, Swati comes with over 12 years of experience in Management Consulting, Supply Chain Management, and Private Equity Operational Advisory.

 

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The Global Logistics Finance Market Is Booming: Here Are Some Interesting Stats & Facts
The Global Logistics Finance Market Is Booming: Here Are Some Interesting Stats & Facts
 


The global logistics market is experiencing a remarkable boom, reshaping how goods and services are transported worldwide. As economies become increasingly interconnected, the demand for efficient, streamlined logistics solutions has skyrocketed.

Logistics plays a pivotal role in the success of any business, ensuring a seamless flow of goods, optimizing supply chains, and meeting customer demand in time. With the exponential growth of e-commerce, the importance of logistics has become even more pronounced.

To uncover growth opportunities in this thriving market, businesses must stay abreast of the latest industry trends. Hence, we've cultivated a list of fascinating stats and facts that sheds light on the current state of the global logistic industry and its potential.

Global Logistics Market Outlook

  • The Global Logistics Market is projected to grow from USD 9.66 Tn in 2023 to USD 13.77 Tn by 2028, with a CAGR of 6.23%. (Research and Markets)
  • The substantial growth of the global online retail sector primarily drives the market. (Expert Market Research)
  • Asia Pacific dominates the global logistics market, benefiting from technological advancements like automated material handling equipment, GPS, and biometrics, enabling efficient operations for organizations and businesses. (Expert Market Research)

Facts on Global Logistics Market

  • The global logistics market is classified into four categories by transport: Roadways, Airways, Waterways, and Railways Oil Cooler. (Research and Markets)
  • In 2021, the roadway segment accounted for the largest logistics market share, contributing approximately 52% to the total revenue. (Market Research Future)
  • The logistics market is classified into three categories as per the logistic type: First Party, Second Party, and Third Party. (Research and Markets)
  • In 2021, the third-party logistics segment dominated the market. Third-party logistics provides outsourced services to manage multiple supply chain operations. (Market Research Future)
  • The logistics market is classified into two categories based on customer type: B2C and B2B. (Research and Markets)
  • The market is classified into various categories based on end-users: Manufacturing, Retail, Government, Banking & Financial Services, Aerospace, Healthcare, Media & Entertainment, and Trade & Transport. (Research and Markets)
  • The industrial and manufacturing sector dominated the market in 2021. The healthcare segment is anticipated to have the fastest CAGR over the next ten years. (Market Research Future)
  • The logistics market is classified into four geographical categories: Americas, Europe, Middle-East and Africa, and Asia-Pacific. (Research and Markets)
  • Asia Pacific was the largest logistic market in 2022. The region experienced substantial growth due to increased investments in infrastructural development projects, such as roads, airports, and seaports. (imarc group)

Global Logistics Market Trends

(imarc group)

  • The logistics market is driven by the escalating demand from the industrial sector, mainly due to increasing service utilization across consumer goods, retail, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, manufacturing and automotive, and information technology industries.
  • The rapid expansion of the e-commerce industry has led to a growing need for reliable logistics services, with companies relying on third-party logistics providers to manage the delivery of their products.
  • With significant growth in global trade practices, there has been a considerable rise in the demand for effective logistics services capable of handling international shipments, coordinating multi-country shipments, and managing customs clearance.
  • Numerous logistics companies offer their services as subscription-based models to reduce costs for the providers.
  • The advent of automation technologies, such as robotics and artificial intelligence, is increasing efficiency in logistics operations, improving customer service, and boosting profitability.
  • Penetration of the Internet of Things (IoT) and rapid industrialization contribute to logistics market growth.

Technology and Integrated Logistics

(Markets and Markets)

  • Approximately 60-65% of industry leaders believe that integrating AI will significantly transform the logistics, transportation, and supply chain sectors.
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) plays an active role in enhancing safety environments for drivers and optimizing vehicle maintenance and performance, contributing to the improvement of the transportation businesses and logistics industries.
  • AI-enabled supply chain management has proven to substantially reduce operational costs, with potential reductions of 15% in logistics costs, 35% in inventory levels, and 65% in service levels.
  • Around 35-40% of large, mid-sized, and smaller organizations have successfully implemented AI capabilities in their logistics operations, improving operational effectiveness and revenue growth.

Challenges of Digital Logistics

(Markets and Markets)

  • The lack of governance significantly restraints the widespread adoption of digital logistics.
  • The high levels of fragmentation within the logistics industry emphasize the need for developing a standard IoT platform.
  • The logistics industry faces significant challenges regarding varied regulatory norms and the need to maintain higher service delivery standards, which adds complexity to operations.
  • Digitalizing logistics operations require substantial capital investments, including expenses related to installing automation equipment, software, and solutions, which can be a financial burden.
  • The significant upfront investments required for newer technologies like drone delivery and establishing an integrated logistic model pose a challenge to the growth of the logistics market.

Recent Developments in the Global Logistics Industry

  • In October 2022, DHL identified 40 trends that will shape the global logistics community in the next decade, with decarbonization, robots, big data, supply chain diversification, and alternative energy solutions being the most impactful for logistics transformation. (Markets and Markets)
  • In October 2022, DHL launched the GoGreen Plus service, focusing on decarbonizing road freight by investing in low- and zero-emission technologies and fuels such as electric vehicles, biogas (Bio-LNG or Bio-CNG), or hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO), to reduce CO2 emissions from road transportation. (Markets and Markets)
  • In August 2022, FedEx Corp. partnered with Ford Pro to pilot ten Ford E-Transit vans, aiming to transition its entire pickup and delivery fleet to zero tailpipe emission vehicles by 2040. This initiative aligns with FedEx's overall fleet electrification goal. (Markets and Markets)
  • In March 2022, FedEx Express collaborated with Elroy Air to test Elroy Air's Chaparral autonomous air cargo system within the company's middle-mile logistics operations. It marked a groundbreaking agreement for autonomous VTOL aerial cargo systems in the United States. (Markets and Markets)
  • In 2021, Midair Aviation IFSC PVT LTD, a key player in the logistics industry, introduced a technologically advanced courier platform focused on densely populated areas, making it a notable accomplishment in the industry's tech-enabled air cargo field. (Market Research Future)

Parting Thoughts

The statistics above reflect the remarkable growth of the logistics industry. The surging global online retail sector and the increasing demand for efficient logistical solutions in our interconnected economies fuel this growth. In recent years, the industry is also found increasingly focused on lowering emissions and adopting more sustainable practices.

To achieve more efficient supply chains and reduce emissions, businesses can harness the power of logistics management platforms. These platforms enable a seamless flow of goods, optimize supply chains, and ensure timely delivery. These logistics operating systems provide real-time visibility, analytics, and collaboration capabilities, empowering businesses to make informed decisions and gain a competitive advantage in the dynamic global logistics market.

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Image Credit: Bosch L.OS

 

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How Social Commerce is Reshaping the E-Commerce Landscape in India
How Social Commerce is Reshaping the E-Commerce Landscape in India
 

In recent years, social commerce has emerged as a transformative force in the e-commerce landscape worldwide. With proliferation of social media platforms and change in consumer behavior due to COVID-19, the country has witnessed a significant shift towards social commerce. As a result, social commerce has emerged as a game-changing trend that combines social media and e-commerce. These platforms provide a seamless shopping experience, allowing users to discover, evaluate, and purchase products within the same interface.

Here we explore how social commerce is reshaping the e-commerce industry in India and how businesses are adapting to the new normal.

A Surge in Online Shopping

There has been a significant surge in online shopping in recent years, transforming the way people shop and revolutionizing the retail industry. This rise in online shopping can be attributed to several key factors like convenience, access to an extensive range of products, customer-friendly, secured payment options, and many more. Social media platforms have capitalized on this opportunity by introducing e-commerce features, thus transforming casual browsing into shopping experiences. As technology continues to advance and e-commerce evolves, there will only be an upward trajectory of online shopping.

Social Media as Shopping Platforms

Indians spend a significant portion of their online time on social media platforms. In recent years, social media has witnessed a significant transformation from being merely platforms for communication and networking to becoming powerful shopping destinations. Social commerce leverages this fact by offering an integrated shopping experience where users can explore products, check reviews, and make purchases without leaving their favorite social apps. It truly has revolutionized the consumers' purchasing behavior and the success of social media as shopping platforms is the ability to leverage user-generated content and influencer marketing. Furthermore, this seamless blend of shopping and social experience has made online shopping more enjoyable and convenient.

Personalization Through Data

Social commerce can offer personalized shopping experiences through advanced data analytics. Social media platforms collect vast amounts of user data that can be utilized to recommend products tailored to a user's preferences. This personalization can significantly boost sales and customer satisfaction. By analyzing user behavior, interests, and past purchases, these platforms can curate relevant product recommendations, promotions, and advertisements, enhancing the overall shopping experience. The rise of social media as a shopping platform has transformed the way consumers engage with brands and make purchase decisions.

Influence of Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing holds considerable sway in India, with influencers being viewed as trusted advisors by their followers. The alteration in consumer behavior is one of the main factors contributing to the expanding effect of influencer marketing. Consumer attention is being drawn less and less by conventional advertising techniques like print or television adverts. Social commerce has enhanced the potential of influencer marketing, enabling influencers to sell products directly through their posts and stories, thus bridging the gap between influence and purchase. For advice, ideas, and information, people are increasingly turning to social media and internet material. By continuously producing useful and accessible material, influencers have developed a devoted and active audience as well as the respect and credibility of their fans.

Live Shopping Trend

India has embraced the global trend of live shopping, with brands and influencers conducting live streams to showcase products, answer viewer queries, and drive on-the-spot purchases. This trend is changing the face of e-commerce by giving customers a distinctive and dynamic method to find, interact with, and buy things. Live shopping delivers a dynamic and interesting purchasing experience that appeals to a variety of consumers by fusing the power of video content, real-time engagement, and social impact. In the coming days, live shopping is anticipated to play a bigger and bigger role in the retail sector.

Social commerce, which combines the power of social media, technology, and community-driven shopping is altering the e-commerce and retail market in India. It had changed how people shop online by giving small companies a platform, empowering users with real user recommendations, and empowering the customers. Social commerce is anticipated to play a big role in the new normal of online buying as the trend develops and innovates thus providing Indian consumers with convenience, providing consumers with convenience, social engagement, and personalized experiences.

 

About the Author

Neha Suyal, Co-Founder and COO, Woovly

Neha Suyal Co-founder and COO, Woovly

An engineer turned entrepreneur, Neha Suyal is a name to reckon with in the business of social commerce, video commerce, and influencer-led commerce in India. With their content-driven fashion and lifestyle business, cofounders Neha and Venkat J are wooing Bharat with their venture, Woovly. Woovly is Neha’s first entrepreneurial venture. She has extensive experience in building open-source technologies and improving business operations and business metrics. She is passionate about identifying business problems and loves building solutions to solve them.

 

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‘Mass’ Consumers May Drive over $135 Bn GMV of the $300 Bn Total E-Commerce Opportunity in India by 2030
‘Mass’ Consumers May Drive over $135 Bn GMV of the $300 Bn Total E-Commerce Opportunity in India by 2030
 

The differentiated shopping habits of mass consumers, along with their increasing digital shopping penetration, make them the most attractive consumer cohort for eCommerce platforms. As of 2022, India has 65-70 million households transacting on eCommerce platforms monthly, which is projected to go up to 120-130 million by 2030, with mass consumers contributing to 80 percent of the incremental transacting households. In terms of GMV contribution as well, mass consumers are projected to drive 45 percent of the $300 billion eCommerce GMV by 2030, contributing to $135 billion in GMV.

In a detailed survey conducted across Metros, Tier I, and Tier II+ cities with the target group involving Gen-Z, millennials, and Gen-X shoppers, Redseer uncovered shopping patterns of different consumer cohorts and shed light on predominant purchase factors. As the report puts it, the ‘affluent’ consumers on the survey are a cohort with an average annual income greater than Rs 10 lakh. The ‘mass’ consumers make between Rs 2.5-10 lakh annually, while the ‘strivers’ are a third cohort who earn less than Rs 2.5 lakh a year.

Breaking down the cohort by demographics, Redseer analysts found that 75 percent of the mass consumers comprised of millennials and Gen-Z consumers. While Gen-Z, who are young and independent, show purchase preference for apparel, BPC, and electronics, the value-driven independent millennials tilted towards BPC, food & grocery, and apparel. Gen-X constituted about 13 percent and spent a higher share on food and grocery, followed by health and wellness. Although Gen-Z consumers have distinct characteristics from older generations, they are also value-conscious at the core, the report adds.

The report by the strategy consultants projected that growth in India’s retail market would play out differently across these consumer cohorts in the coming decade, with the mass consumers expected to lead spending on the Indian retail market. As of 2022, mass consumers constitute 53 percent of the Indian retail market, valued at $950 billion. According to Redseer’s projections, this share is expected to grow at a CAGR of 12 percent to touch 65 percent by 2030, making it a $1.3 trillion opportunity for brands and businesses. The remainder of the projected $2 trillion retail market value is expected to be occupied by strivers and affluent consumers, growing at a CAGR of 8 percent and 5 percent, respectively.

Examining the themes playing out across consumer cohorts, Redseer found that online wallet share expansion will be the key theme playing out amongst mass consumers led by their high-value consciousness across categories and the increasing use of the internet across their purchase decision-making journey, wherein, mass consumers are almost as online savvy as affluent consumers. These consumers are comfortable with technology, willing to try new products/brands, are increasingly shopping online across categories, can afford products available on eCommerce websites, and are adopting digital payments for smoother transactions. Redseer’s survey results suggest that 70 percent of mass consumers have increased their shopping frequency on eCommerce platforms in the last year.

A recurring theme across the survey, when it came to online shopping, was seeking value at the right price. The top three decision drivers while making purchases included prices/deals and discounts on eCommerce platforms, quality of products, and trust in the platform. Further, the survey indicated that 60 percent of mass consumers were open to purchasing unbranded products if they liked the quality, while 30 percent of mass consumers preferred unbranded over branded products.

According to the Redseer report, within the $15-20 billion mass eCommerce segment (in 2022), 60-70 percent of the sales were led by large horizontals. While the rest 30-40 percent of sales were led by players who had a specific focus on solving for and expanding the mass consumer segment – this includes platforms like Meesho (which grew by focusing on better regional and local selection and pricing) along with verticals platforms like Purplle (BPC category) and then the longer tail of smaller verticals and horizontals.

The mass consumer-driven offline retail market has also seen a few successful business models. Amongst offline retailers, there is Zudio (in fashion) which has outperformed the industry over the past 3 years, along with other players like DMart, Reliance Trends, and VMart, amongst others across the categories. In China, there is Pinduoduo, which has been growing aggressively by catering to the mass segment as well on the e-commerce side.

 

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Embracing the Digital Shield: Home Security in the Tech Age
Embracing the Digital Shield: Home Security in the Tech Age
 

Today, technology and digitization have become an integral part of our lives. Every morning, you wake up to the sound of digital alarm clocks or smartphones. Then, you book a cab to work through an app, spend your day using various innovations from simple laptops to AI-led tools like ChatGPT to complete your work, and probably use an app to order lunch before you get back home in the evening. As the day ends, digital home automation systems control lighting, temperature, and security devices, ensuring you sleep in a comfortable and secure environment.

Digitization has changed the way we communicate, learn, entertain ourselves, conduct business, and even manage our homes. The amalgamation of technology and home security has led to revolutionary advancements in protecting our homes and loved ones. This article dives into the various aspects of digitization that have been integrated into home security solutions, transforming the way of safeguarding homes and our loved ones.

Smart Home Integration is the Future

The primary aspect of digitization in home security is the integration with smart home devices. Modern home security systems can now connect and synchronize with a wide range of intelligent devices such as smart locks, cameras, sensors, and doorbells. This integration allows homeowners to control and monitor their security systems remotely through their smartphones or other smart devices. For instance, on the Yale Home app, you can receive instant alerts and video feeds when the smart security camera detects unusual movement or the doorbell rings, enabling timely response to potential threats.

Wireless Connectivity is of Utmost Importance

Gone are the days of cumbersome wiring installations. The advent of wireless connectivity in home security systems has revolutionized installation processes. Wi-Fi and cellular connections now empower security devices to communicate effectively without the need for extensive wiring. This wireless flexibility allows for easy expansion and relocation of security components, making it a convenient choice for homeowners seeking scalability and adaptability. For example; smart voice assistants like Alexa and Google Home can seamlessly integrate with Yale smart security devices, allowing you to control and monitor them  with simple voice commands. 


Remote Monitoring and Control 

Digitization has transformed the concept of home security monitoring. With the power of remote access, homeowners can monitor their properties in real-time from virtually anywhere in the world. Dedicated mobile applications like the Yale Home app and web interfaces allow users to view live video feeds, check on the status of door locks, sensors, and arm or disarm their security systems remotely. 

Unleash the Power of Artificial Intelligence and Analytics

The use of advanced technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics has elevated home security. AI-powered cameras and sensors can distinguish between routine activities and potential threats, reducing false alarms. Facial recognition technology can identify familiar faces and notify homeowners of unfamiliar individuals on the premises. Additionally, AI analytics can track patterns and behaviors, helping individuals take informed security decisions based on data-driven insights.

Cloud Storage and Backup 

The integration of cloud technology in home security solutions has resolved the challenges of local data storage. Cloud storage ensures that valuable security footage and data are securely stored offsite, minimizing the risk of data loss or tampering due to device malfunctions or intrusions. This also enables easy access to historical records and seamless sharing of evidence with authorities, if necessary.

Bottom line

Digitization has revolutionized home security solutions, introducing unprecedented levels of convenience and connectivity. As technology continues to advance, we can expect even more innovations in home security. Going forward, embracing these digital advancements in home security will not just be a smart choice; it will be a fundamental step towards ensuring peace of mind and safeguarding what matters most.
  

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Sharad Kapoor, Director & Head of Smart Residential, MEIIA at ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions

Sharad Kapoor is the Director & Head of Smart Residential, MEIIA at ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions. With previous roles at Bharti Airtel and Tata Teleservices Ltd, Sharad possesses extensive experience in managing accounts and expanding business networks.

 

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Aligning Digital Ads with Brick and Mortar: Amplifying In-Store Success
Aligning Digital Ads with Brick and Mortar: Amplifying In-Store Success
 

In the world of retail, a successful digital campaign extends far beyond mere online conversions. It hinges on the ability to effectively engage the target audience, drive in-store traffic, and ultimately boost conversions within physical stores. To achieve these goals, advertisers must recognize the power of in-store shopping and employ strategic planning, creative content, and targeted digital marketing tactics. By harnessing technology and tapping into the potential of digital ads, brands can navigate the hybrid environment and outperform their competitors. This article explores the importance of in-store shopping and highlights how aligning digital ads with brick-and-mortar can lead to amplified success.

Why Does In-Store Shopping Matter?

