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How Does The Logistics Industry Fuel The Festive Rush?

We are back to that time of the year when festivities rule the roost. So, how are consumers globally opening up to festive buying amidst the waning worry of the pandemic and increasing inflation? Let’s peek into some industry surveys. 

Deloitte’s annual holiday retail forecast pegs 2022 holiday retail sales to rise to between 4-6%. Moreover, Deloitte forecasts e-commerce holiday sales reaching between $260-$264 billion this season. On the homefront, online festive sales are expected to rise by 28% from last year, touching $11.8 billion in lieu of Diwali and Christmas. 

To meet the rising purchases in the festive season and also appease the harder-to-fulfil customers, a unified and robust logistics process is critical for:

  • Fresh/repeat purchases
  • Ad hoc demand surges
  • Last mile deliveries
  • Timely delivery
  • Reverse logistics

All of these are to be done — quickly, accurately and efficiently. So, let’s understand how the logistics industry will add shine to peoples’ festive buzz this year.

Stepping up operational efficiencies

Industry experts opine that 2022 is going to witness revenge buying. The pandemic made people underspend on nice-to-have categories, such as apparel, luggage, and so on, which will be fulfilled greatly in the oncoming festive season.

This is why logistics companies have spruced up their operations more than ever by:

  • Upgrading warehouse capacity
  • Building more fulfilment centres and delivery hubs to strengthen last-mile delivery
  • Onboarding kirana partners
  • Hiring in-house resources in hundreds across verticals, such as sales, servicing and operations
  • Outsourcing/hiring a huge gig workforce to meet demand escalation across the business-to-business (B2B), business-to-consumer (B2C) and direct-to-consumer (D2C) segments. 

In the festive rush, there is tremendous reliance on the gig workforce. There are various attributes to the term ‘gig workforce’. A delivery boy, warehouse personnel, delivery associate, truck driver — all of them encompass the gig workforce. This gig workforce enables logistics companies to expand their capacities overnight to as much as 5x.

 

Advancing technology in strategy and operations

It is paramount for the logistics industry to embrace technology more than ever thanks to the evolved consumer. In the past years, rising digital literacy, greater smartphone penetration, faster adoption of cashless transactions, pandemic-led purchases, and appealing online shopping offers have led consumers to switch to e-commerce as their preferred mode of purchase. 

The e-commerce boost has fuelled a steady demand for direct-to-home and direct-to-consumer brands. Most offline brands have either moved online or started offering doorstep deliveries. As per a 2021 report by ICICI Securities, tier 2 and tier 3 cities are now accounting for a bigger volume of e-commerce sales. This transition has led the logistics sector to shift its supply chain focus from product-centricity to customer-centricity.

To fulfil speedy deliveries and quick & hassle-free returns, online merchants have increasingly started to outsource logistics. This has led the logistics partners to adopt technological advancements, such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, Internet-of-Things, and automation, to finetune their functions and services. 

It is worth noting that the current buzz of ‘10-minute delivery’ wouldn’t have been possible had the logistics industry not embraced technology with lightning speed.

 

Globally, technology has helped usher in cost efficiency & transparency, speed in delivery & transactions, and fuel efficiency. In India, tech-backed initiatives, such as the digitalisation of documents, e-invoicing, e-way bill, and FastTags for toll payments have reduced transport time thereby speeding up deliveries, which is a huge factor for business profitability in today’s times. Not to forget, the above initiatives have made the overall transit fuel-efficient and less stressful. 

To sum up

With precise planning, before-time advancements in operations and rising technology interventions, the logistics industry continues to reinvent the game every passing year. Perhaps, the greater good it does while fuelling this festive rush is delivering smiles to a million faces easily, effortlessly and enthusiastically. Tirelessly and unfailingly. 

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