How technology will enable e-commerce sector to spread its wings in 2022?


How technology will enable e-commerce sector to spread its wings in 2022?

During the global lockdown, consumers shifted completely online for purchasing goods as a result of which e-commerce companies had to invest in digital marketing and e-commerce channels. Now with intense competition in the sector, e-commerce companies have to play with rapidly emerging technologies and adapt the following trends in 2022.

Technology-enabled micro warehouses and demand for 3PL, 4PL services
Small warehouse spaces that move inventory closer to the customer are known as micro warehouses. Usually found in densely populated areas, these micro warehouses ensure smooth and fast last-mile logistics for same-day and next day deliveries. There is also hyperlocal deliveries which is a blessing for local retailers as it enables them to get maximum results from minimum efforts. The hyperlocal model offers smooth omni-channel experiences like in-person interaction, or communication through a website or app, click-to-call for delivery at home and click-to-collect at the store.

Apart from micro warehouses, demand for technology enabled third party logistics (3PL) and fourth-party logistics (4PL) will also be trending in 2022 due to the remarkable rise of e-commerce. 3PL and 4PL have several benefits like being cost-efficient and ensuring faster deliveries. Allied Market Research reports that the global 3PL market will reach $1.1 trillion over the next six years.

Further, 3PL companies offering warehouses in multiple locations will witness more demand as that will lead to streamlined last-mile logistics.

Smart supply chain optimization will be a game changer
E-commerce companies face several challenges with supply chain management and unnecessarily lose money due to poorly timed deliveries. Even though companies cannot control what happens on a grander scale and might have to succumb to delays and increased rates, at a company level they can optimize the supply chain and bring down the ETA of deliveries and enhance customer experience through smart supply change optimization

As per Invesp, 57% of businesses do not have decent visibility across supply chains. While companies cannot foresee the challenges across delivery routes and upgrade their shipping processes, customers are left clueless about the ETA of their products and sometimes have to wait for their products longer than the promised time.

Therefore, In 2022, warehouse optimization, execution of supply chain management software, and growth of the companies’ supply chains will be a necessity for every e-commerce company.

Direct to consumer approach to tell your story
Traditionally, most MSMEs in India have business models which were unable to cater to the evolving needs of the consumer, especially after the pandemic. Studies have shown that MSMEs that have gone direct-to-consumer (D2C) have seen small-mediums grow by 30 per cent with the help of 3PL and 4PL services.

Even though Amazon is a savior for most e-commerce companies, the gigantic platform doesn’t exactly allow you to spell out your story and the features of your products. If you turn the website your primary distribution channel, you will be able to narrate stories, increase your brand visibility and describe your product’s value.

Your passion will be reflected through your website which is the face of your business. A carefully planned marketing strategy through influencer marketing, organising events on Facebook and growing brand awareness through Instagram would help to tell your story to a wider audience. All these resources would have been difficult to use if you get lost in the endless maze of Amazon listings.

Omnichannel strategy to grow connections
Omnichannel retail entails distributing goods over diverse channels like brick-and-mortar stores, marketplaces and of course social media. Omnichannel strategies help in product visibility over the Internet and ensure 80% more incremental store visits.

Thus, even though you start with Amazon, make sure to switch to other channels as well to increase your revenue. It not only helps in financial payback but also enables increased brand awareness. According to eMarketer “Forecasters expect multichannel sales to make up close to 46% of all ecommerce sales by 2023, up from 40.3% in 2019. That said, non-store retailers will still dominate over 54% of the market, with sales approaching $687 billion”

AR will facilitate customer experiences
Amidst the global lockdown, businesses need to offer their clients in-store experiences to attract new customers and retain the existing ones. Augmented reality is one of the important e-commerce trends of 2022 as it pushes buyers towards an informed buying decision without them having to leave the comfort of their homes.

IKEA, for instance, has built an AP application that enables its customers to use furniture and other interior products in their own homes. It’s not enough for just large brands to have the capacity to develop and implement customized AR solutions, it is also important to develop cost-effective AR solutions for small and medium-sized brands to create a level playing field for them to increase sales and enhance customer experience.

E-commerce businesses need to ensure that they utilize AR and help their customers to preview products on their phones or tablets in a manner as if they are touching and using them. For example, if you sell shoes, then you can develop an AR app to precisely measure the customer’s feet and help them become decisive about their purchasing decision.

With the increasing trend of online shopping, the future of the ecommerce industry looks bright. However, to remain productive and competitive, e-commerce businesses need to upgrade their services with rapidly evolving technology coupled with the finest logistics and supply chain services.

— Ashish Chadha, Co-founder and CEO, APAC, XPDEL.
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