  • Sensory Experience: In-store shopping provides a multisensory experience that engages customers on a deeper level. Shoppers can touch, see, smell, and try out products, allowing them to make informed decisions based on their sensory perceptions.
  • Instant Gratification: Physical stores offer immediate gratification, allowing customers to take their purchases home right away. This is particularly appealing for those who prefer not to wait for shipping or want to enjoy their purchases immediately.
  • Social Interaction: In-store shopping provides an opportunity for social interaction. Customers can engage with other shoppers, seek recommendations, and share their experiences, creating a sense of community and fostering connections.
  • Exploration and Discovery: Physical stores allow customers to explore and discover new products or brands. They can stumble upon unexpected items, discover unique features and experience serendipitous finds that online browsing may not offer.
  • Personalized Assistance: In-store shopping offers personalized assistance from knowledgeable staff. Customers can receive expert advice, recommendations, and guidance tailored to their specific needs, enhancing their shopping experience and increasing trust in the brand.
  • Returns and Exchanges: Physical stores facilitate easy returns and exchanges. Customers can conveniently bring back items, seek assistance from staff, and have immediate resolutions, providing a seamless and hassle-free experience.
  • Trust and Security: In-store shopping offers a sense of trust and security. Customers can physically examine products, verify their quality, and ensure that they meet their expectations before making a purchase, reducing uncertainties associated with online shopping.

Aligning Digital Ads with Brick and Mortar

  • Localized Targeting: Digital ads can be strategically targeted to specific geographical areas to reach potential customers near physical store locations. Leveraging location-based advertising and geo-targeting techniques, brands can deliver personalized messages to individuals who are more likely to visit their stores.
  • Omnichannel Integration: Creating a seamless omnichannel experience is crucial for aligning digital ads with brick-and-mortar. By integrating online and offline touchpoints, brands can drive customers from digital channels to physical stores. This can be achieved through consistent branding, cohesive messaging, and incentives that encourage in-store visits.
  • Incentives and Exclusive Offers: Digital ads can promote in-store incentives and exclusive offers that entice customers to visit physical stores. By highlighting limited-time promotions, discounts, or special events, brands can create a sense of urgency and exclusivity, driving foot traffic to their brick-and-mortar locations.
  • Social Proof and User-Generated Content: Incorporating social proof and user-generated content in digital ads can build trust and credibility. Sharing customer testimonials, reviews, or user-generated photos from in-store experiences can inspire potential customers to visit physical stores and have similar positive experiences.

Conclusion

In today's retail landscape, aligning digital ads with brick-and-mortar is essential for maximizing success. By recognizing the value of in-store shopping, brands can leverage the power of technology and digital advertising to drive foot traffic, enhance customer experiences, and boost conversions within physical stores. By strategically targeting local audiences, integrating omnichannel experiences, offering incentives, and leveraging social proof, brands can create a seamless connection between their digital campaigns and in-store visits. The synergy between digital ads and brick-and-mortar not only drives immediate sales but also fosters long-term customer loyalty and brand engagement. Embracing this alignment is key to unlocking the full potential of both online and offline channels and staying ahead in the competitive retail landscape.

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Amitt Sharma, CEO, VDO.AI


Amitt Sharma, CEO, VDO.AI, embarked on a groundbreaking journey at the young age of 15, establishing his first company and igniting his innovative spirit. In 2018, he founded VDO.AI, a game-changer in the advertising landscape.

 

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How Shipway is Revolutionizing Logistics in Tier II & III Cities
How Shipway is Revolutionizing Logistics in Tier II & III Cities
 

Venturing beyond the bustling metropolitan cities, Tier II and III regions have emerged as promising grounds for ambitious D2C brands to tap into new possibilities. With fierce competition and a tech-savvy clientele, these young D2C brands are arming themselves with cutting-edge technologies and unique offerings. However, navigating the festive season amidst the dynamic landscape of Tier II and III markets poses challenges that demand prompt and efficient logistics services. To conquer this difficult terrain and achieve unparalleled success, D2C brands need the comprehensive support of an all-inclusive e-commerce automation platform like Shipway.


Gauging Prospects in Tier II & III Markets

Tier II and III markets are witnessing a remarkable surge in e-commerce activities, primarily driven by the increasing internet penetration and widespread adoption of smartphones. This burgeoning trend has opened up a golden opportunity for D2C brands to expand their business and for logistics providers to offer efficient order fulfillment services to online retailers in these markets. 

As the demand for outsourced logistics services continues to soar, the need for streamlined and cost-effective distribution networks in these remote areas becomes ever more crucial. D2C brands can leverage this favorable landscape, utilizing advanced automation tools, data analytics, and other innovative solutions offered by logistics providers like Shipway to expand their market reach and thrive in these promising territories.

Shipway's Solution to D2C Brands' Pain Points

During the festive season, D2C brands face challenges in selecting appropriate courier shipping partners due to increased order volumes and delivery delays. Balancing shipping costs with service quality, ensuring reliable reverse logistics for returns and exchanges and a lack of customer support can also be daunting. 


Shipway has already made a significant impact in easing these pain points by providing revolutionary logistics solutions. With a presence across 29K+ pin codes, Shipway has helped D2C brands extend their reach to a broader customer base. Merchants can choose from 20+ pre-integrated carrier partners or bring in their own and streamline their order fulfillment process. Moreover, Shipway Autopilot allows businesses to allocate couriers based on various factors. This reduces logistics costs and makes the order fulfillment process effortless and increases the delivery speed which leads to lower RTOs and better customer experience. Additionally, Shipway’s Fraud prevention tool can reduce RTO rates by up to 20 percent as it segments orders into high-risk, medium risk and low-risk. As the RTO rates are extremely higher in Tier II and Tier III markets, this tool is a life savior for eCommerce brands.

To improve the overall post-purchase customer experience, Shipway has a tracking & notification solution with which merchants can keep customers updated at every milestone. Furthermore, Shipway also offers a branded returns panel where eCommerce brands can accept or reject returns/exchanges. In short, Shipway is an all-in-one logistics platform.

"As we set our sights on the untapped potential of tier 2 and 3 markets, we recognize the opportunities for D2C brands. These emerging markets often lack robust systems for order fulfillment & tracking and notifications that play a great role in post-purchase customer experience, Shipway is eager to fill these voids. With Shipway, brands can bid adieu to the common challenges they used to face with carrier aggregators like weight discrepancies, late deliveries, delayed customer support, overpriced services, and more. We are a pro at taking care of our customers & our mission is to empower D2C brands to establish themselves and flourish in the promising territories of Tier II & Tier III markets. 

With our technology-driven solutions, including order fulfillment, tracking and notifications, returns automation, and data analytics tools, Shipway aims to optimize operations for businesses, enabling them to overcome logistical challenges and drive efficiency in Tier II and III markets. Embracing these challenges head-on, we are determined to revolutionize the logistics landscape and be the driving force behind D2C brands' success in these dynamic and growing regions." said  Gaurav Gupta, Co-founder, Shipway.
 


Milestones and Growth Plans

Since its establishment in 2015, Shipway has revolutionized eCommerce operations for over 15,000+ online sellers, including renowned D2C brands such as Libas and Lenskart. With a growing user base of over 6,000 monthly active users, Shipway continues to deliver reliable and efficient logistics solutions. The company experienced a remarkable 5X revenue growth within the past 12 months, showcasing its commitment to excellence.

Looking ahead, Shipway has ambitious growth plans for the upcoming fiscal year. The company aims to make eCommerce more accessible and user-friendly, empower D2C brands with cutting-edge technology, and achieve 10x growth through expanded customer reach and increased revenue.

 

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Feasting on Secrets: Unearthing the Truth Behind the Food We Consume!
Feasting on Secrets: Unearthing the Truth Behind the Food We Consume!
 

 In an era of increasing consumer awareness and demand for sustainable and ethical food practices, traceability plays a crucial role in establishing trust and transparency throughout the food supply chain. Traditionally, traceability focused on ensuring ingredient quality, but with the rising concern for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and environmental impact, traceability now extends to tracking the carbon footprint associated with food products. 

Deforestation by Chocolate
Take, for example, the tale of a humble bar of chocolate, which commences its journey in the sun-kissed cocoa plantations of West Africa. A case study conducted by Touton Group revealed that producing one ton of cocoa contributes approximately 2.8-19.5 tons of carbon dioxide to our atmosphere. According to a recent article in The Economist, nearly 20% of the world's chocolate products may contribute to deforestation in Africa, unbeknownst to consumers. This alarming statistic raises the question of how consumers would respond if they had access to information about the origins of their chocolate, differentiating between products sourced from sustainable farms versus those associated with deforestation.

The Whole Truth
Reliable traceability, from farm to fork, offers numerous benefits for making claims about ingredient source and production practices. These claims can be categorized into two broad categories: healthier growing practices, such as organic farming, and ethical sourcing, including fair trade and eliminating child labor. Additionally, the need to monitor the carbon footprint of our food choices has become increasingly significant. A report from Poore & Nemecek (2018) indicated that food production accounts for between 21 to 37 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, highlighting the extensive carbon impact of our food systems.

Savvier Consumers, Conscientious Brands
Consumers are increasingly concerned about the environmental impact of their food choices and the quality of ingredients. Consequently, food brands are recognizing the challenges and opportunities inherent in this trend. Brands must now take greater responsibility for their manufacturing and sourcing practices, engaging with the finer points of their supply chains. By embracing transparency and traceability, these brands can differentiate themselves from competitors, capture higher market share, and potentially command a premium price.

A survey conducted by NielsonIQ indicates that approximately 50% of consumers are willing to pay a premium of 2% or more for more sustainable products, while 66% express a clear preference for sustainably sourced products. Brands that view traceability as a mere cost source risk being left behind in a market increasingly driven by conscientious consumers.

A shining instance of this is in the vineyards of Torres Winery, Spain, where each bottle of wine comes with a measurable carbon footprint. By investing in carbon credits, this winery offsets its emissions, creating a balance between indulgence and environmental responsibility.

Intrinsic Constraints of Web2 Solutions
Existing traceability solutions often face challenges and friction due to the involvement of multiple stakeholders, including farmers. These solutions may lack adequate auditability, leaving room for manipulation by vested interests. Additionally, conventional "Web2" solutions suffer from closed architectures, requiring participants in the value chain to submit data and proofs exclusively through proprietary platforms. This often leads to resistance and non-participation from value chain actors. As a result, Web 2 solutions grapple with escalating hurdles related to complexity, scalability, data redundancy, and burgeoning costs, making them untenable for deployment across extended and intricate value chains.

Web3 for Traceability: An idea whose time has come
Traceability solutions built on decentralized ledgers, such as public blockchains, can overcome the limitations of conventional technology. Web3 solutions offer superior features compared to Web2 solutions in terms of trust, openness, and authenticity.

Brand Image vs. Digital Certainty: The New Trust Paradigm
DLT-based traceability solutions eliminate the need for users, including consumers and food brands, to rely solely on the word of the solution provider. The decentralized nature of blockchain technology ensures tamper-proof data integrity, as blockchain-based ledgers are "append-only." Such security and transparency are not possible in traditional Web2 solutions.

Take the case of Bumble Bee Foods, a seafood company that implemented blockchain technology to bring unprecedented transparency to its supply chain. As a result, consumers can trace the journey of their yellowfin tuna from "bait to plate," gaining insight into the product’s origin, freshness, safety, and environmental impact. Moreover, it enabled the company to tangibly demonstrate its commitment to sustainable fishing practices, underscoring the multifaceted benefits of food traceability.

A Quantum Leap: Web3’s Open Architecture Triumph over Web2 Silos
Web3 solutions also offer the advantage of an open architecture. The authentication of data submitters relies on their public key, reducing the need for specialized middleware to transfer data between systems. In contrast, Web2 solutions require access control, rights management, and credential verification at each step, leading to increased complexity.

The Giants are Embracing Web3 
Walmart, a notable example of early adopters, implemented traceability solutions in its marine products division in 2021. This initiative aimed to improve safety and convey product quality to consumers. Traceability is becoming increasingly important throughout the food value chain. However, conventional technologies face limitations in ensuring effective traceability, particularly regarding auditability and closed architectures. Decentralized ledger-based approaches, such as web3, offer significant advantages in these areas, alongside numerous other benefits.

Then, we have the audacious experiment by Microsoft and Starbucks. By harnessing the potential of blockchain technology, they have embarked on a journey to enhance the transparency of their coffee supply chain. Their initiative promises to bring to light the carbon emissions associated with every cup of coffee savored by consumers, thus creating an unprecedented level of awareness and accountability.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization states that if about a third of the food that gets lost or wasted were saved, it could feed more than 870 million people. Technology like IBM's Food Trust, which uses blockchain to reduce waste in the supply chain, can play a pivotal role in addressing this issue while curbing carbon emissions.

Who Foots the Bill for Transparency
Web 3 solutions for traceability and carbon credits hold tremendous potential to revolutionize the food value chain. They promise to enhance productivity by enabling real-time, unbroken tracking; bring about economic benefits by reducing food wastage and meeting consumer demand for transparency; and accrue financial benefits to brands by offering sustainable food products at a premium price. As our food systems continue to evolve, blockchain may well be the key ingredient in cooking up a more sustainable, efficient, and equitable future.

Nurturing the Roots of a Greener, More Sustainable Food Chain
Traceability in the food value chain is catalyzing significant socio-environmental impact. As a powerful instrument to build trust and transparency, traceability propels sustainable agriculture, mitigates food spoilage and waste, curtails emissions, amplifies the assurance of quality and safety throughout the food supply chain, boosts farmers' earnings, and cultivates more equitable trade practices.

Authors:


Swapnil Pawar, Founder & CEO, ASQI 
Bikram Mahajan, Partner, Intellecap
 

 

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Balancing Efficiency & Customer Satisfaction in E-commerce Reverse Logistics
Balancing Efficiency & Customer Satisfaction in E-commerce Reverse Logistics
 

In the world of online shopping, reverse logistics is extremely important because it helps businesses handle the process of customers returning or exchanging products. As the popularity of online shopping continues to increase, it becomes more and more crucial to focus on making the process of returning products efficient and satisfying for customers. Let’s delve into the multifaceted landscape of e-commerce reverse logistics, highlighting its critical role and exploring the intricate interplay between efficiency and customer satisfaction.

Reverse logistics and its efficiency

Reverse logistics is the term used to describe the various activities and procedures that are carried out in the e-commerce industry when dealing with product returns, repairs, exchanges, and disposal. Reverse logistics includes a variety of activities that are involved in the process of handling returned products. These activities can range from obtaining return authorization, inspecting the products, restocking them, refurbishing them, and performing other necessary tasks. The process of reverse logistics has a direct impact on the satisfaction of customers, the costs of operations, and the efforts made towards sustainability by e-commerce businesses. Another aspect of reverse logistics is how seamlessly efficient it can be in operation. 

Efficiency is crucial in reverse logistics as it directly affects cost-effectiveness and operational performance. Optimizing efficiency in the reverse logistics process involves streamlining procedures, reducing cycle times, and minimizing costs associated with product returns. By efficiently handling returns, e-commerce businesses can save time, resources, and improve overall profitability.

Reverse Logistics: The string on which customer satisfaction hangs

Customer satisfaction is a key driver of success in e-commerce. When it comes to reverse logistics, meeting customer expectations plays a significant role in retaining customers and fostering brand loyalty. To ensure customer satisfaction, e-commerce businesses should focus on clear return policies, hassle-free return processes, timely communication, and providing options for refunds or exchanges. Prompt resolution of customer issues and effective communication are vital to maintaining a positive customer experience.

In e-commerce reverse logistics, achieving an equilibrium between efficiency and consumer satisfaction is a delicate commitment. Here are some strategies for striking the proper balance:

  • Streamlined Processes: Efficient and standardised processes for returns, inspections, and restocking are important for improving operations and helping customers with e-commerce returns. India has challenges with its reverse pickup framework, which can cause delays and inconvenience. To overcome this challenge, e-commerce businesses can work with experts in reverse logistics. These partners have networks and resources for efficient reverse pickup and transportation. Businesses can speed up product pickups and returns, which makes customers happier. Partnering with specialists is crucial for navigating India's reverse pickup system, improving e-commerce reverse logistics, and enhancing customer experiences.
  • Automation and Technology: Leveraging automation and technology solutions such as barcode scanning, tracking systems, and automated returns processing can expedite the reverse logistics process and reduce errors, improving both efficiency and customer satisfaction.
  • Transparency and Communication: Keeping customers informed at each step of the return process builds trust and confidence. Providing real-time updates on return status, refund processing, and exchange options can significantly enhance customer satisfaction.
  • Data Analytics: Utilizing data analytics can help identify patterns and reasons for returns, enabling e-commerce businesses to take proactive measures to reduce return rates, improve product quality, and enhance customer satisfaction.

Continuous Improvement: Regularly evaluating reverse logistics processes, collecting feedback from customers, and analyzing performance metrics can help identify areas for improvement. Continuous improvement efforts demonstrate a commitment to enhancing both efficiency and customer satisfaction.

Interdependencies between customer satisfaction and reverse logistics 

The continuous growth of online shopping has magnified the importance of reverse logistics in the e-commerce industry. In this dynamic landscape, it is imperative for businesses to refine their reverse logistics processes to not only streamline operations but also ensure customer satisfaction at every touchpoint. This delicate balance requires a comprehensive understanding of the factors influencing both efficiency and customer satisfaction, as well as the interdependencies between the two.

By implementing streamlined processes, leveraging technology, prioritizing transparency and communication, utilizing data analytics, and focusing on continuous improvement, e-commerce businesses can optimize reverse logistics operations and ensure a positive customer experience. Finding the right equilibrium between efficiency and customer satisfaction will not only drive customer loyalty but also contribute to the overall success and growth of e-commerce enterprises.

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Zaiba Sarang, Co-founder, iThink Logisitics

Zaiba Sarang is the Co-Founder of iThink Logistics, a tech-enabled end-to-end courier aggregation service that lets clients ship and track with ease by choosing multiple courier partners on one platform. Her responsibilities include managing the entire sales wing. Representing the iThink team, Zaiba is the face of the brand. 
 

 

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Elevating Your Living Experience: How To Choose And Optimize Smart Home Technologies
Elevating Your Living Experience: How To Choose And Optimize Smart Home Technologies
 

In the world of elevated living, smart home technologies offer boundless possibilities to transform your living experience into something truly extraordinary. From controlling your home with a simple voice command to optimizing energy efficiency, these technologies have the power to enhance every aspect of your daily life. Choosing and optimizing the right smart home devices can seamlessly integrate into your lifestyle, granting you the ultimate convenience, comfort, and security. In this article, we explore the art of selecting and harnessing smart home technologies, paving the way for a seamless and enriching lifestyle.
 
