2020 was a monumental year in many ways, without a doubt. For instance, India’s vastness was showcased by nearly 700 million people actively using the Internet and this number has been projected to cross 970 million by 2025. This makes India the second-largest country in terms of internet users, as per reports by Statista. A part of this fast-tracked growth in users can be attributed to the pandemic, which triggered the remote working norm. In blink of an eye, people started spending more time with their smart-phones and laptops than with their close friends and family. Suddenly, everybody wanted to mitigate the fears of the novel coronavirus.
Consequently, online shopping became a popular trend as consumers’ trepidation sky-rocketed towards the external environment.
2020 was a year of major disruption for India’s Direct to Consumer (D2C) sector. This express growth of the e-commerce sector is an ideal example of how both the customers and the merchants are embracing digitization and online selling. Here are some of the top trends in the Direct to Consumer (D2C) sector to watch out for, this new year.
For retailers looking to grow their business in today’s fast-paced world, adopting an omnichannel strategy is the best course of action. The need of the hour is to provide a multi-channel approach (online shopping through mobile phone, computer, or a physical store) to the consumer, at the same time without ever compromising the fluidity of the user experience. To that end, the D2C sector has witnessed a rapid increase in players adopting omnichannel models that include video-based shopping and social commerce. The coming year will see more and more companies investing in omnichannel strategies, with an increased number of sellers partnering with third-party providers for operational efficiency.
2021 is expected to see a major surge in customized products/ services in the D2C sector.
Today, for a merchant, making the customer feel special and pampered means driving their business an extra mile towards growth. Customers expect tailor-made products and conversational services that are best-suited to their requirements and make them feel valued. Therefore, going forward, the D2C players will have to keep this in mind when re-aligning their business strategies.
Tech-Enabled Services: Automated Warehouses and Chatbots
New-age technologies such as AI, ML, Blockchain, and Data Analytics are now being leveraged increasingly by brands/ sellers for increased optimization of services. Features such as warehouse automation, chatbots, and other virtual assistants are expected to be increasingly utilized for assistance to enable the growth of this sector.
Automated warehouse management with cutting-edge technology will ensure streamlined order picking, hassle-free inventory storage, and a smooth shipping experience. On the other hand, chatbots and virtual assistants will propel a humanized customer experience by addressing the queries in a conversational fashion. The more tech-enabled a business will become, the more time and money will be conserved by the seller.
Last-Mile and Hyperlocal Deliveries
At a time when the D2C sector is registering unprecedented growth, players in the industry have woken up to the fact that the last-mile is one of the most crucial touch-points between their business and their customers. D2C brands are now embracing technological tools to facilitate route-mapping, boost productivity, and reduce turnaround time. Apart from this, another popularizing trend is the hyperlocal delivery, which has become immensely popular in recent years. The COVID-19 pandemic and the consequent movement restriction of goods announced by the GOI during the national lockdown, only furthered this progress, if anything.
The revolution that began in the D2C sector in 2020 is expected to perpetuate in 2021. We’re already witnessing countless brands strengthening their infrastructure and services to make the most out of the ongoing scenario. India’s e-commerce segment is projected to reach US$ 99 billion by 2024 and we can safely say that the D2C segment will lead this passage.