Ways to Future-proof On-demand Retail

Authored by Aarohi Parikh on May 19, 2021


The on-demand retail sector is surging relentlessly over the past few months. We all have been spectators ourselves of how the pandemic situation added to the growth of the online retail industry. And it paved the path for a tectonic shift in the retail landscape. With that said, if you are still disinclined towards embracing on-demand retail, you must contemplate well.

The online retail sector in the US alone is estimated to transcend the $740 billion mark by 2023. Moreover, on-demand grocery has been one of the latest contributors to the on-demand retail economy. So much so that the online grocery purchase market has compelled retailers to adopt multi-channel sales channels.

The on-demand retail sector is at the center of a series of upcoming changes in the retail industry. And you cannot ignore the intimidating competition in the sector, which is also growing resolutely. 

Therefore, as you plan to capitalize on the growth of the on-demand retail industry, you must not miss out on making your business strategy future-proof.

Top Tips to Future-proof Your On-demand Retail Business: 

1. Establish an All-inclusive Setup

The retail landscape is changing abruptly and it is about how many tools you add to your survival kit. Many retail brands are gearing up for advanced e-commerce software that could help them streamline a series of business processes, rather than just acting as a product listing platform. 

 Some of the main areas where advanced e-commerce software can help you with: 

 Offering a platform for on-demand retail to your customers

  • Helping customers track their orders and delivery status
  • Enhancing the shopping experience for consumers
  • Establishing and boosting customer loyalty programs
  • Seamless integration over multi-channel platforms
  • Leveraging automation for increasing business efficiency
  • Escape from traditional paperwork and embracing efficient digital processing


Now, above are just a few capabilities of all-inclusive e-commerce software. And there are several more ways advanced software can make your business future-proof. 

Today, when the on-demand retail sector is summoning huge traffic, you would not wish to settle down for losing a significant amount of potential customers to your competitors. Therefore, an all-inclusive e-commerce software can help you enhance your customers’ shopping experience and increase your sales.

Moreover, such software can allow you multiple integrations with marketing channels, AI software, analytics software, etc. You cannot expect a simple e-commerce website to offer you these advanced features. It is advisable to move forward with a future-proof platform rather than a temporary solution. 

2. Employ AI to the Best of Use

So, the word AI rings a bell for most of the on-demand retailers who have been following the latest e-commerce trends for a while. We have been witnessing how AI and machine learning technologies are helping e-commerce businesses target their marketing strategies in a productive way.

However, still, a majority of online retail businesses are reluctant in employing these technologies for their business. This trend is changing and more retailers are likely to leverage AI and machine learning for their business.

benefits of AI for E-commerce

The growing competition and the smart consumer base further makes the use of AI crucial for e-commerce businesses. You can conclude it as a tip to make your on-demand retail business future-proof.

Several AI-based and machine learning e-commerce tools help you set up automated promotions and deals for your business. Many businesses use AI-based upsell and cross-sell apps on their e-commerce platforms to boost their average order value (AOV) and overall conversions. Moreover, they employ AI for app-based promotions and retargeting strategies. AI-based promotions further help businesses show the right deals to the right consumers at the right time. You can automate these processes through AI-based e-commerce tools.

One can simply use advanced e-commerce apps to integrate these AI-based or machine learning e-commerce tools with their businesses. These can help them leverage AI technology up to the maximum.

3. Demystify Overwhelming Analytics

One of the main reasons why on-demand retailers struggle to employ informed decision-making is that they tend to ignore analytics and business data. While some businesses tend to completely ignore the analytics data, many others are not able to put it to good use owing to its overwhelming nature.

However, with persistent changes in the consumer trends and on-demand retail sector, your business analytics is a crucial tool for your survival kit. Many businesses use several 3rd-party analytics software to generate plentiful of overwhelming data. However, using a 3rd party analytics software comes with its list of challenges. Some of these challenges include:

  • The data may be harder to demystify
  • Often, the data produced is not in real-time
  • You might find it hard to put the data to use or apply automation based on the analytics data
  • There might be security and privacy issues especially with the transactional nature of e-commerce businesses.


A prudent way to leverage analytics for your business is by using advanced e-commerce software that comes in-built with an analytics dashboard. You can demystify the data and sort it to inform your marketing strategies. Some essential data metrics that could add value to your e-commerce strategy and processes include:

  • Monthly sales cycle
  • Monthly revenue figures
  • Overall conversion rate
  • The best performing products and product categories
  • Evident rise in a particular product demand
  • Avg. monthly demand
  • Inventory turns
  • The month-to-month rise in sales
  • Product Mix
  • User metrics on the platform
  • The traffic source offering the best conversions
  • The type of users that convert the best for your business
  • Customer loyalty metrics (repeat orders)
  • Cart abandonment rate and successful deliveries
  • No. of same-day delivery requests
  • The best performing demographics data


Above are some of the important data metrics that will help you fine-tune or maybe guide your e-commerce strategies and management processes. Moreover, with in-built analytics, you will be able to add inputs to your strategy in real-time. You can also utilize your performance data to inform your automation processes.  

4. Organize Efficient Last-Mile Delivery

As per research conducted by Capgemini,

Almost 97% of on-demand retailers feel it is almost impossible for them to sustain free shipping unless they are able to reduce the delivery cost. These businesses also believe that automation can play a significant role in reducing shipping costs.

Moreover, a report claims that 43% of supply chain management personnel believe that inefficiencies in the traditional last-mile delivery processes are a reason for the increase in the shipping cost.