Choosing Smart Home Technologies
Before you start investing in smart home technologies, it is important to consider your needs and budget. Here are some factors to consider when choosing smart home technologies:
-Compatibility: Ensure that the devices you select are compatible with each other and with your existing devices. Seek out devices that support common communication standards like Wi-Fi
-Select a Master platform: Decide on a primary smart home platform that suits your needs. Nowadays, there are several prominent smart home platforms available, such as Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and Apple Home Kit. While you may have a personal preference for one platform, it might be more convenient for you to stick with a single platform whenever possible, especially if you are not very familiar with smart technology and want to avoid complications
-Network: A solid home networking setup and a strong and reliable network are critical to a smooth-operating smart home. Ensure that you have the proper coverage and equipment to keep you seamlessly connected to your smart home
-Budget: Smart home technologies can be expensive, so it is important to set a budget and prioritise your needs.
 
Optimising Smart Home Technologies
Once you have chosen your smart home technologies, it is important to optimize them for a seamless and enriching lifestyle. Here are some ways:
-Use a smart home hub: A smart home hub can help you control all your smart devices from one central location
-Keep your devices in range: Ensure that your devices are within range of your network to avoid connectivity issues
-Use geofencing: Geofencing allows you to set up triggers based on your location. For example, you can set up your smart thermostat to turn on when you are on your way home
-Use AI voice control & assistant: Voice control can make it easier to control your smart devices, especially if you have your hands full
-Schedule smart lighting: Smart lighting can help you save energy and create a comfortable ambience. Schedule your smart lights to turn on and off at specific times
-Maintain a strong Wi-Fi connection: A stable and reliable home network is the backbone of any smart home integration. Ensure that you have the proper coverage and equipment to keep you seamlessly connected to your smart home
-Use an all-in-one remote: An all-in-one remote can help you control all your smart devices from one central location
-Buy a Smart TV: A smart TV comes equipped with built-in internet connectivity, providing users with a wide range of exciting online features accessible with a simple touch of a button. These features include media streaming, apps, games, web browsing, and more. Additionally, smart TVs offer remarkable boom sound technology for an immersive audio experience

OKIE is one of India’s leading home entertainment brands that has been making an impact with its products and services. The company is headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra, and was established in 2011 by Jitin Masand who has consistently set the benchmark for delivering innovation and excellence in the realm of entertainment technology. OKIE has meticulously cultivated a vast network of over 7500 retailers and 100+ distributors with an unwavering focus on tier 2 and 3 markets. Its influence spans the western and southern regions of India, encompassing eight states of unparalleled significance, including Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Kerala. With a projected target of over 100,000 LED TV units to be sold, the brand aims to solidify its position as a formidable force in the market.

With a firm commitment to enhancing the customer buying experience, OKIE is set to unveil its highly anticipated OKIE Experience Zone. This dedicated space will serve as a captivating showcase, inviting customers to immerse themselves in the world of OKIE and explore its expansive range of cutting-edge products and services. Through this initiative, OKIE aspires to become the preferred destination for discerning individuals seeking the latest advancements in entertainment technology.

In conclusion, smart home technologies offer an incredible opportunity to elevate your living experience. By identifying your needs, researching available technologies, and optimizing their usage, you can create a seamless and enriching lifestyle. Embrace the convenience, comfort, and control that smart home technologies provide, and transform your home into a hub of innovation and well-being.

 

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Jitin Masand, Founder and MD, OKIE


Jitin Masand is the Founder and Managing Director of OKIE, one of India's leading home entertainment brands. With an illustrious career spanning over 18 years, his talent and dedication have contributed to the growth and success of the brand.

 

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How Titan’s Jewelry Biz Keeps Growing with Oracle’s In-store E-commerce Tech
 How Titan’s Jewelry Biz Keeps Growing with Oracle’s In-store E-commerce Tech
 

Titan has always been a step ahead when it comes to understanding the pulse of its audience. Before artificial intelligence and machine learning mnemonics gathered steam in India, Titan’s jewelry division has been using it to track and gauge consumer touch points across its businesses. 

Oracle has been backing the behemoth up with state-of-the-art technology to stratify business according to latest trends all the way from product discovery to last-mile delivery. Krishnan Venkateswaran, Chief Digital Officer, Titan, and Kapil Makhija, Vice President and Head Technology Cloud at Oracle elaborate further. 
  
With technology evenly distributing web traffic across Tanishq’s 500 stores, it’s not just jewelry but also the other businesses that have been benefited by Oracle’s motley offerings. The Oracle Web Application Firewall protects Tanishq against unwanted internet traffic, while Oracle Support Rewards helps the brand estimate CAPEX and save cost of up to 30 percent. The most prominent innovation for Tanishq has been the endless aisle facility which is supported by Oracle APEX and their database to expand and moderate storage as per demand.

Matching demand with inventory instantly 

“Prior to Oracle’s support, customers used to walk in to buy a particular product, exhaust the patience of the staff by surfing precisely the entire inventory of the store and leave. They used to buy from somewhere else. But the endless aisle allows every store to showcase the national inventory of a vertical altogether,” says Venkateswaran. 

Filtered results and specifications on price point, composition, and product shape allow any prospective buyer to go through thousands of products per SKU. Once a particular product is liked, the system shows if it is available at that store or elsewhere. If the other store is in the same city, the product is delivered to the customer’s doorstep on the same day. Some deliveries happen as fast as within an hour. 

The sales criteria has to be query originating from store A, product delivery from store B to A, and purchase at store A. We’ve also used Apex for our point of sales system in overseas geographies such as the US and Gulf nations. This is how the endless aisle increased engagement and conversion for Titan, leading to sales crossing Rs 1000 crores in last financial year via assisted in-store e-commerce. 

This apart, there are also means to showcase the product exactly like the linguistic diversities and sensibilities of markets across India. Tanishq connects the customer with the right sales staff who speaks the language of the buyer and hence, bonds stronger and faster over video calls.

First, the brand limits the search to stores in the city. If the first search is within a 20 km radius of the store, then location is easily obtained through GPS. Suppose the first search is based on a radius of 20 kilometres from the store. The buyers are told that the item will arrive in an hour. 

“Transporting jewelry is a risky affair, so we bank a lot on the sales staff’s ability to gauge the buying intent of consumers. If the intent is strong, then we take a chance of bringing the piece to the store for a touch-and-feel experience. Online, it’s just a matter of keying in information such as the contact details of the customer, after which the dashboard gives a glimpse of the recent purchase with Titan. Accordingly, the staff can continue the conversation with the customer by building trust and making every visit to a Tanishq store special.  

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From left: Kapil Makhija, VP-Head Technology Cloud, Oracle & Krishnan Venkateswaran, Chief Digital Officer, Titan

Benefits of Oracle’s support

Although endless aisle started in 2020-21, existing technology from Apex helped Tanishq reduce the time to market and develop the application 20x faster,” says Kapil. By virtue of  41 data centers across 5 continents, Mr Krishnan’s team has designed the endless aisle in a way that the production center becomes Hyderabad with a disaster recovery module in Mumbai. Similarly the point of sale (P.O.S) operation started in North America and The UAE with two data centers for each country.

As of now, the endless aisle is linked to AI-ML with data giving the brands insight about consumer needs. The recommendation engine will also be integrated to it. While demand for NFTs witness a slump this quarter, Krishnan is positive about an experience with Tanishq on Metaverse, wherein families can create their own experience in the virtual world and not necessarily focus on buying jewelry only.

Innovations prompted by Gen Z

Keeping up with the tech needs of the Gen Z audience, Oracle’s strong application portfolio around customer experience has been used by major Fortune 500 companies, who are also part of Oracle’s advisory committee and play a significant role in predicting the next set of innovations. 

Such best practices have led to the launch of Oracle’s Generation 2 cloud data centers, now leveraged by thousands of customers. “The dual data center model helps customers get a seamless experience even in case of a disaster at one center. Through Oracle’s cloud services, customers can do performance analysis and application architecture on the one hand, while brands get their entire upgrades, patching and retrievals done automatically,” concludes Kapil.    

 

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FROM BYTES TO BITES: How AI is Transforming Food and Agriculture
FROM BYTES TO BITES: How AI is Transforming Food and Agriculture
 

The world's population is experiencing a rapid surge, and it is foreseen to approach a staggering 9.7 billion individuals by the year 2050. Consequently, this escalating growth has engendered a mounting apprehension regarding the ability to satisfy the escalating demand for sustenance, all while ensuring the vital aspects of food security and sustainability remain intact.

In light of these concerns, the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) applications in the agri-food sector holds extraordinary potential to revolutionize the industry, heralding a new era of heightened sustainability. 

Artificial intelligence (AI) embodies the capacity of machines or computer programs to undertake endeavours typically reliant on human intellect, encompassing domains such as learning, reasoning, problem-solving, and decision-making. The realm of AI encompasses diverse subfields, each contributing unique capabilities to this expansive discipline. 

These subfields encompass machine learning (ML), deep learning, natural language processing, computer vision, robotics, and cognitive computing. Within AI technology, a plethora of algorithms emerges, including reinforcement learning, swarm intelligence, cognitive science, expert systems, fuzzy logic (FL), Artificial Neural Networks (ANN), and Logic Programming, offering a rich tapestry of tools to leverage in pursuit of intelligent automation.

Innovative Applications of AI in Food and Agriculture

GRAIN QUALITY

Manual grain inspection is a time-consuming process and is prone to human error, which can result in the selection of lower-quality grains. Therefore, the use of computer vision systems in grain inspection is becoming increasingly popular. These systems use advanced imaging techniques and ML algorithms to analyse images of grains and identify defects or impurities, such as broken kernels, foreign materials etc. 

Back propagation neural network (BPNN) has been effectively used to classify rice grain varieties with great accuracy (96%), even with poor image quality. 

PEST DETECTION AND WEED MANAGEMENT

Accurate identification of insect species, size variation, and stage of development is crucial for effective pest management in agriculture. By identifying the type and number of insects present in a crop field, farmers can take appropriate measures to control the pest population and prevent damage to their crops. Several AI and ML technologies are being developed and tested for insect detection and counting. 

Some of these technologies use computer vision algorithms, while others rely on ML algorithms to identify and classify different insect species. 

Similarly, herbicides have been widely used by farmers for many years to control weeds and improve crop yields. However, the overuse or improper application of herbicides can have negative impacts on both human health and the environment. To minimize the negative impacts of herbicides, there is a growing need for more precise and accurate application methods.

Robotic weed control is also an emerging technology that shows great promise for the future of agriculture. Robotic weed control systems typically use computer vision and ML algorithms to detect and identify weeds in crop fields, then use robotic arms or other mechanical tools to remove or destroy the weeds. 

Although intelligent mechanical weed control would be more felicitous than weeding devices with cutting action, contrary to time-based weed removal, it is possible to remotely regulate the tendency of tines of spring-tine harrow prototype systems based on the conditions of soil, the density of weed, and crop production. 

CROP SELECTION AND YIELD IMPROVEMENT

Robots, such as the Berry 5 Robot from Harvest Croo Robotics (Tampa, FL, USA), are designed to automate the harvesting of strawberries, which is a labour-intensive and time-consuming process.

The robot uses computer vision and ML algorithms to identify and pick ripe strawberries at a faster rate than humans can. This can help farmers to reduce labour costs and improve their yields by ensuring that more strawberries are harvested at the optimal time. 

FOOD SAFETY COMPLIANCE

AI enabled cameras are used to ensure safety compliance amongst food workers in food facility. This employs facial-recognition and object-recognition software to determine whether workers are complying with good personal hygiene as required by food safety law. If violation is found, it extracts the screen images for review which can be rectified in the real time. The accuracy of this technology is more than 96%. 

PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT

AI technology uses machine learning and predictive algorithms to model consumer flavour preferences and predict how well they will respond to new tastes. The data can be segmented into demographic groups to help companies develop new products that match the preferences of their target audience. With these, manufacturers could know what products will thrive before the hit the shelves. 

Companies like SPOONSHOT are using AI techniques like NLP (natural language processing) and computer vision to build organised information from unstructured data. They leverage food science domain knowledge to process data relating to physical and chemical properties of ingredients to understand how ingredient interactions impact a final recipe.

SPOONSHOT can scout 3B social conversations, 5M research papers, 84M articles, 4M products, 84M blogs etc to provide actionable insights around product concepts, product and menu innovations, consumer market insights, competitor analysis etc. 

MARKET RESEARCH AND SALES ENABLEMENT

AI offers tremendous potential to assist in market research within the food industry, providing valuable insights and facilitating better decision-making. AI algorithms can analyse vast amounts of data, including consumer preferences, purchasing behaviour, and social media interactions related to food. 

By recognizing patterns and correlations, AI can identify emerging trends, understand consumer preferences, and predict future demands accurately. This information can help food businesses tailor their products, marketing strategies, and overall consumer experience to meet evolving customer needs.

Social listening tools like CRIMSON HEXAGON and SYNTHESIO helps generate valuable insights around audience analysis, brand intelligence, campaign analysis, customer sentiment, market research, trend analysis, competitor analysis etc, helping make smarter, data-driven decisions. (11)

In the current attention-driven economy, where capturing and retaining attention is challenging due to the overwhelming choices and distractions faced by consumers, traditional market research methods have their limitations. However, AI-powered research offers a promising solution by providing rapid, reliable, and actionable insights.

Companies like THE LIGHTBULB.AI leverage AI-enabled technology to offer a range of research services. These include qualitative and quantitative research, ad testing, as well as UI/UX testing. Their advanced capabilities encompass facial coding, eye tracking, speech transcription, text sentiment analysis, and audio tonality analysis. These modules enable comprehensive analysis and understanding of user experiences and preferences. 

By harnessing AI in research, businesses can overcome the shortcomings of traditional methods and gain a deeper understanding of consumer behaviour. AI-based research offers the advantage of speed, accuracy, and scalability, allowing companies to adapt swiftly to evolving market dynamics and make informed decisions based on robust data-driven insights.

AI can significantly contribute to sales enablement by providing valuable insights, automating tasks, and enhancing overall sales efficiency. 

INFILECT, a leading provider of advanced retail visual intelligence, offers cutting-edge solutions that can greatly boost sales for organizations. With their advanced image recognition technology and retail data analytics capabilities, Infilect empowers businesses to improve shelf visibility and enhance store execution performance. By analysing visual data, such as product placement, stock availability, and planogram compliance, Infilect provides valuable insights to optimize sales strategies and improve overall retail performance. 

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, the transformational power of AI in the food and agriculture industry is undeniable. From bytes of data to the very bites we consume, AI has become a driving force behind enhanced productivity, sustainability, and innovation.

Through advanced algorithms and data-driven insights, AI is optimizing crop management, improving yield predictions, and revolutionizing farming practices. It is enabling precise monitoring of soil conditions, crop health, and irrigation needs, leading to resource-efficient and environmentally conscious agricultural operations.

Furthermore, AI is enhancing food safety by rapidly detecting and mitigating risks associated with contaminants, pests, and diseases. It is facilitating traceability and supply chain transparency, ensuring that consumers have access to safe and high-quality food.

Beyond the farm, AI is revolutionizing food production, from automated processing and packaging to personalized nutrition recommendations. It is driving the development of novel ingredients and flavors, expanding the boundaries of culinary creativity.

However, it is essential to recognize that the adoption of AI in the food and agriculture sector is an ongoing journey. 

Challenges such as data privacy, infrastructure limitations, and ethical considerations must be addressed to fully harness the potential of AI while ensuring equitable access and sustainable practices.

In this age of bytes and bites, AI holds the promise of a transformative future for food and agriculture, ushering in a new era of abundance, efficiency, and global nourishment. Let us seize the opportunities that lie ahead and embrace AI as a powerful ally in creating a more sustainable, resilient, and inclusive food system for generations to come.

 

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Bharat Sawnani is the founder of Elevantus with 14 years' experience across innovation, technology, quality, and 6 years in clinical pharmacokinetics.  

 

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Metaverse Marketing: How Brands Can Build Stronger Connections in Virtual Worlds
Metaverse Marketing: How Brands Can Build Stronger Connections in Virtual Worlds
 

Is the Metaverse here to stay or is it just a fancy fad? If you are a marketer or a brand custodian, you have probably thought about it. The answer that makes sense is that the Metaverse, while still taking shape, is here to stay. It is evolving and has its ups and downs, just like the Internet in its infancy. But things are changing fast. Investments into the Metaverse crossed $120 million in 2022 and it is expected to generate $5 trillion by 2030 for both consumer and industrial enterprises, according to McKinsey. That is serious business and one that companies are betting big on.

But the true test lies in the adoption by the end-users. Reports suggest that consumers have given the Metaverse a thumbs-up. Even if this popularity is credited to initial euphoria for new technology, consumers are already looking for non-entertainment uses. Over the next two to five years, 70 percent of consumers intend to use the Metaverse in non-gaming contexts. What this hints at is mass adoption in the near future. 

For marketers and brands, the potential of the Metaverse cannot be understated or ignored. These facts underscore the growing significance of the Metaverse as a crucial channel for brand engagement. But we need to remember that the success of a new technology lies in keeping the consumer at the center of everything. Because it is the consumers who will grow the Metaverse.

Start with the Why

Before embarking on the Metaverse journey, brands need to carefully assess their motivations and how they want to engage with consumers. Being present in the Metaverse without a clear purpose is an inadequate starting point. It is important to establish specific objectives. For instance, is the goal to augment awareness among untapped audiences or expand the brand's reach and visibility among the target audience?

Alternatively, could the aim be to nurture positive sentiment and foster brand loyalty? By identifying and articulating these objectives, brands can align their Metaverse strategy with their broader marketing goals.

Next, Where

Once brands have evaluated the reasons for their Metaverse presence, it becomes crucial to assess and select the most suitable Metaverse platforms. Each brand possesses a distinct personality, and the context in which it is perceived holds significant importance. Hence, careful analysis is necessary to identify the platforms that not only provide the greatest potential but also align well with the brand's identity and values.

It is important to consider the unique strengths and weaknesses of each platform in relation to the brand's objectives. This helps make informed decisions and maximize their impact within the Metaverse. Moreover, embracing the opportunity to experiment with multiple platforms allows brands to explore and determine which platforms resonate best with their target audience. By leveraging this flexibility, brands can fine-tune their Metaverse strategy and establish a strong presence that truly connects with their intended audience.

Experiences Matter

After the appropriate Metaverse platform, or platforms, are selected, it is essential to shift the focus towards creating compelling experiences. Within the Metaverse, people are drawn in by the overall ambience, but it is the experience itself that keeps them engaged. Brands need to invest in experiences that captivate their specific target audience.

In this virtual world, where innovation is paramount, the expectation for delivering exceptional and immersive experiences is notably high. Brands will need to strike a balance between merely advertising their offerings and providing truly immersive experiences that seamlessly integrate with the Metaverse while also complementing real-world activations. This delicate balance ensures that brands meet the elevated expectations of consumers within the Metaverse.

Furthermore, brands possess the autonomy to choose their desired virtual locations, allowing them to dynamically exist within various virtual landscapes. This versatility empowers brands to adopt different styles and forms to effectively engage specific audiences. By employing customized strategies and showcasing their unique products, brands can effectively establish a distinct presence that resonates with their target audience within the Metaverse.

