2020 brought us face-to-face with pre-covid and post-covid era, where life as we knew it, flipped from ‘Being social’ to ‘Being Socially distanced’. This changed the very fabric of human relationship & interactions as we know it to be.
However, amidst all the chaos, the resilience of our human race to adapt and rise above unforeseen calamities has indeed been commendable. The self-quarantine mode thrust on us bought in a plethora of changes including our purchase habits of goods and services. Retail was one of the worst hit sectors that got caught totally off-guard during these testing times.
Adaptability is The Key
Ecommerce, pioneered by Michael Aldrichin 1979, and picked up by stalwarts like Jeff Bezos and other numerous global and local online marketplaces across the globe tried to bridge consumer demand left by this sudden absence of retail. The digital ecosystem with its 70 years of evolution, seemed to be positioned in the right place at the right time with its dynamic framework and low cost connectivity to fill the void that the covid outbreak brought in.
The challenge to survive this calamity also brought with it, opportunities to those businesses which were ready to embrace digital transformation and adopt innovative approaches. The massive shift in consumer behaviour during the pandemic towards ecommerce pushed segments like on-demand delivery services of fresh produce, online education, e-pharmacies, gaming to OTT platforms, online collaborative tools, etc to go on an overdrive.
Ecommerce has Now Become The New Normal
As more and more people adapt and become comfortable carrying out digital transactions, ecommerce, as we now know it, is well poised to become the new face of retail. As businesses gear up to ride this juggernaut, Statista estimates the global ecommerce market to pass $2 trillion in 2020.
The 5 Pillars of Ecommerce
With increased pressure on retail outlets to expand their online presence and for existing ecommerce companies to step up and compete, the focus on what constitutes the pillars on which retail businesses can establish their ecommerce business successfully needs to be focused upon.
The 5Ps of ecommerce, as we call it, revolves around identifying the right opportunity, coupled with merchandising, technology, operations, marketing and logistics. Each of these pillars can further be demarcated into smaller divisions. Each of these sub-sections must tick in rhythm and combine together to form a successful ecommerce venture.
Through a series of 5 articles, it would be my effort to shed some light on this alignment process to enable successful ecommerce ventures.
Before we get to the pillars you will first need to identify the right opportunity.
Following the three steps given below, will help you identify and spot an opportunity that can then be aligned to ones’ knowledge or skill and converted into marketable new products or services.
- Observe upcoming trends. Study how customers interact with products.
- Recognize problems and develop innovative ways to solve them.
- Identify ‘Gaps’ in the Marketplace.
The best business ideas are often right in front of you. One just needs to feel a pressing need and then work up a solution to address that need.
The Merchandising Pillar
One of the most important pillars of all the five, “Right Merchandising” makes the whole difference between “Stuck Up” or “Stock Lots” or a fast moving inventory.
Merchandising comes with its own 6R’s which is defined as the “Right Product” at the “Right Place” at the “Right Time” at the “Right Price” and in the “Right Quantity”. Getting the above component right is absolutely necessary and builds the base of any ecommerce business.
Along with cataloguing, product shoots, content management, inventory management; merchandising crosses over to numerous divisions to arrive at the right combinations in sync with the defined 6R’s. In my endeavour to shed more light on this complex framework of ecommerce, we shall go into more depths of merchandising in the next issue.
For now, as we continue on with the year let’s gear ourselves to rise above the brickbats and look for brilliant breaks instead. Adaptability certainly is the key to survival and success.