Amidst the Coronavirus outbreak, the survival of businesses has become the top priority and everything else right from strategizing growth or increasing presence in the market has taken a back seat at the moment.
Affected services may take some time to get back to the normal cycle of business even after the lockdown period is over, however, it is evident that the graph will rise once people are back to their daily routines, not being restricted to stay home anymore. And to strategize around such possible behaviour of consumers becomes highly important.
Road to Recovery for eCommerce and Retail Industry Through Automation
It is normal for you to look for answers on how to proceed once the lockdown is over and we at Unicommerce have constantly been monitoring the situation, taking updates on all new establishments, figuring out ways by which SMEs, brands and e-commerce retailers can cope up with the effects and today we are here with 4 key strategies for you to effectively plan out a future roadmap of your business.
1. Full Automation for Supply Chain Operations
Complete automation of supply chain operations has always been a top priority for most businesses to speed up processes and reach exponential growth, but now it has turned into a necessity.
The most important aspect of getting e-commerce businesses back on track will be strengthening of your warehouse and logistics processes. Automation of warehouse operations and real-time updates of the delivery progress helps companies focus on rapid actions ensuring there are no cases of out-of-stock items or delayed deliveries.
Constant checks on stock-keeping units, SKUs, maintenance and uninterrupted order processing are all positive aspects of onboarding automation. Delivery of items, all the way to the last mile can be done by implementing specific logistics guidelines, which include technological driven support such as live updates and efficient tracking of products, delivery through drones managed by a team sitting remotely at various locations and turning inventory systems digital.
As ‘contactless deliveries’ have become quite the trend and a rather important practice to ensure the safety of both employees and customers, enabling doorstep deliveries will ensure happy customer experience along with loyalty attached to the brand. This could be achieved via integrating with high-end logistics partners that ensure efficient management of orders and deliveries will prove beneficial.
2. Focus on Shifting to Omnichannel Commerce
Omnichannel retail commerce, although new to the Indian market, has now gained traction and continues to be adopted by major brands and businesses. The lockdown phase could not have made a better case for this method to be implemented as increased demand for essential goods and services can be dealt with, only when you have a presence not only at a single platform but everywhere possible.
Prior to the lockdown, the eCommerce volumes in India have seen a 51% increase in the overall consumption, making it the highest amongst other geographies around the globe in terms of online shopping. A smartphone in every hand, with hundreds of platforms to buy from, all contributed to this huge flow of demand and consumer growth was seen throughout this time making it more critical for businesses to practice omnichannel presence to ensure a consistent approach to manage orders, inventory and retail stores post the lockdown period.
The brands that implement omnichannel retail solutions have not only seen an increase in sales, but ensure that the hyperlocal delivery model enables enhanced customer experience leading to higher brand loyalty.
3. Diversifying Supply Sources and Right Stock Prioritization for Dispatches
Halt in services has caused piled up stocks in warehouses and manufacturing plants and these stocks will need first attention as soon as operations go back to normal once the lockdown is over. To restrict having dead stocks it’ll be viable to prioritize stocks as per their date of expiration which will help in a regular order processing cycle.
Apart from that, the negative of having only a single source for supplies has resulted in stock outs for the demanded services as well, and so focusing on finding multiple sources of supply will enable you to handle situations like these in a better way in the future.
For you to be able to meet demands, keeping multiple sources to collect stocks from and moving them fast before they expire (especially for FMCG, Cosmetics and Pharma industry) can help you maintain uninterrupted services.
Getting back on track, consumer’s demand will increase gradually and once that happens you will need to be all ready and updated with all your stocks to avoid any further delays. Thus, it is imperative that the warehouse management solution that you implement should provide technologically advanced features such as Batching, FIFO and Cycle Count to ensure that your warehouse operations will run smoothly and restrict any more interruptions in your business.
4. Increase your Customer Services & Enhance Customer Experience
In these times, personalization is key. Each and every customer needs to feel that they are heard and can reach out to your business with all their issues. Customer care support has been a part of organizations for long but the change in dynamics caused by social distancing and people being locked up in their homes, the burden increases as customers would have a lot of time in their hands to register their concerns, and your lack of connection can prove fatal.
Brands need to incorporate strategies that will help them create a strong social presence and focus on developing products and services based on consumer requirements. The customer care systems will need to incorporate a deep and highly integrated backend system and this will be possible by introducing ERPs/CRMs that are deeply integrated with order and warehouse management systems (WMS) to ensure real-time communication with consumers and drive focus to what services are highly required from your end to the consumer. These practices will not only save your business but help it venture into better business opportunities.
Getting back on track will surely take time, but with the right tools and solutions by your side and a well-planned strategy plan to lead entire supply chain operations will help you build up slowly but steadily.
Unicommerce has pledged to stand by all the MSMEs and brands to help them focus on building up while being the one-stop technology solution for all their business requirements.
Your business should be able to focus on building up operations post the lockdown is over and the solutions provided by Unicommerce including inventory management software, warehouse management and order management, which can be easily integrated with any ERP/CRM seamlessly (currently integrated with 100+ partners) to ensure that you have complete visibility of your business operations all from a single unified platform can prove to be highly dependable.