Make Connections

When establishing a presence in the Metaverse for marketing purposes, it is crucial to prioritize making meaningful connections with the audience over focusing solely on direct sales. Forward-thinking brands recognize the importance of proactively strategizing to capture the long-term potential of the Metaverse. Once connections with the target audience have been established, there are various avenues to further enhance brand engagement.

For instance, for fashion brands, virtual showrooms, and dressing rooms present significant opportunities to transition from experimental endeavors to widespread adoption. Through virtual showrooms, consumers can explore and interact with products, enabling them to visualize and experience them in a more engaging and interactive manner. Additionally, virtual dressing rooms offer the opportunity for users to try on virtual outfits and experiment with different styles, empowering them to make confident fashion choices.

Prepare for Almost Everything

In order to thrive in the Metaverse, brands must proactively anticipate and mitigate potential risks to reputation. Cautionary examples exist where brands engaged with consumers online without adequately preparing for the rapid feedback loops of the Internet or the viral nature of social media. However, in the Metaverse, the stakes can be even higher due to the real-time and immersive nature of events. Therefore, it is prudent to establish clear rules of engagement that encompass detailed policies and robust enforcement practices.

These guidelines should cover various aspects such as customer experience, intellectual property management, user safety, data privacy, and misinformation. Instances have already arisen where events in the Metaverse did not unfold as intended.

Measuring Success

Brands need to reimagine how they evaluate marketing success within the Metaverse. While measuring returns on investments remains crucial, the metrics may differ from traditional expectations. In traditional digital marketing, website visitors, conversions, ‘likes,’ shares and customer acquisition costs take center stage. However, in the Metaverse, marketers may need to redefine their metrics to capture the unique dynamics of user engagement.

Factors such as analyzing engagement data, consumer preferences, engagement time, etc. become significant considerations. By adopting such measurement approaches, marketers can gain insights into the effectiveness of their Metaverse strategies and optimize their campaigns accordingly.

Prepare to Seize the Day

Regardless of the specific direction the Metaverse takes, it is highly likely that innovation and consumer adoption will continue to accelerate at a rapid pace. As platforms evolve and new use cases emerge, brands will need to continuously test, learn, and adapt. In this dynamic landscape, it becomes crucial for marketers to have access to the necessary talent capable of keeping up with the swift advancements in augmented and virtual reality, consumer journey analytics, and social commerce. By staying attuned to these developments and securing the right expertise, marketers can effectively navigate the evolving Metaverse and capitalize on the opportunities it presents.

Undoubtedly, the Metaverse presents abundant opportunities. While certain technological limitations and the current level of mainstream adoption may initially seem like potential hurdles, they should not deter companies from exploring, experimenting, and ultimately achieving success within the Metaverse. By embracing an open mindset, brands can seize the chance to innovate, learn, and make significant strides in their marketing initiatives.

This article is authored by Piyush Gupta, CEO, VOSMOS.

 

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Global E-Com Expected to Hit $8.5 tn by 2026, with a 56 pc Growth Forecast From 2018
Global E-Com Expected to Hit $8.5 tn by 2026, with a 56 pc Growth Forecast From 2018
 

Despite reduced growth rates compared to the initial pandemic period, the forecast for global e-commerce remains bullish. According to the FIS Global Payments Report 2023, the explosive growth in global e-commerce in the first two years of the pandemic has slightly slowed in 2022, with a 10 percent YoY growth in global e-commerce transaction value from 2021-2022. However, the report predicts a 9 percent CAGR from 2022-2026, projecting that global e-commerce transaction value will rise from approximately $6 trillion in 2022 to over $8.5 trillion in 2026.

The report highlights that all regions except Europe saw double-digit growth from 2021-2022, with the highest growth of 21 percent in the Middle East and Africa. Of the 40 markets covered in the report, 37 saw double-digit YoY growth from 2021 to 22. Markets in Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, and Southeast Asia, except for Thailand at 9 percent, continue to be high-growth markets. The report predicts a mid-teens CAGR in these regions through 2026.

Global E-Com Expected to Hit $8.5 tn by 2026, with a 56 pc Growth Forecast From 2018

The COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacted e-commerce as people began to rely more on online shopping. The report indicates that the pandemic has solidified the shift in consumer behavior towards digital payments, which has continued to drive e-commerce growth. In addition, technological advancements and improvements in digital infrastructure have made online shopping more accessible and convenient for consumers, contributing to the development of e-commerce.

Global e-commerce is projected to grow in all regions, with a robust double-digit growth forecast in emerging markets. This trend presents attractive opportunities for cross-border e-commerce. Therefore, the report suggests that businesses should develop cross-border e-commerce capabilities to benefit from the high-growth markets.

Global E-Com Expected to Hit $8.5 tn by 2026, with a 56 pc Growth Forecast From 2018

Common Services Centers under the Ministry of Electronics & IT (MeitY) said it has invested in the Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) to promote e-commerce and logistics in rural areas. “It is for the first time that CSC has invested in an initiative like this. ONDC will democratize digital commerce by moving to an open network. The partnership will also generate employment opportunities for rural youth by enabling a last mile logistics network,” Dinesh Tyagi, MD, CSC SPV, said in a statement.

However, some challenges still need to be addressed to sustain this growth. For example, the report indicates that the lack of digital infrastructure and financial inclusion in some emerging markets can hinder e-commerce growth. Additionally, regulatory challenges and cross-border trade barriers can create obstacles for businesses looking to expand globally.

Overall, the FIS Global Payments Report 2023 indicates that global e-commerce is poised for significant growth over the next few years, presenting business opportunities and challenges. Companies that can successfully navigate the challenges and leverage the opportunities presented by e-commerce will likely benefit from this growth trend.

 

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How Contemporary D2C Brands can Successfully Surf the Visibility Wave
How Contemporary D2C Brands can Successfully Surf the Visibility Wave
 

D2C brands across the world are born of a mission. A desire to supply today's tech-savvy consumers with hard-to-source goods and trend-focused designs. When one opens social media today, we are thrust into the world of targeted sponsored ads that truly speak to our souls. But how does one trust a new brand and separate the wheat from the chaff?

We tend to rely on the information on the ‘buy now’ page. We look at details like EDD, returns policy, customer reviews, and even, in some cases, the embedded Instagram feed to check the 'real-life' appeal of the product. Clearly, pre-purchase experience is important to us. Post-purchase experience equally, if not more so.

Dipti recently procured two beautiful bedspreads from a long-running D2C brand. She was quite excited about the buy and couldn't wait to receive the package. Unfortunately, the brand offered little to no visibility on the shipment movement.

The predicted 3-4 days did not really stick, and she was left wondering if she had been conned. This is a critical moment, a churning point, in consumer psychology. Vexed, she decided never to re-purchase from that brand. The only solace was that she did receive the beautiful bedspreads a week later, but her post-purchase experience had been so marred it completely threw her off the brand.

What makes the D2C customer tick?

Over 95% of online shoppers track their orders. Close to 50% of them give the order tracking page a look-see every day till they receive their package. About 20% check the status of their purchases multiple times a day. 

Yes, this points to delivery anticipation and post-purchase excitement, but 7 out of 10 shoppers also said they would rather check tracking status for updates than reach out to customer care in case of delays.

Consumers today are attuned to the ‘instant’ lifestyle. They are no longer used to the speed of dial-up internet and scheduled tv programs. They are accustomed to having answers right here and now. This trait is evident in their desire for visibility on packages.

The state of the ‘restless shopper’ psyche can be a good thing for D2C brands.

And then there was vision…

The crux of superior post-purchase experiences boils down to the quality of two things - communication & visibility. Both intertwined make a formidable force to build customer trust and loyalty. Here are some key features every D2C brand needs in their bandanna to set their board on the visibility wave.

Tracking Page: Measuring Performance Metrics

A personalized tracking page is a must for every D2C brand. It is such a simple offering but does so much to elevate the brand’s positioning in the eyes of the shopper. Consumers were once ok with navigating to a courier page to check out the status of their airwaybill number. This unnecessary rigmarole can be safely stowed away thanks to the spectacular range of shipping software currently available.

The trick is to make the tracking page clean, detailed, and tasteful and design it per the brand’s theme and style. Kushal’s, Plum Goodness, Wow Science, The House of Rare…. All offer a clean tracking page in line with their branding ensuring customers never need look elsewhere for information.


Real-Time Alerts


When the phone pings saying the package is out for delivery, it better well be! More often than not, shoppers receive their packages days after receiving this message that’s ripe with false promises. Should they stay home? Should they head out? Should they give a heads-up to their partner, neighbor, security person? Enough.

Real-time alerts via SMS, IVRS, WhatsApp, or Email should suffer no lag, nor should they jump the gun. It’s time to chat with best-in-biz service providers to ensure you don’t pitch your customer into a fit of anxiety. Decathlon has perfected the art of providing real-time statuses.


Holistic Brand Experience

How many times have shoppers become wildly disoriented seeing the abbreviated name of a courier company in their SMS list? Especially considering most shop for multiple products from various online brands at a time. White-labeling is a genuine no-brainer.

When it comes to visibility, it’s time to stop hiding behind third-party doors and display your brand name loud and proud on all forms of communication. When Dipti purchased a watch from Fire-Boltt, she received accurate tracking information from a white-labeled Whatsapp brand account.


Automated Resolutions

If there’s one thing a shopper detests more than being confronted by a strange name, being promised their order is out for delivery when it isn’t, and having to visit a courier page to track their purchase, it’s this - Non-Delivery. It could happen for multiple reasons, none of which is the customer’s problem.

Set up an automated resolution flow to instantaneously resolve non-delivery reports. Reach out to customers with an automated communication flow to sort out any issues ranging from ‘customer unreachable’ to ‘incomplete address’, and ensure that shoppers get their goods on their doorstep right on time. Kapiva and Plix Life recently sorted out their NDR issues with a well-structured communication flow and successfully brought down their RTOs.

Conclusion

It’s time this best practice of offering visibility became standard practice. By providing transparency in delivery, you can expect to see an immediate reduction in customer churn and a spike in brand trust and loyalty. And these are good armaments for any D2C brand that desires to become a household name.

Naman Vijay, Co-Founder, Clickpost
Naman Vijay, Co-Founder, Clickpost

 

Naman Vijay is an alumnus of the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology Delhi campus. He founded ClickPost, Asia's largest post-purchase experience platform in 2015 with co-founder Prashant Gupta, an alumnus of NIT Trichy and InMobi. Previously, Naman had worked as Senior Business Analyst at Barclays and was a Co-founder of Pyck.

 

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Online Retail Boom to Outpace Offline Growth by 2030
Online Retail Boom to Outpace Offline Growth by 2030
 

Online retail penetration is projected to grow at an extraordinary rate, outpacing offline retail by 2.5 times in the next decade. As India ascends to become the world's third-largest consumer market during this period, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India LLP’s (Deloitte India’s) ‘Future of Retail’ report foresees the online retail sector, which stood at $70 billion in 2022, to surge to $325 billion by 2030.

Deloitte India's report attributes these projections to the rapid growth of e-commerce in Tier II and III cities, which have surpassed Tier I markets in terms of total orders. In 2022, these cities accounted for over 60 percent of all orders, with Tier III cities experiencing a remarkable 65 percent growth in order volume and Tier II cities witnessing a substantial 50 percent growth. Meanwhile, Tier I cities observed a modest 10 percent growth.

The surge in online retail can be attributed to various factors. The convenience of ordering and returns, bolstered by a robust logistics infrastructure spanning over 19,000 pin codes, has played a pivotal role. Additionally, India boasts a digitally savvy consumer base of 220 million online shoppers, further driving the growth of e-commerce. Furthermore, the sector has witnessed significant investments from private equity and venture capital firms, totaling $23 billion over the past five years.

Consequently, online sales are poised to surpass organized retail, with a growing emphasis on omnichannel retail strategies where retailers seamlessly integrate their offline and online channels to provide consumers with the best of both worlds.

"Accelerated technology investments are vital to meeting the demands of tech-savvy consumers," stated Anand Ramanathan, Partner, and Consumer Industry Leader - Consulting, Deloitte India. "I am optimistic about the exponential growth potential of India's retail sector, driven by rising incomes, the expanding middle class, and rapid digitalization. By harnessing the power of technology, sustainability, and forward-thinking strategies, retailers can create an ecosystem that not only meets evolving consumer demands but also sets new benchmarks for value, engagement, and unforgettable shopping experiences."

Deloitte's report identifies several key forces that are expected to reshape the retail landscape in India. These include changing consumer patterns, societal and cultural influences, the scale of exponential technology, industry disruptions, climate considerations, and the impact of economics, policy, and power dynamics. The report also highlights that establishing consumer confidence through sustainability initiatives is crucial in the era of conscious consumerism.

Based on these forces, Deloitte recommends six future scenarios for Indian retailers to strategize around:

1. Rise of new commerce: The growing internet user base, smartphone adoption, and e-commerce penetration are reshaping commerce. New commerce channels driven by factors such as increased internet use in Tier II cities, ease of starting online businesses, government support, convenience, personalization, easy discovery, and payment, and trust in influencers are set to redefine the retail landscape.

2. Technology to drive retail towards immersive, frictionless, intelligent experiences: Augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), the Metaverse, and experiential retail are transforming customer interactions. Retailers can enhance customer engagement, satisfaction, and sales by creating captivating and interactive shopping environments.

3. Kirana tech: Kirana tech start-ups offer solutions to empower traditional Kirana stores and compete with online giants. Integrating Kiranas into the larger retail ecosystem opens up new markets, expands the product range, and strengthens its business presence.

4. Rise of the luxury market: Following the pandemic, luxury brands are entering the Indian market through online luxury retailers and partnerships with Indian conglomerates. The report indicates that millennials are driving the luxury market, with 60 percent of them making luxury purchases.

5. Private labels to self-sustain and intensify competition: Private labels are gaining prominence, offering higher profit margins for retailers compared to traditional brands. With the growing consumer consciousness around well-being and demand for healthier options, private-label brands offering quality, affordable, and differentiated products are well-positioned to thrive.

6. Experiential retail: Experiential retail goes beyond transactional experiences, transforming physical and online shopping environments. Retailers are prioritizing immersive and unforgettable experiences to create lasting impressions and strengthen the brand perception.

 

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How E-Commerce can Drive Growth in Healthcare Sector in India
How E-Commerce can Drive Growth in Healthcare Sector in India
 

India has witnessed significant growth in e-commerce across various sectors, including healthcare. Several healthcare e-commerce platforms have emerged recently, providing consumers with multiple services and products.

E-commerce has the potential to drive significant growth in the healthcare sector in India by leveraging its advantages in terms of convenience, accessibility, and efficiency. Healthcare e-commerce in India has gained momentum in recent years due to increasing internet penetration, smartphone usage, and the convenience it offers consumers. The global healthcare e-commerce market will grow from $309.62 billion in 2022 to $366.94 billion in 2023 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.5 percent, according to The Business Research Company.

The Role of Digital Transformation in the Rise of Healthcare eCommerce

In recent years, there has been a noticeable shift from traditional pharmacies to e-pharmacies, also known as online pharmacies. Technological advancements and the increasing demand for convenience and accessibility in healthcare services primarily drive this transition.

E-pharmacies offer several advantages over their traditional counterparts. Firstly, they provide a convenient platform for customers to purchase medications and healthcare products from the comfort of their own homes. This eliminates the need to visit physical stores, saving time and effort, especially for individuals with mobility issues or those residing in remote areas.

Moreover, e-pharmacies often boast a more comprehensive range of products than traditional pharmacies. They can stock a larger inventory of medications and healthcare items, ensuring greater availability and reducing the chances of out-of-stock situations. This is particularly beneficial for patients who require specific medications or have unique healthcare needs.

Another significant benefit of e-pharmacies is the potential for cost savings. Online platforms frequently offer competitive prices due to reduced overhead costs associated with maintaining physical stores. Additionally, they may provide discounts, promotions, or loyalty programs, further reducing the financial burden on customers.

E-pharmacies also enhance medication management and adherence. Many online platforms offer features such as automatic prescription refills and reminders, ensuring that patients never run out of their essential medications. This can significantly improve patient outcomes and reduce the risk of medication non-compliance.

Despite the advantages, it is important to note that the shift to e-pharmacies also presents some challenges. One of the key concerns is the need for stringent regulations and quality control measures to ensure the safety and authenticity of medications being sold online. Government bodies and regulatory agencies are working to establish frameworks to monitor and regulate e-pharmacies effectively.

Here are some ways in which e-commerce can contribute to the growth of healthcare in India:

  • Increased accessibility: E-commerce platforms can provide access to healthcare products, medicines, and equipment to people in remote areas with limited healthcare infrastructure. Online pharmacies can deliver medications to customers' doorsteps, ensuring the availability of essential medicines even in underserved regions.
  • Expanded reach: E-commerce allows healthcare providers to expand beyond physical locations. Healthcare providers can offer telemedicine services, enabling patients to consult doctors remotely via video or chat. This eliminates the need for patients to travel long distances, making healthcare more accessible to a larger population.
  • Cost-effective healthcare: E-commerce platforms can help streamline the supply chain and reduce operational costs, resulting in cost savings for healthcare providers and consumers. This can translate into lower prices for medicines, diagnostic tests, and healthcare services, making healthcare more affordable for patients.
  • Improved information dissemination: E-commerce platforms can serve as a reliable source of healthcare information, providing access to educational resources, health tips, and expert advice. This empowers patients to make informed decisions about their health and wellness.
  • Enhanced transparency and consumer reviews: E-commerce platforms can provide transparency in pricing, quality, and service offerings. Consumers can compare prices, read product reviews, and make informed choices. This transparency can drive competition among healthcare providers, improving quality and service delivery.
  • Data-driven insights: E-commerce platforms generate vast amounts of data related to consumer preferences, buying patterns, and health-related information. Analyzing this data can provide valuable insights into consumer behavior, disease trends, and healthcare demands, helping healthcare providers tailor their services and offerings to meet specific needs.

However, it is essential to note that while e-commerce offers significant opportunities for growth in the healthcare sector, certain challenges must be addressed. These challenges include ensuring the authenticity and quality of healthcare products sold online, safeguarding patient privacy and data security, and establishing robust regulatory frameworks to govern e-commerce in healthcare.

Conclusion

In conclusion, healthcare E-commerce is a powerful catalyst for positive change in the wellness sector, delivering accessibility, efficiency, cost reduction, and overall patient satisfaction. Through diligent evaluation and ongoing enhancements, it has the potential to revolutionize the healthcare industry and shape its future.

 

About the Author

Tanya C Kakaria, Business Head, E-commerce Solutions, Paxcom

Tanya C Kakaria, Business Head, E-commerce Solutions, Paxcom

 

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IReCxD2C Summit:Why Being Multichannel Matters: Unlocking Success in Today's Competitive Landscape
IReCxD2C Summit:Why Being Multichannel Matters: Unlocking Success in Today's Competitive Landscape
 

In today's dynamic consumer landscape, digital transformation is imperative for businesses, especially in the high-end retail industry. By combining digital and physical solutions, businesses can create seamless experiences, cater to changing consumer demands, and ultimately deliver the right solutions to their valued clients.

