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Pandemic is Expected to uplift India’s E-commerce Market by Three Fold to around $85 Billion: Report

Facing the challenges, up to 51 per cent of retail executives report that they have started or are planning to start upgrading their returns management technologies in the next five years

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In a recent survey by Zebra Technologies stated that an estimated 64 per cent of retail associates are not equipped to maximize the benefits of technology that is available. The 12th Annual Shopper APAC (Asia-Pacific) Study 2020 informed that click-and-collect, or buy online, pick-up in-store (BOPIS), are becoming preferred methods of shopping, with 55% of consumers requesting more retailers to offer mobile ordering options. 

The study, which had 250 Shoppers, 50 Associates, 20 Decision Makers from India as respondents, speculated India's retail industry to be around $800 billion and e-commerce is only 3.5 per cent. Also, various reports suggest that the current pandemic situation can uplift India’s e-commerce market by threefold to around $85 Billion by 2024.    

Reasons Why That Is Possible 

In the first two phases of lockdown, with only the essentials being allowed to deliver through the online platforms, e-commerce was seen to be the savior of the retail sector. Even after that, with the need to maintain social-distancing, customers have heavily relied on the e-commerce pathways to fulfill their requirements. Seeing the major opportunities, e-commerce players were quick on their feet to take bold actions, which are expected to bring major shifts in the e-commerce landscape of the country.    

Paytm Mall announced it is working to help 10,000 shops for hyperlocal deliveries and digitally enabling small businesses. Amazon India launched ‘Local Shops' on Amazon’s facility for local shops and retailers of any size from across India allowing them to use Amazon’s existing delivery mechanisms. E-commerce platform Shopmatic opened ‘web-stores’ to help local Kirana stores to go online. 

In fact, the survey stated that with the customer demands of click-and-collect, or buy online, pick-up in-store, businesses are forced to rethink their fulfillment strategies given that only 36 per cent of respondents agreed that their stores are equipped to fulfill web orders. In addition, the study expects this trend to continue, while retailers implement additional solutions that minimize in-store contact and improve customer convenience at the same time. 

Deep Agarwal, Regional Sales Director of India, Zebra Technologies informed that retailers are transforming ‘dark stores’ to serve as temporary distribution facilities inside their establishments. He stated that prioritizing the click-and-collect service offerings and investing in technologies that increase shopping capacity and speed reduces in-store traffic and aids in social distancing efforts, while providing retailers with inventory visibility across every corner of the shop floor.  

Moreover, undeniably, the returns are becoming another pain-points for shoppers and pose a significant challenge for retailers. The reported stated upto 51 per cent of retail executives report that they have started or are planning to start upgrading their returns management technologies in the next five years. Meanwhile, 83 per cent of retailers currently have or plan to implement automated inventory verification systems within the year to advance real-time inventory accuracy. Also, results show that retailers are looking to harness technologies like intelligent automation, cloud computing, and mobility to drive economic growth.

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e-commerce Zebra Survey