B2B retailers, distributors, and retailers with high delivery volume are most likely to benefits from automated last-mile delivery management. An important tip to future-proof your on-demand retail business is to employ automated last-mile delivery management. This can help you in several ways like:

  • Reducing the cost by warehouse management
  • Automating the sorting process that significantly affects the overall management cost
  • Reducing and eliminating the mistakes associated with manual shipping management
  • Major reduction in delivery fulfilment errors
  • Automated management of return deliveries, thus reducing cost


Advanced e-commerce software can help you automate your shipping management process.

Moreover, you can integrate your software with the last mile delivery app to further streamline and optimize the shipping process. A last-mile delivery software can offer you several other benefits, like:

  • Real-time route optimization to speed up delivery and reduce the overall cost
  • Real-time tracking adds to consumer’s convenience and helps track the delivery personnel’s productivity
  • Automated task allocation that can make the delivery process efficient
  • Easy management of delivery records and reduction of delivery errors owing to mismanaged user profiles
  • Dynamic bill generation for shipping tasks
  • All-inclusive analytics to optimize the productivity of last-mile delivery processes
  • Accurate management of delivery proof and reduction in missed deliveries


Automated last-mile delivery can help retailers reduce the shipping costs significantly. Moreover, when consumers are more inclined towards free shipping, automated LMD management has become a must-have feature to future-proof your online retail business.

5. Streamline Demand & Supply Management

A majority of retail brands consider the growing on-demand retail trend as the future of the retail industry rather than a fad. And many online retailers are experiencing overwhelming demands in contrast to their supply. 

According to the future trends, online retailers would have to streamline their demand & supply management process. In case they miss to do so, they are most likely to lose on oodles of potential customers. Your ‘out of stock’ notifications generally mean new sales for your competitors. Today, a majority of consumers would prefer to switch to a competitor as soon as they see an Out of Stock notification on your e-commerce site. 

Moreover, retailers need to understand that their manual demand & supply management processes might not give retailers enough pace to meet the overwhelming demand from consumers. The demand & supply management can be more crucial in the case of B2B management. 

It is advisable to employ an advanced e-commerce setup that could allow you to establish automated supply & demand management. Moreover, you can establish automated inventory management based on stock assessment. Retailers also need to focus on optimizing the management of their retail and distribution network. It would be highly essential to help them establish a competitive lead in the online retail market.   

6. Capitalize on Omnichannel Opportunities

Now that we have discussed how streamlining your business processes can future-proof your retail business, another significant area of concern is omnichannel opportunities.

Owing to the pandemic situation, some retail businesses have already started cashing on the omnichannel opportunities. Retailers that were more inclined towards offline sales have enrolled curbside pickup, online ordering, and door-to-door delivery into their systems (while continuing with offline sales). 

Moreover, you must know that:


Other than online and offline channels, you need to consider the various important online channels like mobile commerce and social media commerce. 

In fact, you must not fight shy of employing mobile commerce for your retail business if you wish to make a good capital of retail opportunities in the future.

85% of shoppers are most likely to buy from a mobile app instead of a mobile website owing to the impressive user experience that the former offers. 

Some statistics that would best reflect the importance of mobile commerce for the on-demand retail industry, include:


Omnichannel sales will significantly add to your retail capital in the future and you need to take time by the forelock (seize the opportunity ASAP!).

Also Read: Mobile Commerce Trends that will Dominate 2021

7. Keeping your Customers Informed 

We are witnessing some rapid seismic shifts in the retail landscape, and it goes without saying that you need to keep your customers informed.

Whether as a part of your customer loyalty program or in order to gain new customers, you need to inform the consumers how your business is adapting to the changes. And you need to make sure you reach your customers in the most convenient way as they aren’t settling down for any half-baked efforts.

A well-judged way forward is to employ an automated customer loyalty and notification program. This could help you notify your customers and other consumers about the various changes you have made in your retail processes to help serve them better. You can include changes in the form of adding new sales platforms, or adding new shipping processes, or adding the same-day delivery feature to your platform, etc.

Many smart on-demand retail brands have employed advanced e-commerce platforms for their businesses. These platforms help them establish automated customer loyalty programs and notification programs that could keep their target audience informed about the latest additions in their retail processes. These platforms are capable of real-time information update and they can boost the shopping experience for your customers by up to many folds. With that said, it significantly accentuates your conversion rate.

Summary

The seismic changes in the retail industry and the overwhelming move towards on-demand retail is most likely to give impetus to the future trends of online retail. The retail businesses that are quick enough to pick the pace with these future trends can expect a superior stand in the upcoming years.

A quick brief about the tips that can help you future-proof your online retail business:

  • Opt for a comprehensive e-commerce setup that could help you get the maximum out of your business strategies and processes.
  • Focus towards establishing an efficient and streamlined demand & supply management system
  • Utilize AI and machine learning technologies to reach your target audience at the right time and with the right offer
  • Demystify overwhelming analytics and used an advanced e-commerce platform with in-built analytics support to inform your business strategies
  • Optimize your shipping processes and reduce their costs with automated last-mile delivery (LMD) management
  • Start embracing omnichannel retail opportunities and gear up for m-commerce as it already plays a crucial role in the growth of on-demand retail   
  • Adopt better ways to enhance the shopping experience for your customers and keep your customers informed about the changes in your retail processes


Further, if you wish to consult about the growth of your retail business or wish to employ an all-inclusive e-commerce setup for your business, connect with us today.


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