In a recent conversation at Indian Retailer’s grand event in Bengaluru – IReC X D2C 2023, Aruni Mishra, CEO, Bergner India, and Sachin Jain, MD, De Beers India have highlighted how to create a truly hybrid shopping experience; a plan for creating a unified, lucrative, and customer-focused omnichannel strategy; what are the prerequisites to establish a holistic and integrated approach, etc.

“Embracing the digital era and leveraging its potential can unlock new possibilities and secure a thriving future in the ever-evolving high-end retail space,” Sachin Jain, MD, De Beers India.

“The concept of phygital or hybrid environments is not about providing identical experiences across all platforms. Instead, it's about seamlessly integrating various formats while understanding and catering to what customers expect from each one. It's essential to tailor the experience based on the specific demands and preferences of customers in each format. Achieving relevance in the phygital space requires acknowledging that customers seek different experiences in different formats. By understanding their expectations and adapting accordingly, brands can ensure their continued relevance and success,” Aruni Mishra, CEO, Bergner India.

Trends Shaping Consumer Behavior

Both Mishra and Jain said that by recognizing these trends and finding the right balance between digital and physical experiences, businesses can thrive in a space where value and trust are paramount.

Shifting from Commodities to Consuming Brands:

Consumers worldwide are transitioning from perceiving products as mere commodities to seeking engaging brand experiences. This shift holds true across industries and emphasizes the importance of creating lasting connections with clients. High-end retail, in particular, is witnessing a move from one-time transactions to cultivating long-term relationships and experiential engagements.

From Digital-First to Digital Everywhere:

The digital-first approach has evolved into a pervasive concept known as "digital everywhere." A recent survey conducted in the diamond industry reveals that customers extensively research diamonds online, with the average client having viewed industry diamonds at least 11 times before visiting a physical store. Approximately 70 percent of customers continue their search while physically present, highlighting the omnipresence of digital platforms and their influence on purchasing decisions.

Purpose-Driven Consumption:

Consumers now prioritize brands aligned with their personal values and the purpose they wish to fulfill in life. Brand choices and consumption patterns are characterized by a desire to contribute positively to the world. Understanding and embodying a meaningful purpose can significantly enhance brand loyalty and customer engagement.

Consistent Branding:

The convergence of the physical and digital realms presents an opportunity for powerful storytelling. Maintaining consistent brand messaging across various channels, regardless of whether they are digital or physical, is essential for building trust and reinforcing brand identity.

Tech-Driven Solutions:

Innovative technologies offer solutions to bridge the gap between digital and physical experiences. Features like physical and digital try-ons allow customers to visualize products on their bodies, eliminating concerns about variations between online images and physical appearances. These advancements provide a more immersive and realistic experience, empowering customers to make informed decisions.

Revolutionizing Biz with Tech

Aruni said that Bergner has introduced a concept called TAP, which stands for Technology, Analytics, and Partnerships. TAP represents the company’s approach to technology that enhances human capabilities rather than alienating them. It focuses on implementing technologies that aid and empower people, rather than eliminating the need for human touch. This perspective on technology comes from a business and sales standpoint, rather than being solely driven by IT. Analytics is another crucial aspect of the organization. In the past, analytics was primarily about categorizing customers into different homogeneous groups based on their behavior and addressing their needs accordingly. However, the approach to analytics has evolved significantly. Today, it involves treating each customer as a unique individual and catering to their specific requirements.

Additionally, partnerships play a vital role in Bergner’s strategy. “We acknowledge that we can't do everything on our own, and building partnerships is essential. We believe in going beyond conventional partnerships and aim to establish deep-rooted collaborations that foster community-building or facilitate content creation. By forging meaningful partnerships with like-minded organizations, we can collectively serve our target customers more effectively,” asserted Mishra.

“TAP encapsulates the core principles within the Bergner organization. We prioritize technology that empowers individuals, leverage analytics to understand and address the unique needs of each customer, and foster strategic partnerships to create a thriving community and deliver valuable content,” he further added.

Meanwhile, Sachin stated that the jewelry industry has traditionally been resistant to change in its operations. Looking back decades ago when e-commerce was emerging, there was a significant debate about the viability of selling jewelry or diamonds online. Unfortunately, we as an organization missed that opportunity. However, now there's a new wave approaching—the metaverse. The initial responses to the metaverse globally and in India have been overwhelmingly positive, and it's crucial for the jewelry industry, as well as others, to understand its potential. To embark on this journey, it's important to carve out your space and engage in conversations about NFTs because that's where younger customers can be found. Furthermore, by the end of this year, 72 percent of the Indian population will be under 25 years old, making this age group highly relevant for any industry.

“To simplify the future, we need to focus on building the metaverse and NFTs. The initial response, especially in high-value categories, has been extraordinary. In the short term, within the next few months, we should also prioritize experiential last-mile delivery. While we talk about brands and the overall experience, the final step of product delivery is often handled by a courier or delivery person,” noted Jain.

To Conclude

There are now three interconnected platforms where customers seamlessly navigate — the physical store, web platform, and mobile platform. It is essential to recognize the value of these platforms and understand that relevance is achieved by being present in them.

“In a physical store, customers seek conversations, assurance, and a pleasant ambiance. On a web platform, value and access to abundant information are crucial. On a mobile platform, speed and convenience in shopping are paramount. To succeed, it is vital for brands to extend their presence across these formats while tailoring expectations and experiences accordingly. By adapting and catering to the specific demands of each format, brands can unlock the key to success in this evolving landscape,” highlighted Mishra.

Furthermore, maintaining consistency across online and offline channels is imperative, and integrating digital elements into physical stores can enhance the overall retail experience.

“Over the past decade, we have witnessed the importance of consistent representation both online and offline. In the Indian jewelry business, we have seen numerous brands that fail to establish a cohesive connection between their online and offline presence. This disconnect is a mistake. It is crucial for brands to maintain consistency in their appearance, values, colors, modernity, and cultural relevance. Whether customers engage with the brand physically or digitally, the experience should be similar,” concluded Jain.

 

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The Indian E-Commerce Industry will Surpass US by 2034; Become Second Largest in the World
The Indian E-Commerce Industry will Surpass US by 2034; Become Second Largest in the World
 

India's total merchandise exports continue to cross the $100 billion mark, for the second consecutive quarter in a row, amounting to $105.8 billion, during Q3 (October-December) of 2021-22. Some key factors for this growth include a massive post-pandemic push that made retailers shift from mere brick-and-mortar establishments and embrace e-commerce both locally and globally. Other catalysts included the active participation of consumers in shopping with global retailers.

Shiprocket X, a cross-border shipping product of Shiprocket, India’s leading e-commerce enablement platform recently published its survey report titled “The State of Cross-Border Trade.” The survey revealed some interesting global insights, along with how India ranked 9th in global cross-border growth.

Simplified cross-border trade has been a top priority for the Indian government as it represents 20 percent of global e-commerce and is a key determinant of the level of EoDB (ease of doing business) in the country. The government of India has actively provided the necessary impetus for the growth of the Indian export sector, which has powered a total export revenue of $417 billion in FY22. 

The Indian E-Commerce Industry will Surpass US by 2034; Become Second Largest in the World

15 additional clusters pan-India clocked a surge in merchandise exports, with Gujarat contributing the highest to India’s overall exports, followed by Rajasthan and Delhi. These statistics point towards a strong demand indication for cross-border trade of Indian products

Akshay Ghulati, Co-Founder, Strategy & Global Expansion, Shiprocket said, “Indian MSMEs are the powerhouse of the country with a significant contribution to our GDP. With the unstoppable growth of e-commerce in India, we are on track to become the second-largest e-commerce industry in the world, making it easier than ever for our small businesses to access global markets. We have witnessed firsthand, the tremendous potential of Indian MSMEs in driving cross-border trade, and hence, at the core of Shiprocket lies the passion to empower the merchants of BHARAT. This survey is a step forward in that direction and helps us decode the challenges and the expansion opportunities for Indian e-commerce brands.”

With the increasing acceptability of Indian products in the international retail market, MSME exports are playing a crucial role in powering 40 percent of India's overall exports, contributing to approx. 6.22 percent of the country’s GDP. The transformational changes in consumer buying behaviors have also played a key role in the growing opportunity in the global e-commerce trade. With around 63.4 percent million units spread across the geographical expanse of India, MSME exports are going to play the role of a catalyst in restoring the strength of the Indian economy.

As per the industry body FISME, a study paper has said that e-commerce export potential is in the range of $200 to $300 billion by 2030.

 

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India’s Internet Economy to Reach $1 tn by 2030
India’s Internet Economy to Reach $1 tn by 2030
 

A continued shift in consumer behavior and evolution of the business ecosystem will underpin the growth of India’s internet economy, from approximately $175 billion of consumption in 2022 to $1 trillion by 2030, according to a report titled ‘The e-Conomy of a Billion Connected Indians’ released by Google, Temasek and Bain & Company today. Based on surveys of consumers and investors, as well as analysis by Bain & Company, the report shares insights into the key sectors of the internet economy driven by digital consumption, such as e-commerce, online travel, food delivery, ride-hailing, and more.

The confluence of three crucial forces - digital-seeking behaviors amongst internet users in Tier II+ locations, the digitization of large, traditional businesses along with a growing startup ecosystem, and the success of India’s homegrown digital public goods or the ‘India Stack’ - has positioned the internet economy for acceleration. Consequently, the contribution of the Internet economy to India’s technology sector is set to expand, from the present 48 percent to 62 percent in 2030, while its share in India’s GDP will increase from 4-5 percent to nearly 12-13 percent.

Sanjay Gupta, Country Head and Vice President, Google India said, “Three foundational forces - deepening consumer digital adoption, technology investments by businesses, and digital democratization with the India Stack - has placed India at a turning point in its digital transformation. Structural shifts in consumption potential are opening up a vast opportunity for startups, large businesses, and MSMEs to power India’s internet economy towards a projected growth of 6x, reaching a trillion dollars by 2030. We’re pleased to join Bain and Temasek in this first-of-its-kind multidimensional view of the digital landscape, and are confident and committed to partner India in this extraordinary opportunity.”

Parijat Ghosh, Managing Partner, Bain and Company (India) stated, “India's internet economy has remarkable potential and is expected to grow at 6x over the next decade, with B2C e-commerce driving 40 percent of the digital GMV, followed by B2B sectors and SaaS. The pace of digital disruption is expected to accelerate as traditional businesses and MSMEs increase investments in digitization, in addition to startups continuing to play a strong role in driving the internet economy. We expect to see players go beyond their core to cater to the consumer of the future and adopt new business models to capitalize on the growing opportunity.”

Vishesh Shrivastav, Managing Director, Investment (India), Temasek added, “Widespread digital adoption among consumers, as well as businesses, is accelerating the growth of India’s internet economy at an unprecedented rate. Temasek has been a major participant in India’s internet economy and is optimistic about India’s growth trajectory due to the country’s sound fundamentals. We expect trends in the consumer and digital space to provide a long runway for growth, and as a long-term investor, we are committed to providing catalytic capital to spur the development of innovative solutions to create a more efficient, more sustainable, and more inclusive society.”

Tier II+ Digital Consumption Geared to Unlock New Business Opportunities

With India’s 700 million internet users transacting more via real-time digital payments and spending more time on online video streaming services and social media than global averages, the internet economy is set to expand beyond its current base. This growth will be founded on consumers seeing their household incomes double by 2030 from approximately $2500 to $5500 by 2030.

Tier II+ consumers indicated a greater openness to experimentation with new brands and products, and to directing their increased spending towards personalization and premiumization, especially for HealthTech and EdTech. Against a national average of 70 percent, presently 82 percent of Tier II+ consumers are willing to pay higher prices for personalized and customized products and services, while 84 percent of consumers in Tier II+ would prefer an e-consultation with a reputed doctor to a live appointment with a friend- or family-recommended doctor, compared to 75 percent nationwide.

Key Consumption Sectors Poised for Strong Growth

Presenting a 2030 outlook across 10 key consumer sectors, the report projects that B2C e-commerce will continue to maintain a leading share of digital services, growing 5-6x to $350-380 billion by 2030. India’s online shoppers are expected to double by 2030, with currently over 60 percent of new shoppers located in smaller towns, and increasingly attracted to the Direct-to-Customers (D2C) offerings and accessibility features of digital platforms.

HealthTech and InsurTech, both currently sized at or less than $2 billion today, will demonstrate the largest expansion, to the tune of 9-15x. SaaS will continue to drive momentum for India’s digital exports, with edtech and e-commerce offerings getting a global footprint. Bolstered by the solid foundation of both adoption and innovation in digital financial services, online payments, lending, and investments will continue to be a cornerstone of the internet economy, servicing the credit and capital needs of both the Tier II+ consumers as well as MSMEs.

Evolving with the Consumer will be Critical for Success

With approximately 80 percent of surveyed consumers preferring digital-first experiences for the convenience and value they deliver, responsiveness to consumer behaviors and preferences will be key to the growth of the digital economy. The industry will need to deliver to the priorities of consumers by innovating for their differentiated needs, being responsive to user preference for language, building safety and security into the consumer journey, and integrating sustainability throughout their operations.

Inclusive content and experiences, such as gamification, will help businesses capture mind share and market share, while personalization will help businesses differentiate and identify new revenue streams from the premium services and products consumers desire. Consumers will also choose brands that align with their values, even willing to forego some convenience for more sustainable options. Along with omnichannel models, consumers have indicated an appetite for novel, India-first experiences, especially in online games and media. These preferences will factor significantly in the demand for digital goods and services, strongly influencing businesses’ success in attracting and retaining customers.

Investors Optimistic on Digital in the Mid- to Long Term

Demonstrating an overall investor optimism on India as a favorable investment destination, three in five investors expect deal activities to rise in the next two to three years, with most investors stating that over 75 percent of their funds’ allocation will be towards digital investments in the next five to seven years. Given the growing emphasis on profitability, growth, and late-stage startups will receive more investor attention than earlier-stage ones. SaaS is likely to hold the most appeal over the medium term, with about 77 percent of surveyed investors ranking it in the top three sectors for investment interest, due to the global reputation of India’s large talent pool and software products, and potential for growth in newer verticals with startups identifying profitable niches. Fintech followed in investors’ ranking at about 59 percent, and B2C e-commerce and B2B e-commerce at approximately 36 percent each, encouraged by a growing consumer base, rising number of micro-pay transactions, especially UPI, and expansion of opportunities for businesses to access credit, get organized and digitized.

 

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How Technology is Enabling D2C Brands to Build Loyalty with Indian Consumers
How Technology is Enabling D2C Brands to Build Loyalty with Indian Consumers
 

In recent years, there has been a remarkable surge in the growth of direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands in India, which has been further accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the increasing embrace of digital platforms. India emerged as a significant market for over 600 such brands, generating a market size of $55 billion in 2022, as per Statista. Leveraging technology effectively, D2C brands in India are harnessing digital transformation to establish strong connections with consumers, foster loyalty, and cultivate enduring relationships. By employing advanced analytics, personalized experiences, seamless user interfaces, and AI-powered customer support, these brands are leveraging technology to navigate the evolving consumer landscape, ultimately shaping the future of customer loyalty in the digital age.

Personalized Customer Experiences:

Technology empowers D2C brands to deliver highly personalized customer experiences. Through data analytics and machine learning algorithms, brands can collect and analyze vast amounts of customer information. This enables them to understand individual preferences, anticipate needs, and tailor their offerings accordingly. By personalizing product recommendations, marketing messages, and customer support, D2C brands in India are creating unique experiences that resonate with their consumers, leading to increased loyalty and advocacy.

For instance, a direct-to-consumer beauty brand in India utilizes data analytics and machine learning algorithms to create personalized customer experiences. By analyzing customer data such as skin type, concerns, and past purchases, the brand can recommend skincare products that are specifically suited to each customer's needs. They can also send targeted emails with beauty tips and tutorials based on the customer's interests and preferences.

Seamless User Interfaces:

According to reports, a significant portion of consumers (around 43 percent) feel that the majority of websites do not prioritize user-centric designs. It highlights the importance for businesses to focus on creating intuitive and user-friendly interfaces to enhance the overall user experience and differentiate themselves in a highly competitive digital landscape.

One key advantage of D2C brands is their ability to control the entire customer journey, from browsing products to making purchases. Technology plays a pivotal role in creating seamless user interfaces that enhance the overall shopping experience. Mobile apps, user-friendly websites, and intuitive interfaces simplify navigation, making it easy for customers to explore products and complete transactions. Additionally, secure payment gateways and quick checkout processes further streamline the buying process, instilling confidence and trust among consumers.

Social Media and Influencer Marketing:

India is experiencing a digital revolution, with a massive surge in social media usage. D2C brands leverage social media platforms to engage with their target audience and build loyalty. They utilize social media listening tools to gain insights into consumer sentiments, preferences, and trends. Furthermore, brands collaborate with influencers to reach wider audiences, as influencers have become powerful advocates who can drive consumer loyalty through authentic and relatable content. By embracing social media and influencer marketing, D2C brands in India can connect with consumers on a personal level, building trust and loyalty.

AI-Powered Customer Support:

Prompt and effective customer support is crucial for nurturing loyalty. D2C brands in India are employing artificial intelligence (AI) technologies like chatbots and virtual assistants to deliver round-the-clock support. AI-powered customer support systems provide instant responses, address common queries, and offer personalized assistance. By leveraging AI, D2C brands can deliver efficient and personalized customer service, ensuring consumer satisfaction and loyalty.

Data-Driven Marketing Strategies:

Data is the lifeblood of D2C brands both in India and globally. By harnessing data analytics, brands gain valuable insights into consumer behavior, purchase patterns, and preferences. This data-driven approach enables them to create targeted marketing campaigns, personalized promotions, and loyalty programs. By understanding their customers' needs and desires, D2C brands can tailor their offerings and engage in relevant and timely communication, fostering loyalty and repeat purchases.

Inventory and Order Management for Seamless Deliveries:

Technology plays a crucial role in inventory and order management for D2C brands, enabling seamless deliveries. These brands should invest in centralized inventory management systems that provide real-time visibility of stock across multiple warehouses, preventing stockouts and optimizing replenishment. Automation of order processing, facilitated by advanced order management systems, ensures efficient order allocation and fulfillment based on factors like location, stock availability, and demand channels. Additionally, technology enables streamlined supply chain operations, simplifying receiving, placement, picking, and shipping of inventories. It also facilitates return management by reducing transaction timeframes and analyzing return reasons in detail.

