Observations from Leading Merchant Businesses on Operating Remotely

Observations from Leading Merchant Businesses on Operating Remotely

With governments globally only allowing e-commerce as an exempted business model during an extended lockdown, brick & mortar retail chains struggle to spruce up digital sales initiatives. The FMCG industry has seen a sharp increase in revenues, with consumers stocking up on essentials, as well as an increase in general consumption due to consumers staying more at home.

Marketplaces like Amazon, or a Flipkart are in this situation, taking on opportunities with hyperlocal delivery players, the way food-and-grocery retailers functioned. The online grocery market is divided into two models – inventory-led and hyperlocal-delivery. Head of Supply Chain at Grofers, Rohit Sharma said if retailers approach their platform now, it could bring forth a strong logistic partner network, exactly what they needed to scale.

Asian consumers have also been stockpiling personal hygiene goods in the wake of the outbreak, according to Nielsen. Shares of top 3 brands dropped from 85% in Jan to 39% in March, after almost 152 players entered the segment. Similarly, about 65% of the consumers have tried new or alternate brands, of which nearly 10% intend to not switch back, according to a latest McKinsey study.

On the bright side, brands now have more time on their hands to introspect on how to improve certain aspects of their businesses when they’re not hustling – like they used to. Learnings from this economic disruption will go down in history, and a few strategies may just be developed, to stay.

It all depends on how teams – online and offline, utilize their time, ensure business continuity, improve productivity, and most importantly, run operations by keeping up with safety standards, maintaining customer satisfaction and retention.

Recently, we ran a survey with our merchant business community. An interesting trend we saw was that 58% of merchant leaders are prioritizing product innovation to emerge stronger post the crisis, as compared to 21% who voted for business model and service delivery innovation.

In the Middle-East, it’s a total curfew situation in most regions. The biggest roadblock (literally), is the supply chain issue. It’s the laws that have been suddenly implemented, leaving brands to have a very short turnaround time while ensuring business continuity. Gradually, a couple of weeks post lockdown, a few essential industries have started resuming operations - first being groceries and restaurants. Of Course, all the personnel on road and in kitchens are operating within a said time-frame. They are being educated on hygiene standards - keeping every consumer’s health, demand and well-being in check. The core aspects currently are, clarity in communication, value of time, and quality of services being delivered. - Muhammad Talha Ansari, Senior Director Operations, Careem.

Industry body RAI (Retailers Association of India) CEO Kumar Rajagopalan announced that they’ve reached out to the government to include home delivery services, and not just e-commerce, as exempt businesses so that even the small and medium retailers can deliver to home. He said the large chains are already on e-commerce.

Governments, brands (private and public), retailers and medical institutions – basically everyone is planning strategies keeping health and essential demands on top priority, followed by product innovation and the rest.

Countries in SEA didn’t immediately go into lockdown, hence the demand here didn’t see sudden drops. We saw categories such as entertainment, medical services,gaming, groceries – grow exponentially. Interestingly, we saw a jump in charity initiatives by 80%, which is really great!

On the supply side, we saw a fall in transactions across small and medium sectors, however enterprises like KFC saw a rise in transaction value! However, currently, every sector is seeing a fall. Consumers are looking for hygiene, trusted supply, so their demand in terms of value and investment is changing, creating higher benchmarks, and these trends are projected to last long-term. By 2025, the number could reach $133 billion, a leap from just $8 billion five years ago. Maintaining this growth trajectory will be crucial to help enable a rapid economic rebound when the pandemic threat is over.” - Prasun Jain, Product Manager - Growth and Monetization, GoJek

While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to force retail stores to close, signaling an unprecedented disruption of commerce, the post-pandemic world will be primarily impacted by 3 factors –

  • Consumers will have adopted short-term behaviors during the pandemic that in many cases will become permanent,
  • Consumers will emerge from the pandemic in a new economic reality, changing commerce behaviors in profound ways,
  • Significant consolidation of retailers will fundamentally alter the competitive and partner landscape.

Retailers are facing massive economic disruptions, and merchant business leaders around the globe are doing everything they possibly can to keep consumers’ interest before everything else! To make sure we’re doing everything we can to support our partners and employees, we’ve recently launched Vymo’s WFH solution. Over the last three weeks, we’ve helped 10,000+ field personnel move to remote operations in less than 72 hours.

Here’s how some of our clients have found value in the fact that they can,

  • Continue customer engagement while ensuring safety and compliance though secure calling and video conferencing
  • Distribute and coordinate tasks centrally and communicate effectively through broadcasts and targeted notifications
  • Gain visibility through a command center with a unified view of key metrics like agent/rep adoption and customer coverage

Read more on Seeking Alpha >>

Here is the recording of the session: Watch Now

If you have any questions for Prasun Jain or Muhammad Talha Ansari, drop us a note on wfh@http://vymo.com. We’ll check with them and let you know their thoughts on it!

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