For homegrown beauty D2C brand Organic Riot, the lockdown not only meant a freeze on sales for weeks, but even when things resumed, the startup had to revisit an important component in its manufacturing chain. Given the pandemic, its own warehouses had to be shuttered thanks to employee safety concerns and therefore the incontrovertible fact that achieving operational safety under the lockdown rules was cost-intensive.
“We took the decision of moving all our warehousing with a corporation like WareIQ as we knew they took many precaution and safety in packing and fulfilment. This was great as we could then have warehouses everywhere the country via WareIQ and even be sure that there would be enough safety and precaution taken,” Siddharth Somaiya, founder and director of the D2C brand, told us.
It’s an equivalent story for many of India’s D2C brands — fulfilment through warehouses and third-party logistics tech have proven to be an economical option especially as demand has spread and grown. On-time delivery and being on the brink of the last-mile are critical pieces of the D2C game now, even within the hinterlands. These are the items that the majority ecommerce startups would think Indians don’t care about, but with the changing market and therefore the growing traction for online selling, the cream of the Indian consumer base has evolved too.
Given that most D2C brands are competing on tight margins and slim differentiation, the proper customer experience from ordering to on-time delivery may be a crucial competitive edge. And this is often all the more critical in these times with festive sales going full steam ahead.
Next-day delivery, priority shipping, returns and exchanges — ecommerce during the festive season is more about the fulfillment and delivery than pricing or maybe stock-keeping. With the pandemic creating greater demand for ecommerce, especially during the festive season, warehouse management and fulfillment centres became a key success factor for online retailers who don’t have the deep resources to match the size of Amazons and Flipkarts of the planet .
Beyond ecommerce, even in traditional areas of bulk commodity warehousing, businesses are adopting tech enabled digital solutions to stay their processes running.
Safety Concerns As Covid Brings In Customers
When the country went into lockdown in March and for weeks after it emerged from multiple lockdowns, the availability chain and warehouse ecosystem bore the brunt of pent up consumer demand. Most of those businesses, including those handling foodgrain supply, had to mobilise solutions against all odds to stay the state fed.