Hassle-free supply chain operations:

Let's consider a D2C furniture brand as an example. By utilizing advanced management software and digital tools, they optimize their supply chain operations. With real-time inventory visibility, the brand effectively manages stock levels and ensures seamless restocking to fulfill customer orders promptly. The automation of warehouse processes, including efficient picking, packing, and shipping operations, enhances operational efficiency and reduces errors. As a result, the brand provides a hassle-free experience to customers by delivering products on time, boosting customer satisfaction, and fostering loyalty

Easy return management:

In the year 2021, return rates for online purchases were observed across a wide range of major product categories, with percentages varying from 8 to 88 percent. Technology plays a crucial role in improving return management for D2C brands. With tech-based solutions, brands can streamline the return process, reducing the time frame to close the transaction loop and ensuring a seamless experience for customers. Additionally, technology enables detailed analysis of return reasons, providing valuable insights that can help brands identify trends, improve product quality, and optimize customer satisfaction. By leveraging technology in return management, D2C brands can enhance customer loyalty and drive repeat purchases.

Technology is playing a transformative role in the retail industry, allowing direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands in India to revolutionize the customer experience and shape the future of customer loyalty. With the increasing adoption of digital platforms by Indian consumers, D2C brands are leveraging technology effectively to gather customer insights, personalize offerings, provide seamless online experiences, and engage customers through targeted marketing. As technology continues to evolve, its influence on building customer loyalty for D2C brands will only become more prominent in the digital age.

About The Author

Bhargav Errangi, Founder, POPclub  Bhargav Errangi, the Founder of POPclub, is a visionary entrepreneur who has been making waves in the consumer product industry for over a decade. With a passion for product management, marketing, and branding, Bhargav's journey has been nothing short of remarkable.  As the Founder of Spoyl, India's first influencer-led social commerce platform, Bhargav demonstrated his entrepreneurial spirit and strategic acumen. Under his leadership, Spoyl thrived for nearly five years before being acquired by Flipkart, one of India's largest e-commerce companies.  At Flipkart, Bhargav continued to shine with his visionary approach. He spearheaded the development and rapid scaling of Shopsy, Flipkart's social commerce initiative, solidifying his reputation as a thought leader in the industry.  As the Founder of POPclub, Bhargav's role is multifaceted. He takes charge of product and strategy, team building, and fosters a culture of ownership and leadership within the company. His goal is to nurture the next generation of leaders who can independently drive the business forward.  Bhargav's exceptional accomplishments have not gone unnoticed. He holds the distinction of being the youngest PhD student to graduate from Georgia Tech, showcasing his unwavering drive and determination to excel in both his personal and professional pursuits.  Beyond his professional achievements, Bhargav leads a vibrant personal life. He is an avid pet lover and enjoys spending time with his two furry companions, taking them out for recreational activities. He also has a passion for cricket, both playing and watching the game.  With his unwavering passion for product innovation, strategic thinking, and leadership, he is set to shape the future of POPclub in profound and impactful ways.

 

Bhargav Errangi, Founder, POPclub

Bhargav Errangi, the Founder of POPclub, is a visionary entrepreneur who has been making waves in the consumer product industry for over a decade. With a passion for product management, marketing, and branding, Bhargav's journey has been nothing short of remarkable.

As the Founder of POPclub, Bhargav's role is multifaceted. He takes charge of product and strategy, and team building, and fosters a culture of ownership and leadership within the company. His goal is to nurture the next generation of leaders who can independently drive the business forward.

With his unwavering passion for product innovation, strategic thinking, and leadership, he is set to shape the future of POPclub in profound and impactful ways.

 

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Ensuring Cost-Efficient, Personalized Customer Experiences at Scale with Headless Commerce
Ensuring Cost-Efficient, Personalized Customer Experiences at Scale with Headless Commerce
 

Increased access to more channels, choices, and flexibility, mass acceleration to digital has changed customer experiences forever.  Multiple customer touchpoints, the rise of mobile and social commerce, and rapidly changing trends and consumer behaviors continue to create even more complex buyer journeys. As smartphones become increasingly ubiquitous in India, it is crucial for retail brands to focus on developing innovative, mobile-first experiences that connect with customers.

The rapid innovation that leads to the connected customer experiences required today is made possible through what is widely known as headless commerce. In its simplest form, headless commerce is a separation of the front end and back end of an e-commerce application. By deploying headless commerce, e-commerce brands can create a personalized, close-to-real-time omnichannel commerce experience.

Headless commerce allows brands to easily update the front-end experience on apps and websites based on evolving market trends and incoming data regarding customer preferences. From micro animations and customizations to entire e-commerce platforms- brands can build the kind of user experience and interface that they want, and how they want it. In other words, brands can create their own front-end processes and tie these back to pre-packaged backend tasks using an API. For instance, in a headless platform, developers can use APIs and tools to send blog posts or customer reviews to any screen or device, while front-end teams can present these in any format or framework as per customer preferences to deliver highly engaging experiences.

This makes headless platforms quite flexible and a preferred technology when aiming for agility. They help brands save time, effort, and cost while unlocking high-performing front-end interfaces. By deploying changes quickly, brands can offer relevant, in-the-moment customer experiences across desktops, mobile apps, in-store kiosks, and digital channels.

There are many other advantages of headless commerce. It allows brands to easily integrate multiple functionalities such as email, mobile devices, shopping carts, online catalogs, personalization tools, and content management systems (CMS), and thus offer a seamless, consistent customer experience that increases brand loyalty.

Here’s how headless commerce enables brands to boost brand loyalty through great customer experiences.

Enables Increased Personalization

Organizations can make quick changes to their websites or digital storefronts based on seasonality or audience segmentation. They can offer customers a personalized experience (via recommendations, custom purchasing preferences, and promotions) by allowing updates and new content to be quickly displayed across devices and formats. Brands can also experiment with the look and feel of the presentation layer to reflect customer tastes.

For example, by using headless commerce, organizations like Netflix and Amazon can offer a customized experience to every user who opens their website or app, without slowing down the speed of performance or reducing the quality of the user experience.

Allows Quicker Adoption of Newer Digital Channels

B2C customers interact with businesses through an average of nine different touchpoints. However, every time a company adopts a new channel of communication, it must create brand-new (and seamless) experiences that are in sync with the features of the channel.

With headless commerce, the backend is minimally impacted by the changes being made to the visual front end. This means organizations can just set up the system once and use APIs to deliver standard information (say about inventory and product details) across various channels. This guarantees consistent customer experiences across different channels. Additionally, it also lets businesses quickly make changes to the UI/UX to add (or remove) new digital channels to the e-commerce experience.

Enables Better Integration Between Program Components

Headless commerce follows an API-first strategy. This means that businesses can select the right tools, languages, and solutions as per requirements and integrate these to build a seamless architecture. This lets companies create a best-in-class platform that facilitates a seamless data flow between various program components. Additionally, developers can add new modules or microservices to keep up with demand and technical advancements, without having to update or replace an entire platform.

While headless commerce makes it easier to offer integrated brand experiences across channels, the decoupling of the front and back end also comes with certain technological challenges. A traditional company that is just embarking on its digital transformation journey should ideally not opt for headless. The business will have to have an extremely skilled in-house IT team that can maintain and sustain headless. Even if brands augment the internal team by collaborating with experts, the external party will have to be deeply embedded in the brand’s ecosystem for the process to work smoothly.

Additionally, the organization must be clear about the value-add headless offers to its customers. Any company that feels a consistent experience works well for its customers should go for the template-based approach, which will ensure consistency and lesser complexity. However, in the absence of the above challenges, headless commerce can indeed revolutionize the customer experience, boosting brand loyalty and ensuring sustainable, efficient business growth in the long run.

 

This article is written by Sridhar Hariharasubramanian, Senior Director, Solution Engineering, Salesforce. India.

 

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How Crossbeats Built Demand for Premium Tech in Price-conscious India
How Crossbeats Built Demand for Premium Tech in Price-conscious India
 

Innovation and value addition are the only two mantras for the expanding consumer technology industry in India. Better features at a lower price create the perfect situation for mass consumers, while stronger brand recall appeals affluent buyers. However, there is a middle ground that thrives only on great features for the right price. Since its inception in 2015, Crossbeats has dominated that category by surpassing expectations with brilliant gadgetry.  Abhinav Agarwal, Co-founder, Crossbeats, opened up on the brand journey so far. 

Right Audience 

“When we started in 2015, our objective was to create a consumer tech brand that resonates with the mid-premium segment of the audience. At that time, we only had the Sonys, Samsungs, and Apples of the world, catering to the crème de la crème of Indian clientele on one hand, and local brands catering to sub-Rs 1000 segments on the other,” said Agarwal. He and co-founder Archit Agarwal inferred that the Indian consumers were lagging behind firstly on the huge price barrier, and secondly on the glaring delay in launch of latest tech from the top global brands.

Crossbeats solved the first problem by accelerating awareness programs strategically across the audience persona in metropolitan cities such as Bengaluru, Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, and Hyderabad. Their plan was solid, as they sought value seekers for a range of products priced significantly high for the mass audience. “My end-consumer is an educated, tech-savvy person in the mid-management level of their careers aspiring to own an Apple product in 5 years. Our tagline ‘design to deliver’ attests our motive to create products that last a lifetime,” he said. 

Crossbeats’ steady campaigns resolved to bridge the second and much prolonged problem of the country getting late updates of consumer tech. “The Walkmans were introduced in the US in 1970s, but only became popular in the early 1990s. The saga continued with iPods in the 2000s, and India faced an average delay of 6 years in terms of market updates. That strengthened Crossbeats’ determination to become an innovator for the domestic market,” Abhinav said.

Planned Marketing

With Apple doing away with the 3.5mm jack in 2015, Crossbeats predicted a humongous growth in smartphone use, and went ahead with creating wireless earphones, their first product. Soon, they expanded to TWS products, smartwatches, and headphones. 

The traction started from gathering feedback from existing buyers mostly via word-of-mouth. Crossbeats reached out to tech YouTubers and influencers to boost visibility. Soon, they started upselling first-time audio device users with smartwatches and other innovative products such as Torq, introduced during the pandemic to suit the evolving needs of work-from-home professionals. Even at a high price of Rs 6999, unheard of in this segment, the Torq earphones are on high demand with buyers asking for constant upgrades. It happened because Crossbeats fulfilled the needs of the average professional of 25-35 years of age, who sought convenience through D2C product delivery and was heavily invested in digital media for work purposes.

Analytics Accelerating Visibility

It pays well to nurture an existing set of buyers to know the scope for growth, and Crossbeats continues to do that with data analytics that determine their product offering in the market. Their marketing team consists various focus groups, and they send out questionnaires to agencies, who in turn interact with their target audience for feedback on latest trends. “If a user says he wants 4-6 mics for a good work-from-home experience with a battery to last 12 hours, our product team comprising industry-leading designers, does a feasibility check on the price point on offer. It takes 3-4 months for a product to launch,” he maintained. 

In the last 1.5 years, Crossbeats has expanded their offline presence across South India, Maharashtra, and the western states. Their distribution network consists 300-400 retail counters and service centres. This year, the brand closed with a turnover of Rs 75 cr, which is almost 100% higher than the last 2 years. Their objective remains the same of finding the right customer, instead of flooding the market while compromising on quality

 

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GHCC - a full-stack eCommerce tech platform bags the Best Tech Integration Awards at the D2C Awards 2023
GHCC - a full-stack eCommerce tech platform bags the Best Tech Integration Awards at the D2C Awards 2023
 

The time bracket of 2014-17 was very crucial for GreenHonchos, an early mover in the eCommerce consulting space in India, to test the market. In the words of Founder-Director Navin Joshua, the domestic market ecosystem wasn’t prepared for a D2C route back in the day. Standing their ground and creating a demand for the D2C ecosystem aided GreenHonchos to find absolutely futuristic and progressive brands that aligned with the vision and took the leap of faith for all the right reasons into the global arena.

Transitioning to D2C

There were early tell-tale signs that online would be an emerging channel, but marketplaces were still the default way to go online. Customer acquisition was far and behind and there was still a lot to be done in generating awareness about the D2C space. Thus, GreenHonchos had to focus more on consulting to educate brands and generate demands at the primary level. “With us being early movers, the only references of use cases on the market study we had back then were that of the global players. Only the progressive and relatively larger brands pitched in. Internally too, we had to hire, train, and create a best-in-class talent pool to service the brands as the overall ecosystem didn’t exist in the first place. We built our own SOPs and strategies for growing brands via close-contact programs by actively communicating with the customers and clients closely,” said Joshua. 

One of the best unique selling points for GreenHonchos became their commitment, from a technology standpoint, to handhold any brand on its spectrum of D2C journey by resuming processes from past performance and scaling up without additional capex requirements. “We also have a very strong network of over 40 partners across multiple streamlines. Be it pre-purchase martech, post-purchase efficiency, or tools optimizing the funnel journey of brands, we are close with the entire ecosystem. Based on the need analyses, we combine consulting and implementation to help brands reach their goals quicker instead of them struggling to make their own KPIs and experimenting on which metrics work,” he maintained. 

Pre-Covid surge to tipping point today

Before the pandemic struck, GreenHonchos had cemented its space as a one-stop shop for brands across their journey of eCommerce growth by offering an intricate stream of solutions involving full-stack eCommerce technology, merchandising strategy, SEO, performance marketing, digital brand building, and business analytics. Over time, they developed a center for excellence, a governance system, and an end-to-end client servicing organization. Their internal efficiencies have also become automated, thus making performance prediction and cost learning accurate, thus prompting brands to outsource these core areas to GreenHonchos.   

Post-Covid, the surge in demand has settled down and markets are consolidating because brands have identified the true enablers of growth and value. Focusing on the right staff size, core strength, profitability, efficiency, and skill sets are important for any brand that wants profitability and scale simultaneously, believes the founder. 

Highlighting how the coming 2-3 years are crucial for GreenHonchos, Joshua is glad for the brand to have received the Best Tech Integration Award for India’s marquee retail brands at the recently convened Indian Retailer Award. “This is a good acknowledgment of the direction and vision GreenHonchos is moving toward by a jury comprising of who-is-who and the key decision makers from the industry. It is that outward assessment that gives us validation that we are on the right path and should continue working in new and emerging markets,” Joshua concluded.
 

 

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{Super SCM Makers} Ferrero India: Achieving Operational Efficiency
{Super SCM Makers} Ferrero India: Achieving Operational Efficiency
 

Rohit Batra, Head of Supply Chain and Developing Markets, Ferrero India maintained that increasing consumer expectations for sustainable delivery and logistics had put huge pressure on supply chain management. For Ferrero, the creation of shared value was a practice that affected all stages of the supply chain - especially the support of local communities and their strong commitment to sustainable farming practices, safeguarding, and protecting the environment.

According to him, the top 3 trends this year would be:

Omnichannel Supply Chain - The pandemic accelerated the traditional customer purchasing patterns towards e-commerce, moving away from brick-and-mortar shopping. Ferrero has since noticed a move away from a multichannel retail strategy approach to omnichannel - the seamless integration of the buying experience across all channels.

Predictive Supply Chain - Analyzing past data with the help of predictive analytics has enabled the brand to better identify patterns, risk, forecasts, and trends, make better predictions of future events and minimize downtime; further increasing its efficiency and visibility. This is particularly useful for Ferrero as it has multiple distribution points, and this helps them determine different distribution strategies while adapting to different geographies of the country.

Demand Sensing - Demand sensing incorporates numerous data points that are not deemed important in conventional forecasting practices. Sensing demand early is particularly critical in the ongoing market volatility due to steady D2C growth, which has been further intensified by the pandemic, climate change, global inflation, and other external pressures.  

Perfecting the Supply Chain Efficiency

Here are some best practices that have helped Ferrero maintain an efficient supply chain:

Protect the Environment – The company works hard to manage and reduce its environmental impact, increase environmental efficiency in its operations and supply chain, reduce emissions and water consumption, and increase circularity in its manufacturing and packaging operations.

Integrated S&OP and Project Management (Master Plan) - With the S&OP process integrated into its business, the brand balances its demand and supply as all key personnel is up to date on inventory, production capacity, and likely sales.

Finding Opportunity and Communication - Finding the correct opportunity and communication are crucial to supply chain success and yet, they are astonishingly one of the biggest areas in need of improvement. With proper communication between stakeholders and external suppliers, more innovative ideas have been brought to the table, thus enhancing the process.

“We have implemented Order Management Tools to automate the “Order to Cash” process, and this has benefited us to bring efficiency in the customer service area. This ensures higher service levels to the customers and to maintain lean inventory levels,” Batra said.

 

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{Super SCM Makers} IG International: Refining Supply Chain with Digitization
{Super SCM Makers} IG International: Refining Supply Chain with Digitization
 

Shubha Rawal, Director, Sourcing and Marketing, IG International stated that one of the most significant trends that would shape supply chain operations in 2023 was digitization. Companies would increasingly adopt digital technologies to streamline their processes, reduce costs, and enhance visibility and transparency across the supply chain.

“This will include the use of advanced analytics, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things (IoT) to optimize inventory management, improve forecasting accuracy, and enhance decision-making,” she highlighted.

Based on recent trends, here are some of the top 3 supply chain trends:

E-Commerce Boom: With the rise of online marketplaces and increasing customer demand for convenience, e-commerce has become a game-changer in the supply chain industry. This has resulted in the creation of a new supply chain network, including last-mile delivery services, warehousing, and inventory management.

Technology Integration: Technology adoption in supply chain management has been growing at a fast pace in the world. Companies are using IoT sensors, blockchain, machine learning, and AI to streamline their supply chain processes, reduce errors, and enhance visibility across the supply chain.

Sustainability and Social Responsibility: Consumers are becoming more conscious of sustainability and social responsibility, and this trend is gradually permeating into the supply chain industry. As a result, companies are focusing on sustainable sourcing, reducing carbon footprint, and promoting ethical practices in their supply chain operations.

 

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{Super SCM Makers} ShakeDeal: Boosting Efficiency with Tech
{Super SCM Makers} ShakeDeal: Boosting Efficiency with Tech
 

Akshay Hegde, Co-Founder, ShakeDeal said that the advancements in technology were revolutionizing the way businesses managed their supply chains, leading to improved operations, efficiency, and cost reduction. The Internet of Things (IoT) was one such example of a technology that enabled businesses to track products at each stage of the supply chain, providing real-time data that could inform inventory management and demand forecasting. Additionally, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) were being used to optimize routing, minimize delivery times, and decrease waste. Moreover, the adoption of blockchain technology was enhancing supply chain visibility, increasing transparency, and mitigating risk. Automation was another technological advancement that was transforming supply chain management by reducing human error and increasing accuracy.

“Looking ahead, emerging technologies such as 5G, robotics, and autonomous vehicles will continue to drive improvements in supply chain management, boosting performance and keeping businesses ahead of the competition,” he added.

Adopting Tech in Operations

ShakeDeal has implemented blockchain technology in its supply chain management processes to increase transparency and traceability. By using this technology, it can create a secure and immutable record of every transaction in its supply chain – from procurement to delivery. “This helps us track the movement of goods and identify any issues or delays in real-time,” stated Hegde.

