With aggressive demands during festive seasons over the last few years, COVID-19 has further accelerated e-commerce adoption in all segments, be it business-to-consumer (B2C), direct-to-consumer (D2C) or business-to-business (B2B), according to end-to-end logistics provider Xpressbees.
Xpressbees Chief Business Officer for B2C Harsha Bhoi said the overall volume in the festive season goes to two-three times for the overall e-commerce markets.
“This year, we are expecting even more higher peaks considering the economy getting (back) on track. Moreover, increased adoption in tier 2 and 3 cities as well as in remote cities and COVID-19 further accelerate the overall adoption for e-commerce deliveries,” he added.
Bhoi added that the company expects a peak of up to 1.5 million shipments for Xpressbees on peak days during the festive rush.
Another logistics company Pickkr, which plans to hire 200 employees across multiple verticals during the festive season, including data science, operations and customer service, also anticipate a three-fold rise in demand during the period.
“As the pandemic takes a back seat, the pent-up demand from consumers will add to the festive rush, which will translate into high order volumes for us. At Pickrr, we have already started gearing up to help e-commerce sellers (especially small & medium enterprises and D2C brands) manage the increase in their sales and orders in the next 2-3 months,” said Rhitiman Majumdar, co-founder of Pickkr. He expects D2C to witness a spike during this festive season.
Last year, Diwali was subdued to the pandemic, he said, adding that “this year, we have already started witnessing huge upswings in order volume”. He said the company expects its monthly order volume to be upwards of three million for the last quarter of 2021.
“We use advanced technology and algorithms to bring efficiency in logistics operations and reduce return-to-origin (RTO) by 2-3 per cent, which has a significant positive impact on the bottomlines (profit),” he added.
The startup’s intelligent warehousing solution Pickrr Plus allows sellers to leverage its network of fulfilment centers to deliver their customers’ orders pan-India quickly. Its artificial intelligence-driven load analysis system utilises previous sales data to predict the inventory stock levels required at each warehouse accurately, he said.
This effectively prevents inventory understocking/ overstocking during peak sales, Majumdar said. He added that besides Pickrr Plus, its courier recommendation engine helps brands fast-track their shipping by automatically optimising for the quickest delivery at the most cost-effective price.
Shiprocket co-founder and CEO Saahil Goel said, “We are predicting a 70 per cent increase in orders and are all set to support our sellers to deliver a seamless customer experience. We have strengthened our workforce by 30 per cent to be ready for the festive season.” Sellers can opt for their fulfilment services to manage these spikes to ensure one-day and two-day deliveries, he said.
Shipsy founder and CEO Soham Chokshi said, “A smart logistics management platform can empower such businesses to optimise resource (driver and vehicle) utilisation and quickly scale deliveries by onboarding part-time and freelance delivery executives intelligently.”
He said about two million shipments are delivered per day using Shipsy’s platform. “Given the festive season, the number is only expected to increase.” He added that there is a rise in online ordering since the pandemic struck.
“So, we are expecting close to 30 per cent increase in shipments as compared to last year with segments such as retail, e-commerce and QSR (quick service restaurant), hyperlocal/ grocery/ on-demand, CEP (courier, express and parcel), performing well during this time,” he said.
He added that the company is expecting a surge in grocery and food deliveries. “We can also see more customers ordering high-value and big-box items,” Chokshi added. Expressbees’ Bhoi said that during the festive season, the peak on certain days goes as high as three times of average shipments at a base of million shipments, he said.
He said the company gradually ramps up the hiring, 1-2 weeks in advance based upon sales events so that staff are trained well before the peak days. “There is weekly hiring planning which is monitored closely to make adjustments based upon market conditions.”
Xpressbees expects apparels, fashion, mobile, electronics devices to experience unprecedented surge in demand (during this festive season), he added.
Kapil Makhija, chief executive officer of Unicommerce, said this year is even more special with life returning back to normal after the severe impact of COVID-19. In spite of the pandemic, last year’s festive season reported a 50-70 per cent increase in order volume across multiple segments, said Makhija. Unicommerce is an e-commerce-focussed SaaS (software-as-a-service) platform.
“We expect a similar trend this year. During the festive season of 2020, the top three categories were beauty and personal care, fashion and accessories, and electronic and home appliances and they are expected to continue to drive e-commerce growth even this year,” he said.
In the last one year, a lot of companies have adopted omnichannel solutions to streamline their operation and offer a seamless shopping experience to consumers, Makhija said. He adding, “We expect to witness a steep rise in the increasing number of orders being fulfilled from brand offline stores, which will help companies in ensuring faster delivery and clearing in-store inventory.”