Omnichannel supply chains will become the norm in the post-COVID-19 world — and businesses must reinvent the various steps in their supply chain to breakdown the organizational silos, bridge the offline-online gap, and invest in digitization to meet the new demand patterns of the post-COVID-19 era.
At Shadowfax, we have been continually refining our 3PL services to combat the chaos of the current situation. We have been able to manage fast, flexible, and reliable delivery services across the country.
As part of our continuous research and development process, we have also identified five ways in which businesses can enable omnichannel supply chains to prepare for the new world order and future crisis by leveraging tech-enabled logistics services.
Greater transparency about quality, direct sales to the end consumer, through online sales and contactless delivery have emerged as the key focus areas. Many Indian startups have made significant headway into the seafood and meat industry. Shadowfax has customised its services to drive the demand for its clients, helping their businesses in the long run.
The 5-Step Guide To Setting up an Omnichannel Supply Chain
1. Create a Unified Supply Chain
Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba, coined the term “new retail” to describe the merging of offline and online retail channels to create an integrated supply chain. In the present scenario, an integrated supply chain is the need of the hour, because it can help in optimizing logistics through a wealth of cross-platform data in the following ways:
- As more people are expected to spend time shopping online with a predictable decrease in-store footfalls, an integrated supply chain will also allow companies to analyse sales data and other digital channels to make accurate predictions about demand and supply.
- Sales data, coupled with real-time inventory insight, can be used to enhance distribution and pre-emptively move products to various locations so that they are available at the right place at the right time.
2. Use a Virtual Agent for Better Support
Chatbots based on artificial intelligence are being widely adopted across industries for automation and better support. In a supply chain, a virtual agent or chatbot can be used for many functions, such as:
- A single point of contact for internal and external queries related to invoices, purchase orders, product location, etc.
- With a real-time view into the inventory and integrated online demand and logistics, your chatbot can instantly pull out thousands of data points from these three sources to answer questions related to demand and supply, accurately.
- Eventually, the bots can also be trained to manage customer demands by asking a set of pre-emptive questions and automatically taking the desired actions that are pre-fed into the system.
3. Integrate Your Supply Chain with Digital Logistics for Fast and Accurate Deliveries
Building a robust technology platform complemented by a network of efficient last-mile delivery partners across hundreds of cities in India can facilitate fast, affordable and efficient deliveries across industry sectors. At Shadowfax, we have enabled the following across India seamlessly:
- Hyperlocal deliveries for food, groceries, and medicine in less than 90 minutes
- Same-day deliveries in the same city across 150 areas
- Partnered with local kirana stores for a more extensive delivery and warehousing system
- One-day intra-city delivery services
Innovation powered AI and ML-based delivery logistics are capable of streamlining your demand and supply channels, leading to fast and affordable deliveries.
Through digitization, we can build transparency at every step of the supply chain through a technology-powered logistics platform that can be used for intelligent work allocation, parcel tracking, integrated payments, and electronic proof of delivery, seamless reverse pick-ups with QC, and more.
4. Provide an Interface for Customers to Track Orders and Pay Online Seamlessly
The period between ordering an item and receiving it is an often-cited pain point by customers. The reason is that most companies send a dispatched notification to customers, but there’s no further update until the customer receives his or her product. Today, at a time when most consumers are avoiding offline retail, this process becomes even more worrisome as the anticipation is quite high.
We suggest two ways to kill this anxiety in your customers:
(i) Provide your customers with real-time visibility into the shipping process.
- By using advanced technology like IoT and smart sensors, both the end-customers and shippers can be made aware of the location of shipments via SMS alerts and email notifications to improve the last-mile delivery system significantly.
(ii) Enable digital payments
- Integrated payments make it easier to collate financial data and cross analyze revenue from different channels.
- For customers, the ability to pay using digital payment channels like UPI or digital wallets at their doorstep lets them enjoy the convenience and safety of COD without actually having to deal with real money.
- You can think of a QR scanning feature on your delivery app (like we do) that can be used for making payments for COD shipments via UPI by scanning a barcode, instantly at the doorstep.
4. Provide Value Added Services like Analytics and Reverse Logistics
Technology-enabled logistics don’t just make the supply chain more visible but also unlock a wealth of analytics by creating a unified system that integrates inventory monitoring, digital payments, sales analytics, restocking, and customer relationship management.
For merchants, this:
(i) Improves the overall delivery system
(ii) Empowers them with actionable data that can be used for optimizing inventory, sales, marketing, etc.
At Shadowfax, we offer several value-added services to our clients like:
- Electronic proof of delivery
- Integrated payments
- Dynamic doorstep QC for reverse pick-ups to enable direct shipping
The result is a fully integrated supply chain with connected offline and online channels and logistics — leading to fast, efficient and reliable deliveries with minimal human intervention.
If you wish to future-proof your supply chain and build a lean and efficient ecosystem for retail sales in the post-COVID era, partnering with a tech-first 3PL company can help you bring about the transformation. Get in touch to know more.