Another technology that the brand has recently implemented was Robotic Process Automation (RPA). “By using RPA, we have been able to reduce errors, improve efficiency, and free up our staff to focus on more complex tasks,” he concluded.

 

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{Super SCM Makers} Madame: Warehouse Automation to Increase Productivity
{Super SCM Makers} Madame: Warehouse Automation to Increase Productivity
 

As a pioneer in adapting automation in supply chain management in fashion, Sunil K. Sharma, AVP – Sales & Planning, Madame believes that technology will continue to play a crucial role in the evolution of supply chain management. In fact, Madame introduced fully automated warehousing way back in 2015. “However, we recognize that the systems need to be consistently upgraded in order to maintain high demand and supply. Therefore, we are constantly evolving and upgrading our systems. We have also partnered with the latest technology service providers to keep our systems up to date,” he mentioned.

Issues in SCM

Sharma asserted that the main challenge in supply chain management was to maintain delivery turnaround time, tracking of shipments, and B2C supplies. Madame was working on a system that could connect this data to ERP directly. This would help in improving its operational efficiency by eliminating the need for manual intervention.

“Our ERP system will enable us to track the entire supply chain process in real-time and help us identify any bottlenecks in the process, enabling us to take proactive steps to resolve them,” he said.

“Furthermore, auto replenishment of inventory and real-time tracking of stock has become critical for maintaining high levels of customer satisfaction. Also, implementing omnichannel strategies to deliver products to customers through various channels is the new norm in the fashion retail industry,” Sharma added.

 

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{Super SCM Makers} Epigamia: Making Supply Chain Network Optimization a Strategic Priority
{Super SCM Makers} Epigamia: Making Supply Chain Network Optimization a Strategic Priority
 

Yatish Vatsaraj, Head - Supply Chain, Epigamia stated that network optimization has always been a crucial trend in the supply chain industry as it enabled an efficient design and execution of a supply chain network. This involved designing a supply network where the procurement, manufacturing, warehousing, logistics, and distribution functions were all designed to reduce the overall cost and optimize the use of resources and improve speed to market – Distributed Manufacturing, Hub & Spoke Warehousing, and Shared/ Reverse Logistics. Carrying out network optimization at regular intervals based on the revised plans and needs of the organization was an absolute must.

“We have been using shared/reverse logistics for optimization for quite some time. We recently started distributed manufacturing to decrease costs and be closer to the market,” he noted.

He further said that technology would help in driving visibility and agility of the entire SC processes, enabling better management of complex supplier networks, providing real-time data for analysis and action, helping with timely and apt decision-making, and acting as an early warning system for disruptions.

“We moved to a demand forecasting tool that helps us in analyzing past and future­­­ trends. The inventory management tool ensures that optimal inventory levels are maintained across the system; this in turn also makes sure that we have fresher inventory across depots,” he concluded.

 

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{Super SCM Makers} Honasa Consumer Limited: Keeping Consumers at the Centre
{Super SCM Makers} Honasa Consumer Limited: Keeping Consumers at the Centre
 

While technology is going to have a far-reaching impact on building supply chain capabilities in the coming years, Avinash Dhagat, VP, Supply Chain, Honasa Consumer Limited believes that there are three areas that are likely to see the most impact. The first is ‘suggestive decision making’, which will impact every decision-making stage in supply chain execution, with human interventions reducing with better quality analytics and outputs. The second is efficiency in operations – be it last mile, warehousing, or planning, it will be enhanced through innovative ways driven by technology and talent. Lastly, skill sets in the supply chain will evolve with more implementation and adoption of solutions.

“We have recently piloted a demand sensing approach to planning (with an AI/ML tool) and it is helping us predict and replenish our nodes better to improve availability and reactivity,” he noted.

Maintaining Efficacy

The three best practices that the company has adopted to maintain an efficient supply chain include:

  • Using data and technology to build visibility and drive daily decisions for execution. Additionally, having a strong in-house analytics team has helped in building this capability quickly and evolving quickly with the changing business requirements.
  • Keeping consumers at the center while building the supply chain.
  • Being agile in processes and capabilities. There is a certain amount of dynamicity to businesses, and having an agile mindset towards processes and networks has helped the company to manage that dynamicity efficiently.
 

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{Super SCM Makers} Clovia: Disrupting Supply Chain Tech
{Super SCM Makers} Clovia: Disrupting Supply Chain Tech
 

Abhay Batra, Co-Founder & CFO, Clovia stated that technology would continue to drive innovation in supply chain management, helping organizations improve efficiency, reduce costs, and provide better service to customers.

Technology was likely to evolve supply chain management in the following ways:

Flight Automation: The world was moving to robotics, autonomous vehicles, and drones to improve accuracy and labor cost.

Data Analytics and Business Intelligence: Data analytics was going to play a vital role in supply chain planning and execution. It would help companies to find out the gray area and open the possibilities of optimization.

IoT and Sensors: IoT devices and sensors were already being used to track goods and shipments in real time. In the future, these technologies would become even more pervasive, allowing for greater visibility and control over the entire supply chain.

Blockchain: Blockchain technology would be used to improve supply chain transparency and reduce fraud. In the future, it could be used to create more secure, decentralized supply chain networks, reducing the risk of supply chain disruptions.

“Currently, our main focus is to widen the supply chain reach by covering maximum pin codes/areas within the country, improve the accuracy and traceability of orders and inventory in the system, reduce the order fulfillment time, and bring automation at critical points to reduce costs, people dependencies and improve customer experience,” he asserted.

 

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{Super SCM Makers} Blue Tribe: The Role of ML/AI in Logistics
{Super SCM Makers} Blue Tribe: The Role of ML/AI in Logistics
 

Arpit Arya, Supply Chain & Operations Head, Blue Tribe Foods asserted that Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence were some of the key supply chain trends that helped enterprises streamline their operations, minimize costs, and improve overall efficiency. The tools could be used to automate the end-to-end process of the purchase order (PO) to billing in a smooth manner. The machine learning algorithms could complete tasks that included purchase order creation, approval, invoice matching, and processing, as well as tracking payments.

“The automation of such tasks helps free up the employees' time so that they can focus on more urgent and strategic matters at hand. Moreover, these supply chain trends may also help in enhanced supply chain visibility, predictive analytics, and dynamic pricing optimization,” he added.

Optimizing Supply Chain Management

The business landscape is one that is extremely dynamic and continuously evolving, leading to supply chain management becoming complex and unpredictable. Therefore, process automation in a company could be a valuable tool to improve supply chain management as it would lead to higher efficiency, reduction of errors, and overall improvement in supply chain performance.

“There is also a need to anticipate the business requirement for the next year while also constantly engaging with startups, which are agile enough to provide solutions at short notice,” he stated.

 

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{Super SCM Makers} Bikano: Upping the Game with Tech
{Super SCM Makers} Bikano: Upping the Game with Tech
 

According to Manish Aggarwal, Director, Bikano, Bikanervala Foods Pvt Ltd, automation and digitization were the leading supply chain trends in current times, followed by sustainability and data analytics. In the modern era of technology, these pillars have gained significant momentum and were getting adopted by most industries. “Hence, automation & digitization, sustainability, and data analytics can be easily considered the top three supply chain trends,” he said.

Tech to Play Critical Role

Technology was continuously upgrading and evolving supply chain management in many ways. For instance, to improve efficiency and reduce costs, supply chain management technology was expected to become increasingly advanced and automated. Similarly, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) would be used to automate tasks such as demand forecasting and inventory management.

Whilst blockchain technology would be used to improve data security and visibility across the supply chain, with automated drones and robots helping in delivery and inventory tracking. Other technological advancements such as IoT and augmented reality would also play a pivotal role in evolving supply chain management.

“Internet of Things (IoT) enabled sensors and wearables could be used to monitor the condition of goods in transit, and Augmented Reality (AR) could be used to streamline the process of picking and packing items. Furthermore, cloud computing and 5G technologies were expected to help facilitate smoother and more efficient communication between various supply chain stakeholders,” explained Aggarwal.

 

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{Super SCM Makers} Bata India: Optimizing Supply Chain with AI & ML
{Super SCM Makers} Bata India: Optimizing Supply Chain with AI & ML
 

Mahesh Gupta, Head Supply Chain, Bata India asserted that Bata delivered to both business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) verticals, and being aware of the evolving trends and models of the supply chain was essential for pan-India brand like Bata. In his opinion, the most significant trends in the supply chain were:

Block Chain and Intelligent Order Management: Blockchain technology ensures both the data's availability and integrity, by establishing a real-time data update and syncing it with minimum threat.

Intelligent Workflows and Process Automation: Intelligent workflows increase the visibility, flexibility, agility, value, and efficacy of internal processes, and make them user-friendly. 

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning: By adding technologies like AI and automation, it helps in performing diverse and complex activities more efficiently.

Overcoming Supply Chain Problems

Bata’s main concerns are an increase in freight cost due to the hiking prices of fuel. Therefore, in order to overcome this challenge, it converted secondary distribution from the hub and spoke model to a direct warehouse-to-customer form. Upsizing the vehicle and its optimum capacity utilization also helped keep the costs reasonable.

“Apart from this, we often face unexpected delays in deliveries due to lag in imports, which therefore cause stock unavailability. However, increasing inventory holding has been helpful in overcoming delays,” he noted.

Tech Evolving SCM

AI and ML, cloud, big data analytics, blockchain, and automation are transforming supply chain operations. These technologies have assisted in creating an agile, high-performance supply chain that responded to constantly changing business dynamics.

Technology can collaborate end-to-end data, and hence reduce the stress of maintaining and updating the database since updating and syncing the database is an essential feature for any organization.

“Data analysis has also helped to reduce costs by improving operational efficiency with customer delight. Reducing man-hours spent on the data analysis is time and cost-efficient. Additionally, WMS and TMS can help improve data visibility, which can assist in reducing cost with minimum use of resources,” elaborated Gupta.

Efficiently Marinating Supply Chain

First and foremost, Bata has implemented an effective inventory management process. It has increased its efficiency in controlling, storing, and keeping track of its inventory items. Secondly, the implementation of WMS integrated with ERP has been helpful in making a tangible improvement to the full range of business processes.

“Lastly, we have also improvised our network design and changed the delivery system for better efficiency. The improved network design has helped us cut the time and cost required to bring our goods to the market,” he concluded.

 

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Sustainable Packaging in B2B Supply Chain: Enhancing Profitability
Sustainable Packaging in B2B Supply Chain: Enhancing Profitability
 

As consumers become more environmentally conscious, companies are under pressure to reduce their environmental impact. One of the most significant areas of concern is packaging, which is crucial to protecting products during transit and storage, promoting brand recognition, and enhancing product appeal on retail shelves. 

However, traditional packaging materials, such as plastics, have a negative environmental impact and are increasingly scrutinized. To address this, sustainable packaging has emerged as a viable solution, using eco-friendly materials and practices to minimize waste and reduce carbon footprint. 

Enhancing Supply Chain Performance

Sustainable packaging has a significant impact on supply chain performance, which is evident in the following ways:

Reduced Carbon Footprint

One of the most significant advantages of sustainable packaging is its ability to reduce the carbon footprint of the supply chain. Conventional packaging materials such as plastics and metals are non-biodegradable and take hundreds of years to decompose, contributing to environmental pollution. 

Sustainable packaging, on the other hand, uses eco-friendly materials such as biodegradable plastics, paper, and cardboard. These materials are biodegradable and help in reducing waste generation, energy consumption, and greenhouse gas emissions.

Efficient Storage and Transportation

Sustainable packaging materials are lightweight and occupy less space, leading to efficient storage and transportation. They reduce the number of trips required for shipping, thereby reducing transportation costs and emissions. Moreover, sustainable packaging designs are often stackable and easy to handle, leading to more efficient warehousing and inventory management.

Improved Customer Satisfaction

In recent years, consumers have become increasingly environmentally conscious and are more likely to purchase products that are eco-friendly. Sustainable packaging enhances customer satisfaction by providing a guilt-free shopping experience. It helps businesses to build brand loyalty and enhance their reputation by showcasing their commitment to environmental sustainability.

Compliance with Regulations

Governments worldwide are implementing stringent environmental regulations and standards to mitigate the negative impact of packaging on the environment. Sustainable packaging techniques help businesses to stay compliant with these regulations and to avoid penalties while maintaining standards of local and global regulations.

Reduction in Damages

Sustainable packaging materials are often designed to provide superior protection to products, reducing the risk of damage during transit. It helps in minimizing product returns and associated costs. Sustainable packaging designs also incorporate features such as shock-absorbing materials and tamper-evident seals, enhancing the safety and security of products during transportation and storage.

Increased Cost Savings

Sustainable packaging offers cost savings by utilizing eco-friendly materials that are often more affordable than traditional packaging materials. Additionally, it helps businesses to reduce transportation and storage costs by optimizing package design and material efficiency. These cost savings can contribute to the overall profitability of the business while also supporting sustainable practices.

Maximize Sustainable Packaging Profitability with Technology

We understood that to achieve maximum profitability is by integrating technology into sustainable packaging practices. Here are some ways in which we integrated technology into our sustainable packaging:

Predictive Analytics 

Predictive analytics helps us optimize packaging design by gaining insights into consumer behavior, packaging trends, and environmental impact. With this data, we are able to make informed decisions on sustainable packaging materials and design, ensuring maximum efficiency and profitability.

Automation 

Automation helps reduce packaging waste by precisely cutting materials to the required dimensions, minimizing the risk of errors and the amount of scrap generated. It also helps to streamline the packaging process, improving speed and efficiency.

Blockchain Technology 

Blockchain technology helps us maintain transparency and traceability in the supply chain process. Blockchain provides a secure, immutable ledger, ensuring that sustainable packaging materials are ethically sourced, and the environmental impact of the packaging can be accurately measured and tracked.

Internet of Things (IoT)

IoT helps us monitor the performance of sustainable packaging materials and design, ensuring that they meet the required standards and are optimized for maximum efficiency and profitability. IoT also helps us with predictive inventory management and be prepared for supply chain disruptions.

Addressing Environmental Concerns While Making a Profit with Sustainable Packaging

Sustainable packaging has become an essential component of the B2B supply chain as it addresses environmental concerns while fostering an array of benefits. 

Additionally, integrating technology into sustainable packaging practices can help businesses to achieve their sustainability goals while maximizing profitability. As more businesses adopt sustainable packaging solutions, we can expect to see a shift towards a more environmentally conscious and sustainable supply chain, ultimately leading to a better future for all.

 

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Shopflo revolutionizes online purchase through seamless check-out process
Shopflo revolutionizes online purchase through seamless check-out process
 

Every brand harbors the ambition to spread its business far and wide. Possibilities are immense, with people finding the products they love online and quickly adding to the cart. The purchase, however, is far from complete as several steps authenticating the transaction with prompts of necessary details cause huge drop offs. That’s where an integrated, merchant-friendly check-out platform such as Shopflo comes into picture.  

Solving drop-offs and improving intent

Priy Ranjan, Co-founder & CEO of Shopflo, demystifies the crucial issue of drop-offs. “Many emerging D2C brands use online as a capital-efficient channel to grow in their formative period. But the differentiating factor is in the experience they provide as compared to established brands,” he says. Unfortunately, almost 70% drop-offs are caused during that customer journey. Incremental changes in UI and UX can’t solve that process. The four fool-proof solutions on login, promotion, payment, and analysis by Shopflo helps the merchant control and deliver a great experience to their customers. 

These solutions help merchants track the points where the drop-offs are happening and enable deep customization to enhance user experience. This has helped many companies venturing into online space with Shoplo in getting a 15-20% growth. That’s a steep ascent which takes months for companies to reach without the assistance of such platforms. Shopflo now caters to roughly 30-40% of the d2c audience in India and that number is growing every single day.

Shopflo focuses on reducing purchase friction, increasing buying intent, and create urgency, which is a big problem area that customers encounter before paying. They start second-guessing on whether or not they trust the brand, their delivery or return policies. Shopflo helps customers tide over these thoughts impeding the purchase process with a two-step check-out experience, wherein firstly they need to key in their address and pay in the second stage. Also tackling fraud, the brand has taken steps to block certain pin codes and customers with a history of fraudulent interactions. These processes are in-built on the platform.

Shopflo now enjoys a network of roughly 25 million customers getting repeat experience across Shopflo brands. The brand is also creating a seamless mobile-native experience, catering to the internet-rich mobile customer base of India.

When it comes to improving intent, Shopflo now boasts of a discount experience resembling that of top food aggregator platforms, where one can play around with coupons and ladder discounts fuelling purchase intent. These enable deep constructs that help understand customer behavior, while merchants can key in their own brand messaging and connect that back to analytics to customize the user experience. “This helps apparels brands who prefer offering services such as ‘Free Exchange in Returns’ to build trust, and 100 percent refund in 24 hours to build more comfort towards online shopping,” mentions Ranjan. 

Optimizing a funnel with customizable reward systems

“These four solutions maximise returns out of every prospective customer and complete the customer life cycle ending with checkout,” says Advait Shankar, Founding product lead, Shopflo. These four key solutions create superb focus through complete freedom to run offers the way any merchant wants to, thus unlocking opportunities for customers to discover offers before or after logging in. “The native Shopify platform may have a hundred other disjointed apps, all of which lack Shopflo’s focus to create the ideal checkout flow,” he adds.

Such levers optimize different metrics for every merchant operating on Shopflo and aiming for a loyal customer base. That’s where a reward system goes the extra mile in any form such as store credit. Citing the classic example of the Starbucks’ wallet system, Shankar says that closed wallet systems have historically been proven on customer retention. 

But a solution never existed which seamlessly integrates a close wallet system with customer’s purchase flow for brands to monitor and optimize lifetime value of a first-time or repeat customer. “With a closed wallet system, a merchant can have coins running a wallet system, that allows them to give credits to their consumers or cash-back on a purchase. For D2C brands in India, a closed wallet system, which is in-sync with the checkout flow,” Shankar maintains.

Shopflo ensures a brand-owned wallet system for all types of credits in multiple ways, stitching the purchase flow to the checkout process. Launched in May 2022, Shopflo is live on about 200-plus brands, helping them directly with conversion rates on top of the funnel, says Deeksha Bhargava, Founder’s Office at Shopflo. The metric where you optimize from add to cart to your order, we have helped in boosting conversion to the tune of 15-40%. Our brands have seen, at least 30x to 50x return on investment. Various reputed brands such as Yoga Bar, Sleepy Owl, Dot and Key, Juicy Chemistry, Suta, Dr. Sheth's, and mCaffeine have gone live on Shopflo. Optimizing on their last and most critical step of customer purchase journey directly boosts their revenue,” Bhargava adds.

As more brands come onboard, the team understands the pressing need for a multi-module solution for every form of merchant, instead of offering a one-size-fits-all service. Shopflo gives control to merchants to chart their own way of customer acquisition that reflects the brand's positioning, messaging, and actions. Set to make a big splash with early access to their new wallet system at IReC 2023, Shopflo is determined to provide a seamless rewarding experience with repeat users to every progressive brand.
 

