When Amazon expanded from just an online book store to the biggest online store offering everything you can imagine, superstores in the US were startled by the rapid growth of eCommerce.
AliExpress experienced mushroom growth and changed the way online shopping is done across China and all across Asia.
And in India Flipkart’s powerful background and trust of millions is giving Amazon India a good run for their money.
In the Middle East, online shopping is showing ever-increasing numbers.
Amazing numbers shared by Bain & Company suggest that eCommerce business in the UAE will grow 31% annually and reach $9 billion by 2022.
At the moment UAE ranks 33rd when it comes to the size of the e-commerce market on a global level. And UAE’s annual online spend per-capita is around $300 higher than India.
Also, a point to note is that right after China and India, UAE has emerged as a leading player in the logistics sector as well.
“The aggressive growth of the e-commerce market in the UAE increases demand for professionally qualified logistics service providers to meet the logistics requirements of their customers,” said Shailesh Dash, chairman of Gulf Pinnacle Logistics.
Combine these facts and what you get is highly positive and exciting times ahead for the UAE. With 80% of the UAE population shopping online and the rise of e-tailers like Carrefour, Lulu, Noon, Namshi, Ounass, and Amazon.ae (formerly Souq.com) is estimated to bring a whopping $27.1 billion revenues by the year 2022.
The eCommerce titans have realized that there is a strong bond between success and efficient logistics system. Hence, eCommerce goliaths are starting to acquire state-of-the-art logistics to ensure timely, speedy delivery to customers.
While we are contemplating on the topic of logistics, here are some nuggets of wisdom that will help you in managing your e-commerce and associated logistics activities in a far efficient way.
There is nothing more agonizing than ordering a product online and then being told that the product is out of stock. Such an experience will leave a negative impression on the customer about your online store.
To build and retain customers’ trust in your e-store, it is necessary to find a solution to this problem. If you are starting, you can manually check for stocks and examine the remaining items while ordering the finished products.
But as your operations expand and your wallet fattens, you should leverage the power of AI to manage and maximize the output of your supply chain. How?
Robotics will help in locating or moving inventory in the warehouse. Big data helps in forecasting accurately and ways to maximize results.
Computer vision will help you to literally keep an eye on the product’s inventory by processing their images and videos in real-time. And when it’s about to go out of stock the system will automatically order the product.
Autonomous delivery vehicles being part of a massive IoT network communicate with the inventory management system to deliver the finished products/raw material to their desired destination without human intervention.
The success of a virtual business depends upon the meeting the delivery deadline. A delay of just one day can upset the customer. Imagine ordering your favorite hiking shoes online.
How would you feel if you experience a delay in delivery?
I’m sure you would not like this at all if you have to hit the road for your outdoor vaca-time.
In another scenario, how would an early delivery make you feel?
Delighted is the only word I can conjure up.
An e-commerce business is all about providing a delightful experience to the customer and in this case delivering early can be the only source of delight.
One thing that Amazon does is that most of the products customers want are present in warehouses 90 miles near the customers.
What this does is that not only it speeds up the delivery times but also reduce the costs. Having said that it also increases the storage cost.
So, you as a business have to find an ingenious way to balance these elements of logistics to get the best value to the customer while reducing your costs.
It’s all the value that you’re offering. The more valuable your offering (product + prompt delivery)the more customers will favor you over your rivals.
Order an ordinary product from a successful store and examine the packaging. I am sure it will amaze you. The amount of time and effort successful e-commerce retailers put in packaging the product is amazing to see.
Have you ever wondered why they put so much emphasis on this aspect?
Answer: Packaging is the first thing customers interact with at the time of purchasing your product. And it leaves a very subtle yet decision-altering impression on the mind of the customer.
That’s why businesses put great importance on developing packaging that positively influences the customers. What it does is that it lures customers into either making the purchase or fostering a strong impression of the brand.
From aesthetics for instant attraction to employing tech like RFID for real-time tracking/monitoring and using biodegradable material to preserve the environment, there are myriad ways to boost ROI via packaging.
Customers today are favoring companies that have built their businesses around sustainable tech. So, if you manage to employ sustainable tech to produce and package your products chances are high that you’ll be able to carve a niche for yourself.
One of the reasons some customers are apprehensive of online shopping is the exchange and return policies if online retailers.
What if the Wilson tennis racket I ordered is broken? What if the blouse is ripped in Zara’s warehouse and delivered to me? These are genuine concerns and deter customers from purchasing online.
The e-tailers should be prepared for problems like these. Call it reverse logistics, the possibility of returning the goods, exchanging or even returning the goods should be accessible, so that the customer is satisfied with the experience of re-purchase.
In Europe, every customer can claim the return of the product, and the product gets returned within 14 business days. To avoid annoying the customers, it is wise to have a clear exchange & return policies on your e-store that should have a non-exhaustive list of following items:
Whenever you’re crafting a policy always look at things from a customer’s point of view. This way you won’t have to face a ton of disgruntled customers as most of their concerns might’ve been addressed.
Policies are made to help people. So, retailers can always revisit the policy to delight the customers in ways that doesn’t hurt the business.
An estimated $51 billion of eCommerce sales were registered across the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia in 2017, according to new research launched by Dubai Commer City.
The eCommerce business in the UAE teeming with a ton of opportunities for supporting businesses. Logistics is one of those sectors that will gain the most from this growth.
Now is the time for new players in both eCommerce and logistics industries to get their act together and pounce on their share of the hunt.
The earlier you establish yourself in the game the more profits and customers you’ll rake in. So, stop playing the waiting game and jump right in.
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