Ensuring supply chain and logistics resilience in the retail sector


The need to respond to the existing supply chain and logistics challenges such as rapidly changing customer demands, shifting business dynamics and poor transportation visibility have reached alarming levels post-pandemic. That said, the disruptions caused by COVID-19 have triggered an immediate need for businesses to digitize logistics and delivery operations to ensure business scalability and sustainability.

According to a report, online retail sales grew 32.4% year-on-year in 2020, rising 39% in the first quarter of 2021. As a result, offline retail stores are adopting digital means to cater to shoppers at home and stay relevant. According to Harvard Business Review, 73% of customers like to shop across multiple channels. With the customer as king, personalization has become the need of the hour to stand out and ensure business success.

The 21st century business perspective calls for a new and improved retail supply chain driven by digitization. This infusion of technology has enabled the retail industry to meet today’s challenges. As the world pivots to an intelligent, touchless edge of commerce interface for networking in the new normal, a resilient and agile omnichannel approach is essential to maintaining productivity and profitability in these transformed times.

Here’s how retail supply chains are building this flexibility to survive and thrive in the post-pandemic world:

– As data becomes the new oil, much of the business world and its operations revolve around harnessing the infinite potential of data. Big data and data science are set to change the game of contemporary retail. Most players gather and analyze large pools of consumer data to identify different dynamics and changing consumer preferences. Through the power of data, businesses can gain substantial insight into the mind of the customer, their various likes and dislikes as well as current trends in the business environment. This can work wonders for any retail business by giving it a beneficial edge. Now is the right time for businesses to capitalize on this new area of ​​technology and invest accordingly to improve their data-related capabilities to build resilience and agility in the new normal.

– It is absolutely imperative to invest in an intelligent logistics management platform to strengthen current operations. This means businesses need to digitize their entire supply chain to neutralize the unprecedented speed bumps and demand escalations that are common in these altered post-COVID circumstances. They must adopt the latest high-tech platforms that extend scalability and customization options to customers to increase business resilience and stay relevant.

– Now is the time for retail houses to provide end-to-end transparency to have a better chance of success compared to those that operate in obscure ways. Indian retailers are deploying various state-of-the-art tools such as real-time tracking, digital documentation, alerts, and feedback options that increase an organization’s accountability to its customers. This leaves no room for doubt as customers can now keep a clear record of every service they wish to receive.

– Retail businesses looking to secure themselves in the new normal should get regular snapshots of their partner ecosystem to better understand the market and competition. This includes 3PL performance assessment, SLA management, last mile cost reduction, and more. It’s also critical for businesses to focus on hyper-localization for faster, on-demand deliveries. Hyper-localization allows retailers to respond effectively to customer demand by focusing on the block level to find out what customers are looking for the most. It’s just taking localization to the next level by throwing in an extra layer of customization.

As the survival game against the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Indian retail businesses have strategically transformed their previous ways of operating. Pan-industry digital adoption empowers businesses to build resilience and flexibility that helps them scale with agility in the new normal. That said, only companies that invest enough in improving their technology stacks and developing omnichannel capabilities will be able to weather the post-pandemic turbulence. After all, in the age of digital consumption, the consumer continues to be king.


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