The E-commerce Boom and Supply Chain Trends in 2021
The E-commerce Boom and Supply Chain Trends in 2021

E-commerce has come a long way since last year. The way the world consumes has now shifted in favor of the minimum-risk and minimum-exposure advantage of online shopping. 

The Indian marketplace too has seen a similar shift towards e-commerce, away from regular retail stores. And it has seen this in its sheer strength of product handling and delivery. What makes product handling and timely delivery possible is good logistics; logistics and e-commerce go hand-in-hand. To improve efficiencies, to meet increased consumer demand and expectations, logistics is seeing new advances in technology. Automation, greater competitiveness, and several other macroeconomic and political factors, together are shaping the future landscape of logistics and e-commerce. 

Customer Expectations
As the e-commerce space evolves, expectations of the customer in terms of what they want along with when, where, and how they want it - are only set to evolve and intensify further. The supply chain plays a key role in meeting this evolving consumer demand. 
Though India has for long faced the issue of a poor and underdeveloped supply chain infrastructure, the logistics and supply chain market in the country is expected to touch $307 billion by the end of 2021, while at the same time growing to meet online consumer demand.  
 Tech-driven logistics is coming of age in India. It has become an integral part of supply chain trends seen in 2021. E-commerce logistics is moving towards the inclusion of several supply chains, unlike a single one, that most brands have at the moment. This is due to the increasing demand for personalized products and the shortening of product delivery cycles.  
An exceptional online retail experience awaits consumers when an efficient system becomes a priority across the marketplace. This is true of an omnichannel retailer or even a pure-play e-commerce platform. An efficient system translates to on-time inbound products and materials, decreasing warehousing time which means effective management of labor and improved delivery processing. 
Looking Ahead

The current e-commerce boom has led to many businesses recalibrating their strategy. An efficient supply chain ecosystem is now seen as a valuable investment by the players in the e-commerce market.  
A 2020 report on e-commerce trends by NASSCOM identifies a distributed order management system, warehouse management system, and last-mile delivery, as processes in the supply chain ecosystem that must work in sync to deliver a product to the consumer. 

The report also said that post-COVID-19, the percentage of self-shipped orders declined from 35 percent in February 2020 to 30 percent in June 2020. NASSCOM attributed this to brands trusting marketplace logistics due to better service levels and lower unpredictability during current uncertain times. 
E-commerce platforms are doing all they can to maintain service levels and meet other challenges. Cloud-based e-commerce platforms are slated to be the next big thing. They will be able to take on the challenges of scalability and fuel brand expansion possibilities, with ease. 
As supply adapts to fit in the new wave of e-commerce both logistics and warehousing are under the spotlight after years of being the invisible force behind retail. As the last mile becomes an important aspect of retail and consumers demand faster shipment times and greater visibility, all eyes are on the supply chain management and logistics sector; which has to swiftly adapt to new processes.

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