I must be the umpteenth person saying how the pandemic has shifted user behavior when it comes to commerce! Extended lockdowns, digital payments, better maps, quick commerce, and more- all of this has zoomed the Home Delivery Industry in top gear. But not everyone is ready for this. eCommerce was growing but this was exponential growth and it has called for measures unheard of. The change in user behavior is here to stay and will lead to some interesting trends as we head over to 2022.
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are no longer just buzz words. There is a tonne of intelligence that goes into communicating the most precise ETAs (glossary of logistics technology terms) for orders to the end customer. And these systems are getting more and more sophisticated. Predicting order volumes and peaks, predictive ETAs, advanced route optimization, and auto-order allocation to delivery drivers are some of the offshoots coming from the use of AI and ML in building Delivery Management Systems.
Uber has revolutionized personal mobility and this trend will pick up steam in the Delivery Driver management domain. Enterprises and Brands having their own fleets for delivery or 3rd party carriers will be using Transportation Automation Platforms served as SaaS to have their own fleet management and gain a complete view over delivery operations. Questions like how many delivery partners to hire and when? Where should they be stationed? What routes should they be taking? All these questions get answered with a TMS 2.0.
Home delivery used to be a luxury some years ago but now it is a given in the urban world. If you’re a brand serving food, groceries, or even furniture, you have to home deliver! And with added demands like flexibility in delivery time windows, changing drop-off location while the order is being delivered, easy returns, and such. This kind of granularity and precision in terms of end-customer experience is only possible by the use of deep technology and automation capabilities.
A 2021 LogiNext report suggested growth of 55% in enrolment for grocery subscriptions. And this is great news for brands since they can have more clarity in terms of incoming demand. The rise of D2C brands is also pushing this trend and more and more enterprises will be bundling their offers in a subscription model. Meal kits and meal subscriptions have also been around for a while but tech enabled solutions giving the end customers the flexibility in delivery and customizations will see this trend picking up again.
Dark Stores, also called ghost stores and dark kitchens, also called cloud kitchens or ghost kitchens are stores and kitchens which have a customer-facing brand only on the internet. As the primary mode of discovery and transaction started to shift towards online, this model of having a physical store or kitchen but not having a storefront and only delivering goods became possible. One can have the store or kitchen at a place that doesn’t have high rentals, strategically locate them and not worry about wooing customers on the street. All the customer acquisition happens online and the fulfillment happens via delivery partners via strategically located stores. This is also giving rise to the entire under-15 minute quick commerce delivery scene. This will only accelerate in 2022.
All in all, technology is again playing a major role in these shifting customer behaviors and how brands can deliver a superior end customer experience. More and more brands will be undergoing digital transformation journeys to deliver these digital experiences and home deliver goods and services in the most efficient manner.