Lockdown 1.0 was undeniably taxing time for e-tailers, grocery firms as they have responded to first-time tests with pioneering strategies to maintain supply chains and ensure consumers can access their goods. Survival of the fittest - Firms adapted to supply provisions to homes through their platforms as a means of its existence.
Newer insights - On a routine discussion with a leading blue collared job aggregator, I was delighted to hear they were helping eCommerce companies recruit individuals for delivery of essential goods since companies were facing adversity in their present set of employees moving to their home town unknown about their future
The hurdle - Trade was hit badly at the workforce level with numerous employees leaving for their home towns immediately after the declaration of lockdown, reducing eCommerce working capacity by half and at the same time, 5X times increase in consumers ’ resorting to panic buying.
Adaptability - Businesses like BigBasket, iD Fresh Food used technology and business process engineering by filtering their SKUs and further justifying reach in cities facing manpower scarcity increasing their productivity.
iD Fresh Food manufactures of fresh foods like idly/dosa batter parottas, chapatis, curd and paneer embarked on an innovative method to halt customers from panic buying as they launched a store finder feature on its website rationalizing SKUs, it provides consumers with updated info on iD products available at stores near them. They also offer a notify-me feature to alert consumers as and when fresh stocks get refilled at neighborhood stores.
A newer way of doing business - Milk basket a subscription-based micro delivery service gratifying dairy essentials and household need of customers need every morning now has a new normal as the cost of serving customers multiplied with the anti-Covid measures, they had to temporarily cut down on their capacities, cancel last minute orders inconveniencing customers apart from large scale wastage & dump of perishable goods.
Nandu’s chicken and Licious Food supplying fresh non-vegetarian foods recruited a new workforce to cater to the gastronomical needs of their customers.
MTR foods tied-up with Shell oil to ensure their products are accessible across all petrol pumps in South India apart from enhancing direct deliveries of orders placed through their website to 15,000 pin codes in India.
Marico partnered with logistic companies like Delhivery, Shadowfax, and Lalamove to ensure products are delivered from factories to depots to distributors and to end consumers.
The 2nd lockdown - with no letup on non-essential items has given Fashion brand Nykaa an opportunity to launch its private label in handwashes, masks, and hand sanitizers with a pledge to deliver it to over 14,000 pin codes.
The logistics trade also swung into action as they were allowed intra and interstate movements of trucks. MyGate, a community-based management platform realigned its business by building partnerships to restore essential services for its users by partnering with companies like Grofers, ITC for the fast delivery of grocery supplies apart from free medical consultation tie-ups with healthcare companies like DocsApp and mfine.
Reckitt Benckiser, P&G, Unilever have become more resilient than ever and are revamping their production of cleaning supplies as they see unprecedented demand even in the future. Products like Lysol and Dettol are in huge demand as personal hygiene is becoming more important and they expect more pronounced changes in consumer behavior and are quite confident that consumers will stick to well-known brands.
Aid from tech companies - Marut Drones, Flytbase, GarudaUAV is rushing up the process compared to traditional deliveries by delivering medicines, vital supplies. These drones fitted with infrared cameras, speakers help civic and government authorities not only monitor body temperatures but spray disinfectants, help to monitor and cautioning citizens, providing pertinent evidence on people’s movements
Don't worry about dying, worry about not living - Heartening trend signified amidst a countrywide lockdown, the e-commerce industry has tried to stay afloat by delivering essential goods and expanding to grocery and are still working on their business continuity plans and will be more active in their direct-to-consumer outreach and will need to devise strategies to adjust to this new reality.