 

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The Infusion of AI in Fashion- A Breakthrough for The Future
The Infusion of AI in Fashion- A Breakthrough for The Future
 

 A few decades ago, technology started influencing every aspect of our existence. Today, it is such an integral part of our being that it is difficult to pinpoint where we would be without it. Every era has a buzzword attached to it, and for this generation, Artificial Intelligence has been at the core of this transformation. AI is evolving different industries by enabling businesses to make more informed decisions, improving efficiency, and reducing costs. It is inevitable that the integration of AI will continue to shape various industries, and companies that embrace this technology will likely gain a competitive advantage over those that do not. 


Predictive analysis is one of the most exciting applications of AI in fashion. AI-powered design tools can analyze vast amounts of data on trends, consumer preferences, and market demand to create designs that are both visually appealing and commercially viable. When we break down the product lifecycle of the fashion industry today, we can clearly map the infusion of artificial intelligence from the initial design and actual production to the selling of the finished goods. If used correctly, AI can be a game-changer for retailers operating in this space. For instance, when we speak about the design process, 3D technology has replaced traditional 2D sketches, allowing designers to create more realistic visualizations of their designs, thereby reducing the time and cost of creating physical prototypes.  AI-based trend analysis tools enable designers to predict future fashion trends, thereby reducing the risk of designing collections that may not be in demand. 

In my experience, this understanding can be further enhanced by knowing what your consumer exactly wants, beyond the trends. And yes! AI has a solution for that as well. Through the analysis of consumer data, designers can understand customers' demands and create designs that cater to their preferences. This enables fashion brands to personalize their designs and offer a more targeted experience. Another aspect that we didn’t think AI could penetrate was fabric selection, because it is the one aspect that needed human intervention in the past. Touching the fabric was critical to know if the quality was up to the mark in the olden days. But turns out that technological advancements can assist in this aspect as well. AI-powered tools can analyze fabric properties, including durability, texture, and elasticity, to help designers choose the best materials for their designs. This helps reduce waste in the production process by ensuring that designers select fabrics that will be used effectively and will work well. 

Moving on to the production aspect, the role of AI has only grown over the years. AI-powered tools can track production lines, optimizing the manufacturing process and reduce the time it takes to produce garments. By identifying inefficiencies in the production line, AI can help reduce waste and improve quality control, identifying defects that may incur. Machine learning algorithms can also predict demand for certain products, allowing manufacturers to adjust production accordingly and minimize overproduction. This reduces wastage and ensures that production is aligned with consumer demand. Additionally, AI-powered robots can be programmed to perform repetitive tasks, freeing up workers to focus on more complex tasks that require a human touch. 

AI has transformed the fashion industry, not just in terms of the production process, but also in improving the shopping experience for customers. With AI-powered systems, fashion brands can personalize the shopping experience, provide virtual try-ons, offer personalized product recommendations, and improve customer engagement. Virtual fitting is another innovative way in which AI is transforming the fashion industry's selling process. AI-powered tools can create virtual models of customers based on their body measurements and enable them to try on clothes virtually.

This technology helps customers choose the right size and fit of clothes, reducing the need for returns and improving customer satisfaction. There also exist tools that can help with categorization- organizing products into relevant categories, making it easier for customers to find what they're looking for. Offering personalized product recommendations is another innovation that has transformed the way the industry operates. By analyzing customer data such as purchase history, browsing behavior, and demographics, AI-powered systems can suggest products that are likely to be of interest to the customer. This improves customer engagement and increases the likelihood of a purchase. Moreover, AI-powered chatbots are helping customers with their queries and resolving issues in real time. Chatbots can provide 24/7 support, reducing the need for customers to wait for assistance. By leveraging natural language processing (NLP) technology, chatbots can understand customer queries and provide relevant answers, improving the customer experience.

Excitingly, marketing efforts can also be optimized through AI, with algorithms predicting which products are likely to sell well and which marketing channels will be most effective. By making the selling process more efficient and personalized, AI is revolutionizing the way consumers interact with the fashion industry, benefitting both retailers and customers alike.

 

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From Start-Up to Success: Why Technology isn’t Everything to Start or Scale a Brand
From Start-Up to Success: Why Technology isn’t Everything to Start or Scale a Brand
 

The idea that technology and software teams are essential for scaling a brand has been prevalent for quite some time. However, the reality is that these teams and technological infrastructure come with a significant upfront cost and could be time-consuming, expensive, and may not be feasible for all brands. However, to deal with all these challenges, there are advanced e-commerce platforms like Hyperinventory now, which can help brands scale without the need for a dedicated technology or software team.
 
Advanced e-commerce platforms provide brands with the tools they need to manage their online sales operations and scale themselves. These platforms are equipped with several useful features for brands such as multi-channel selling, enabling brands to sell their products across marketplaces, social media platforms, and their own website. Advanced e-commerce platforms also have robust inventory management capabilities, allowing brands to track inventory levels across all channels and automate reordering processes; along with order management features that streamline the fulfilment process, including order tracking, shipping label printing, and returns management. Furthermore, customisation, analytics and reporting are some of the other functions that the advanced e-commerce platforms offer to the brand helping them scale and grow.
 
With all the features in place, one of the biggest advantages of using advanced e-commerce platforms are the savings in upfront expenses. Installing and maintaining a technology-driven tool, while hiring and training a software team, can be an expensive proposition, not to mention the cost of investing in hardware and software infrastructure. By leveraging an advanced e-commerce platform, a brand can save a significant amount of money that can be better allocated towards other critical business needs.
 
Additionally, using an advanced e-commerce platform can reduce the time of experimentation, due to the fact that such platforms are equipped with all the necessary features and functionalities that a brand needs to scale without requiring extensive knowledge of technology or software development. For instance, the platform comes with built-in integrations for popular tools such as marketing automation, CRM, and analytics, which can further reduce the need for additional technology investments.
 
Perhaps the most significant advantage of using advanced e-commerce platforms is the knowledge and expertise of the provider of such platforms. With years of experience in developing e-commerce solutions for brands of all sizes, these platforms can provide the necessary support and guidance to ensure a brand's success. As a result, the brand does not require or does not have to depend on respective teams.
 
Furthermore, advanced e-commerce platforms are constantly updated with the latest features and functionalities to ensure that it remains at the forefront of e-commerce innovation. By relying on them, a brand can focus on building its reputation, extending its operations, and expanding its business. With the necessary technology and tools to scale, the brand can confidently pursue its growth objectives without worrying about the complexities of technology and software development.
 
As the world continues to shift towards e-commerce, brands need to have a strong online presence. While technology and software teams have traditionally been seen as necessary for scaling a brand, advanced e-commerce platforms are proving to be a viable alternative. By leveraging the expertise and knowledge of platform providers, brands can save upfront expenses and reduce the time of experimentation, allowing them to focus on their core competencies and growth objectives, without the need for dedicated technology or software teams.

 


 

 

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{Super SCM Makers} WOW Skin Science: IoT Transforming Supply Chain Management
{Super SCM Makers} WOW Skin Science: IoT Transforming Supply Chain Management
 

Kiran Kumar, VP - Supply Chain, WOW Skin Science stated that WOW Skin Science had always been a technologically driven company. Being a D2C brand and a lean organization, it relied heavily on technology to take the business forward. The same continues when it comes to supply chain management. One of the things that makes the system successful is advanced data analytics. Data is crucial for businesses; and in the supply chain system, the quantum of data could be overwhelming and difficult to decipher.

“AI, machine learning, and IoT will drive the next phase of development in supply chain management. One thing to watch out for is digital supply chain management with IoT. It will help businesses to automate processes and reduce labor costs. IoT-based supply chain will give an organization a real-time view of how the systems function and how the processes move,” he added.

Overcoming Supply Chain Issues

Changing consumer attitudes and the current volatility of the market are the two main challenges that WOW Skin Science faces in terms of SCM. Consumers have become highly demanding, and their preferences change almost on a daily basis. “We find that on some days, certain sets of products are in high demand, which can fall from consumer favor within a few weeks or even days. So, being extremely agile is important. We also focus a lot on customer relationship management,” he asserted.

 

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{Super SCM Makers} SUGAR Cosmetics: Utilizing Inventory Forecasting
{Super SCM Makers} SUGAR Cosmetics: Utilizing Inventory Forecasting
 

Suchit Sikaria, Chief Business Officer (D2C), SUGAR Cosmetics said that an effective supply chain is essential for the beauty sector to maintain a competitive edge and effectively manage retailer demands while also overcoming the numerous supply and demand-related issues. SUGAR has recently adopted a new technology that is used by brands like Amazon in their warehouses. This technology speeds up the process of in-warding, storing stock, and keeping track of the stock available, considerably.

“This year will be a crucial one for all retailers as they work to keep on top of the delivery and supply chain trends. At SUGAR, our primary goal is to keep up with our omnichannel approach, while also evolving and experimenting with new technology. Some of the key upcoming supply chain trends that we will see would be digital transformation adapting new technology, diversification of delivery partners, and forecasting inventory and delivery needs,” she highlighted.

Maintaining Efficiency

The supply chain is a crucial part of any business. Here are some of the key practices that have helped SUGAR maintain efficiency and serve its customers. 

Structuring a Proper Supply Chain – For the smooth functioning of the Supply Chain, a company needs to have a solid structure in place that acts as the foundation for future processes.

Efficient Teams to Forecast Demand – Forecasting demand is essential for companies to make sure that their warehouses are stocked accurately.

Optimal Utilization of Technology – Using technology in supply chain management can give the brands a competitive advantage over others in their industry.

 

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{Super SCM Makers} IKEA India: The Digitization of Supply Chain
{Super SCM Makers} IKEA India: The Digitization of Supply Chain
 

Saiba Suri, Country Customer Fulfilment Manager, IKEA India highlighted that since innovation is the key to success in SCM, digitalized technologies like computing and machine learning, the Internet of Things, robot process automation, and augmented reality were soon going to enable the next phase of supply chain trends. Companies who were looking for new engineered solutions would require full-cycle supply chain management, execution, predictive analysis, and data analysis.

“We at IKEA are integrating advanced technology solutions like Demand Sensing and acting with agility and flexibility. Through adapting supply chain technologies, there is a two-way benefit – both for us and our consumers. We are effectively working on reducing lead time, cost efficiency, and better product availability, thus creating happy customers,” she explained.

Tackling SCM Challenges

Suri stated some of the challenges that were faced in supply chain management:

Securing the Right Demand Forecast in a Dynamically Changing Environment: Demand forecasting was pivotal in developing strategic and operational strategies, and therefore, crucial for the supply chain. It needed to be considered as the beginning point for the majority of supply chain operations, including manufacturing, purchasing, inbound logistics, cash flow, and raw material planning. It also served as the underlying premise for strategic business activities. IKEA was doing this by integrating advanced technology solutions as highlighted above.

Securing Capacities and Maintaining Cost While Managing Variations: The brand closely monitored trends of shipping lines along with checking carrier and container capacities as an integral part of managing variation in the business. Working closely with partners to secure slots and manage last-mile capacities while focusing on sustainable delivery options helped the brand with securing capabilities and cost management.

Long and Erratic Lead Times: With a well-considered localization plan, IKEA is expanding its local sourcing share to save lead times and costs, as well as providing opportunities for the local population. This also aided in cost reduction since it eliminated import and shipping charges.

Reverse Flow: By rethinking and closely monitoring procedures, as well as cooperating closely with its last-mile service providers to assist initiate quicker reimbursements, IKEA has engineered its systems to run on a faster return cycle.

“We use technology to support orchestrations of orders, order communication enhancements, picking and capacity enhancements, and communication with our service providers. Omnichannel gives us a tailored, customer-centric experience across all the various devices and channels, with a primary focus on the consumer. Delivering consumer value, not a channel-based approach is omnichannel’s core goal,” she concluded.

 

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{Super SCM Makers} Plum: Data-Driven Supply Chain
{Super SCM Makers} Plum: Data-Driven Supply Chain
 

Sankaranarayanan Alagappan, Chief Supply Chain Officer, Pureplay Skin Sciences Pvt Ltd asserted that digitization was the need of the hour, and D2C selling was not an exception. With logistics SaaS solutions such as route optimization, fleet management tools, and last-mile visibility tools, supply chains could plan delivery networks and routes optimally, reduce costs, build greater visibility in the supply chain, and automate manual processes such as dispatch planning and carrier allocation. 

“The new ground reality also demands companies to be prepared for different scenarios and challenges in business. Logistics SaaS tools can enable businesses to come up with optimal game plans that can tackle these challenges efficiently. Whether planning to expand D2C operations or trying to optimize existing D2C operations, it’s essential to consider implementing intelligent logistics tech in your D2C supply chain to gain a competitive advantage while fulfilling customer expectations effectively,” he explained.

Data: A Game Changer

He further stated that Data Tech was extremely crucial for logistics, especially for D2C brands and e-commerce platforms since a good chunk of orders were likely to return in the Cash on Delivery (COD) space. Plum has leveraged tech to track orders once they leave their fulfillment centers till they are delivered by its logistic service providers.

“The biggest way in which we have leveraged technology is to reduce our logistics cost by obtaining double confirmation from the COD customer on whether he/she is willing to accept the order or not, via an OTP-based confirmation. This has enabled our organization to reduce the Return to Origin (RTO) percent and save the logistics cost that goes into order returns,” concluded Alagappan.

 

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{Super SCM Makers} Ekart: Tech Shaping Next-Gen Supply Chains
{Super SCM Makers} Ekart: Tech Shaping Next-Gen Supply Chains
 

Mani Bhushan, Chief Business Officer, Ekart asserted that technology is leading the narrative and influencing business decisions now, more than ever. Technological investments in supply chains are likely to accelerate even more, and demand for new technology solutions to streamline operations is increasing steadily. “With supply chain businesses actively striving for greater digital integration, the emphasis is on capacity building to establish an efficient network that will aid in the development of a more robust logistics ecosystem,” he explained.

To briefly name a few trends that he is currently witnessing:

  • Investment in technologies that aid in greater transparency across the value chain
  • Accessing real-time data for better forecasting
  • Sustainability to have a larger impact on business operations
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) run business operations and real-time tracking to help optimize processes and reduce the chance of errors, increasing efficiency and customer-value
  • Warehousing gaining momentum

Deploying Tech in Operations

Ekart is leveraging technology to optimize its entire supply chain – from route optimization for the quickest transit of the cargo across the country to the best last-mile delivery route planning within the city. It has developed an ‘Address Intelligence stack’ that helps improve the address quality with auto-suggestions and prompts for incorrect addresses at checkout and raises alerts to the shipper regarding any address issues, thereby improving the customer experience and helping reduce costs. The intelligent address stack identifies orders with RTO/ fraudulent history and automatically revokes COD options. On the other side of the value chain, the address stack helps prevent any fake updates.

“Overall, process improvement driven by analytics is at the forefront of improving customer experience and reducing unit costs, and we constantly innovate to provide our customers with best-in-class solutions,” noted Bhushan.

Overcoming Supply Chain Issues

An efficient supply chain and logistics network is required to acquire items from thousands of vendors, optimize inventory management, and assure timely delivery – it becomes one of the key challenges while catering to a broad consumer market like India. In order to meet these challenges, Ekart has significantly invested in its transport management system. India-specific mapping technology helps keep track of its trucks in real-time even when they are in remote villages.

“This enables us to tell with pinpoint precision as to when a truck covering thousands of miles will arrive at its destination. We are also optimizing our warehousing infrastructure by increasing capacity utilization of our facilities,” he added.

 

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{Super SCM Makers} VAHDAM India: Tech Advancement: A Big Differentiator in Supply Chain
{Super SCM Makers} VAHDAM India: Tech Advancement: A Big Differentiator in Supply Chain
 

Amlan Mukherjee, Chief Supply Chain Officer, VAHDAM India maintained that the COVID-19 pandemic and its after-effects had created a paradigm shift in the way the brands looked at the supply chain. From an enabling function, it has been catapulted to a clear competitive advantage. There are various trends emerging in the supply chain, however, as per him, below are the three most important ones in 2023:

- Operations should be resilient and agile. Organizations that are flexible to adapt to changes in global trade flows, climatic changes, and new regulations will be able to maintain stability and high levels of service

- Technological advancement is going to be a big differentiator in the supply chain. Early movers will be able to create a competitive advantage by having a more efficient operation. But this is a journey, in a new and fast-growing organization like VAHDAM, the key would be first having the right data sets.

- In a food manufacturing organization, the right quality and a sustainable operation would be an important focus area. Consumers are becoming increasingly aware and are ready to pay even a premium for the same. There is an increased effort globally to reduce the environmental impacts of the supply chain.

“The extensive adoption of IOT and robotics, etc, by the logistics is helping improve the overall customer experience. The consumer is more aware today and the farm-to-fork traceability will be of utmost importance going forward,” he mentioned.

 

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{Super SCM Makers} Dabur India: Driving Supply Chain Automation
{Super SCM Makers} Dabur India: Driving Supply Chain Automation
 

Samrat Sehgal, Head, Supply Chain, Dabur India Ltd highlighted three practices that Dabur India has adopted to maintain an efficient supply chain. These include:

Shifting from Forecast to Replenishment Planning: Replenishment planning takes you away from forecast and it only indicates how many more products are needed in order to meet customer demand. In other words, it is the process of fulfilling or re-ordering products that are low or out-of-stock. The purpose of replenishment is to ensure that a retailer has the right quantity of product, at the right location, and at the right time to maximize sales and minimize costs.

Increased Automation in Warehousing: Increasing automation in warehouses/manufacturing units means, including all the software, hardware, and other automation-based processes to automate warehouse tasks for improved efficiency and accuracy and support the workers. It helps warehouses increase productivity, reduce labor costs, improve safety, more efficient use of materials, better product quality, shorter workweeks for labor, etc.

Focus on Total Cost of Delivery: TDC comprises aggregate cost associated with raw material sourcing, conversion of materials into finished goods, and delivery of finished goods to customers.  To understand the total cost involved, Dabur focuses on the total delivered cost (TDC), the complete cost of sourcing, producing, and delivering products to customers.

“Supply chain can become a competitive advantage for the organization through adoption of technology. It is helping organizations by increasing visibility, driving automation, and improving decision making. This will result in an agile and efficient supply chain,” said Sehgal.

Enhancing Supply Chain Capabilities

Over the last few years, the world has witnessed how technology has played an important role across sectors. With time, Dabur India has also focused on Enhancing Automation, from production to the consumer end. It is also constantly focusing on increasing the visibility in the supply chain to keep an eye on the status of goods to improve customer service and cost controls, limiting disruptions and risk mitigation.

“In supply chain under business continuity planning, we ensure uninterrupted flow of products and services from suppliers to customers within a time frame to safeguard different interests related to the product, along with being the readiness to maintain critical functions after an emergency or disruption, so that it does not affect both the parties – from manufacturer to consumer,” he added.

 

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