By Saahil Goel
The grand Indian growth story can be best told by stating a simple fact. Today, stock markets are trading at their all-time highs, going beyond their previous records in a matter of days rather than months and years, as they did previously. Obviously, logistics operations have a crucial role to play in this rapidly burgeoning market. The logistics sector is the lifeline of any country, after all!
The best part is that all of this is happening around New Year, making everyone from investors to market players all the more excited about it. So, let us have a look at what are the top emerging trends within the Logistics Sector:
- An Increase in Demand for Omnichannel Logistics Platforms:
India has become quite attractive for global investors because of its environment of innovation and entrepreneurship. Evolving entrepreneurship trends, including e-tailing, are calling out for omnipresent logistics platforms, i.e. service providers with end-to-end logistics solutions. Today’s digital users (netizens) are in ten places at once, switching from Facebook to Instagram to Email and then to some other online platform. They have a fleeting attention span and want to do everything at once.
Omnichannel Logistics Platforms will help manage multiple aspects of an eCommerce player like synchronizing distribution, inventory, and logistics across all sales channels to meet consumer demand. Hence, bringing efficiency into the overall logistical operations – a trend that is bound to further drive entrepreneurship in India.
- The Rise of Subscription Services
The tailored subscription services model is on a rapid rise, which can inherently save time, money, and resources for a logistics company. The focus lies on acquiring serious customers, who genuinely show an interest in buying a product and receiving it during the last-mile delivery. Enhanced insights into the customer’s tastes and preferences lead to better forecasting, which subsequently leads to efficient inventory management. Repetitive, data-driven orders enable lesser chances of failed deliveries and streamlined transactions.
- Increased Automation for Constant Communication with the Customer
Personalized communication will increase with the customer through chatbots, automated calling, SMS, and Artificial Intelligence in 2020. Earlier, the seller could only get a glimpse of the end-delivery status. 2020 seems to popularize enhanced tracing of a package through an automated tracking page that shows the end-to-end status of a scheduled shipment (from its pickup to transit to accomplished delivery). Fewer communication gaps will further provide a better shopping experience to the customers. Hence, there will be greater customer retention. It will also allow the seller to study the customers’ thought processes and whether they are serious about receiving their scheduled package or not. A decrease in failed deliveries will consequently lead to a decrease in last-mile delivery costs.
- Logistics Solutions on a Mobile App
Mobile apps will enable logistics companies to provide seamless seller experience. India saw a mobile-first breakthrough in its digital market because of cost-effective internet tariffs, which is the polar opposite scenario as compared to the west. Internet usage with mobile phones has already exceeded more than half a billion people in 2019, which entails that more people are going to start managing their businesses and basic day-to-day needs via their mobile phones only. This makes it imperative for the logistics companies to hop aboard the mobile app bandwagon.
A greater amount of customer data is being churned out by such mobile apps. This will help the logistics company gain superior insights into their customers and hence, solve the issue of inefficiencies that lie in the last-mile delivery process and the overall seller experience as well.
- The Arrival of Drone Delivery
Amazon, Dominos, Swoop Aero, UPS, and many more have been experimenting with drone deliveries. 80% of the packages by Amazon have the ability to be delivered via drone. The package is expected to be delivered within 30 minutes, which will further drive the customer expectations in terms of the time taken to receive their scheduled package. This will make competition within the logistics company even more aggressive, where other companies would rush to smoothen their shipping process for maximum order fulfillment. Drone delivery is expected to save around $50 million in costs for shipping companies.
In a nutshell, 2020 is going to be as exciting as it can get for the entire logistics industry. Let’s just wait and watch till then.
(The author is Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder of Shiprocket, a company providing eCommerce logistics and shipping software solutions and the views expressed here are the author’s own)