Festive season 2020: Are you ready for the digital-first celebrations?
We, as humans, are creatures of habit. We love to be in control of our lives. But COVID-19 has blown away, or rather destroyed, many aspects of our carefully connected daily routines. While the majority of the market faces doom, there are a few businesses that have been blown ahead of their times in the new normal. Of course, one such domain is e-commerce. And add to that the festive season, 2020 may, at last, bring in some hope. As online sellers, how do you gear up to take advantage of this opportunity?
Online shopping for the festive season 2020
The virus has disrupted the pillar on which the base of human connections stands. In the last one year, the very shopping priorities of consumers have changed. We have seen a significant rise in demand for medical supplies and personal hygiene products. Consumers now have redefined the difference between want and need. As COVID-19 continues to spread, the effect it has had on Indian e-commerce continues to fluctuate. Of course, it depends on the industry in which you operate. COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdown, with social distancing, have acted as a strong catalyst for online shopping in India.
InMobi, a mobile advertising technology firm, conducted its annual Festive Season 2020 Report. Here, it observed that the consumers' willingness to shop remains high as opposed to the expected impact of the coronavirus. The report showed that 54% of Indians will be spending on an average of ₹10,000 this shopping season.
Shopping has always been a healing behavior for many. Studies have shown that consumers feel a sense of relief and calm post their shopping sessions. We can expect the consumers to splurge a bit this festive season. It is an obvious reaction to the 6 months long lockdown that made consumers strictly stay at home. And if there are good enough deals out there, more reasons why consumers will not refrain from shopping.
This year has been a total game-changer in terms of consumer buying intentions and behavior. The business forecast has been on the positive side and businesses must be prepared to scale the business, twice as compared to last year.
It Is A Digital Holiday Season In 2020
Holiday Season 2020
It is no secret that the online retail industry will be expecting more sales during the upcoming festive season. Experts have predicted that there will be a surge in first-time shoppers from smaller towns. This rise is a result of the pandemic-induced slowdown in offline retail. The trend is expected to have a significant long-term impact, motivating online buying behavior. Eager to benefit from the festive sales, offline retailers are also creating an online presence. Most consumer brands are thinking of adopting digital-first strategies and many have moved from organized offline to online. The most common way to get online is through eCommerce platforms. So, we can expect to see a surge in demand for logistics from these players.
Lockdown and eCommerce
COVID-19 initiated lockdown
Lockdown initiated sales have seen presence not only in cities but also in Tier I and II cities in India. Experts expect over 50% of online shoppers to be from smaller cities and towns. We have now grabbed your attention. This will definitely boost the growth in the Indian online retail industry. There have been predictions that at the end of 2021, the retail online industry can expect a 40% increase in gross sales.
Digital channels have become the most preferred marketing channels. We suggest you lean in even more heavily on digital marketing than you have been in the past. If your business involves a physical product, you would need to take shipping into consideration. Your best strategy would be to continue making use of your digital channels. We suggest you roll out your digital promotions at the earliest. This extra time will help you resolve any potential delivery issues. It also helps your logistics partner to get your products delivered before the holidays.
Rethink The Traditional Playbook
Review your marketing strategy
When it comes to festival marketing, sellers tend to repeat what they did last year. As an online seller, you need to analyze what worked and what did not. Use this information as a starting point for your marketing and sales plan. The point is that you don’t need to start from scratch. You simply need to re-evaluate every aspect of your marketing strategy so that it is relevant in 2020. Sellers must make conscious efforts to take a step back and look at the big picture. And then assess what strategies and tactics would make sense this year.
Efficiency and Time-Saving Activities are Here to Stay
Online shopping has the obvious benefit that consumers need not go out to shop and 'waste' time. Thanks to the lockdown, everything is delivered at the consumer’s doorstep. There is no industry that has not only gone online but also become digital-focused. Even small stores provide home delivery. People now prefer buying online rather than from stores.
On the other hand, quarantine has also shown the worst side of everything so far. Severe time shortages are the most common issue that people have faced in this entire time. The unwillingness to go out to shop for the fear of getting sick is still quite strong. This has of course given a boost to the online marketplace. But along with time crunch, insufficient labor strength is also an issue. For example, online grocery stores are receiving orders on a very large scale. But the manpower is not sufficient to deliver them on time.
Optimizing your e-commerce business for the ‘new normal’
Yes, we agree that the demand will increase. But what about the supply? There has to be an established procurement and inventory plan to cope with the sudden increase in demand.
In a world where online shopping is becoming the norm, it would be a wise step to adapt to all forms of online payment. More than 60% of eCommerce orders in India are processed through cash-on-delivery payments. It is highly recommended to mitigate your unnecessary costs, increase traffic, and monitor the expenses of your business.
As a business owner, you need to take care of the first mile and last mile of the supply chain. It can be very overwhelming to manage the orders, especially in the festive season. It is a herculean task to ensure that every order has been delivered in full and on time. Why not source the logistics part of your business to an online logistics aggregator?
The aggregator connects you to multiple logistics partners and you can pick one as per your convenience. The products are picked-up at your doorstep and delivered to the customer directly. It is always a good tactic to outsource your logistics needs to a domain expert. If not any other time, at least during the festivals you can engage with these online platforms.
This festive season 2020, the sale has always been a crucial benchmark for the Indian economy as a whole. But this time, things are slightly different as the pandemic keeps people indoors. COVID enabled massive growth in new shoppers as consumers prefer to shop in a manner that is convenient and safe
The Big Billion and Great Indian Sales, are some of the biggest online events in the year. These festivals are not short of a Black Friday in the US. According to Amazon India, more than 6.5 lakh sellers have featured in its sale. Further, to cope with the surge in sellers and eventual sale, Amazon has also expanded its warehousing and logistics strategy. Taking a hint from these eCommerce giants, you must strengthen the supply chain strategies so as to allow for a satisfactory consumer experience.
Only time will tell whether this festive season could bring back the momentum for sellers. The entire industry has been severely impacted due to the ongoing economic slowdown. We are looking forward to the last two months of the year to get back into the game.