The Accelerating Growth Of E-Commerce In India

Abhijit Butala, Director Engineering, Marmon Food and BeverageA seasoned Leader with 20+ Yrs. of experience in Project management and Global Program Management of complex NPIs / NPDs / Design Management projects in domains such as Automotive, Industrial pumps, Semiconductor Equipment, Food & Beverage equipment and Tier I OEMs across the Globe

A few years back in India every family either from a big or a small town had their preferred shops near their residence to meet their grocery needs. Most of them used to buy the monthly grocery at one time rather than buying small quantities. Slowly these small groceries were replaced by ‘Super markets' and the ‘Organized retail chains' in the Tier I and II cities. However, the shopping pattern was mostly the same. It was a bit advanced as orders were taken over phone and home deliveries reduced the burden of the customers The Game Changer And then a boom came with e-Commerce companies. In a short span of time, these companies created a large customer base by offering the discounted prices quick deliveries and easy replacement. Off course these parameters helped them to grow the business however the biggest contributor was the convenience that was offered to the customers. One could order what they need from any location with a simple click. This was the revolutionary phase in Indian consumer market. The availability of internet at higher speeds and better rates added further penetration of these e-Commerce businesses and their products. This growth of e-Commerce is now gaining momentum even in groceries. Big giants in e-Commerce have started selling groceries through their portals.

Though there are different opinions in the society that probably this growth of e-Commerce organizations (especially in groceries) will
adversely impact the mom and pop shops whereas few says that it will keep their business alive. Without going into that debate, we need to recognize one definite thing and that is the technological growth. Right from front end of ‘ordering portals' to back end of managing such a huge logistics need advanced technologies which will improve efficiencies and accuracies in deliveries while keeping the overheads to minimum.

This is a great phase for the Indian technology companies (or individual freelancers) to provide the smart solutions to these organizations. Creating user friendly and attractive websites and Mobile apps, integrating secure and safe payment gateways is just a beginning. Handling these orders and effectively managing the ware houses is the next steps. Technology can really play a big role in the backend management. The smart shopping carts can help the staff to select the goods from the right racks while processing any specific order. It can also be extended to the next level, where the smart cart can define the best and most efficient route to be followed by the warehouse staff member while picking the goods from the warehouse. This will save time for the staff member and he/she can close more number of orders per day resulting into faster deliveries to the end customer. Order management of the warehouse can be simplified by using IoT technology(Internet of Things) to take a stock of goods and push orders to their suppliers automatically. This is none other than the Kanban system used in manufacturing plants in a more advanced way and at massive scale to reduce laborious work of keeping stocks.

Right from front end of 'ordering portals' to back end of managing such a hugelogistics need advanced technologies which will improve efficiencies and accuracies in deliveries while keeping the overheads to minimum

Digitalization a Boon
These online orders and deliveries will generate immense data. One will need good data analytics to analyze this data and define trends based on the ordering patterns of their consumers. This data analysis opens for further avenues and more business opportunities. Based on the trends the ware house can define the stock quantities for various types of goods. Warehouse can also design their layouts and locations for certain items based on fast moving v/s slow moving trends. This will be a continuous improvement process to improve efficiencies.

Technology helps for dispatch and deliveries. Few of the e-Commerce companies have tried using Drones to deliver the orders. Off course it is at the preliminary stage and it might take some time to be implemented in India due to other concerns over safety and security. However, India is not so far from other technologies(If not Drone) which will support the delivery system.