Consumer preferences are ever-changing. We saw a shift towards online shopping dominated by marketplaces, and now are fed up with all the clutter. We are witnessing the trend of buying locally and directly from brands online. With faster delivery time and lower logistics costs, Local commerce provides a competing edge for small businesses and brands. In this piece, we have collated a series of articles that will explain the importance of selling local, the shift in consumer buying behavior and how local businesses and brands can sell locally.
What is local commerce?
First let’s try and understand what local commerce is. In the simplest terms, local commerce can be understood as the buying and selling of goods and services within a locality.
However, the term local commerce as the next generation of e-commerce entails much more as it brings in the utilization of technology to carry out the entire process of ordering, delivery, and even marketing.
Local commerce has 2 main parties involved. The buyer, who purchases the goods and services being offered, and the seller who provides these goods and services. Throughout this blog we’ll be looking at some key touchpoints on how sellers can improve the experience of their customers while also increasing their operational efficiency.
Why move to local commerce?
The increasing demands of the consumers of having their needs fulfilled as quickly as possible has meant that larger companies have to go nearer to their customers. Through cloud kitchens, or dark stores, larger companies have been able to make their way into localities and neighborhoods.
This has led to a high portion of the customer base of a local business to switch to other brands which promise to deliver in mere minutes.
Let’s break down the need to move to local commerce for both brands, and local businesses.
For Local businesses
With large players entering into the market using the latest technology and large marketing budgets, it often becomes tough for local businesses to compete. However, there is always one key factor that cannot be replaced. Customer loyalty.
Many local stores are situated within a neighborhood, and have been there for many years. Serving generations and being established as the go to place for urgent needs. With a switch into local commerce, these local businesses can very easily start taking orders online, and improve their customers’ experience by taking their store to their customers’ door. To add to this, an efficient delivery management solution can just as easily reduce the time taken to deliver these orders to customers.
Putting these two together, can very easily help businesses compete in this digital era. It is also important to remember that if the level of services can be matched, nowadays every consumer prefers to support local businesses and can be highly motivated to choose a local business over any other option.
It is important to understand that more and more brands are looking to bring themselves closer to their customers, in an attempt to reach them faster than ever. With large players in the market like Weezy, Kravemart, Blinkit, Zepto, Swiggy to name a few, the industry trend points to one thing for certain.
Every brand is making a conscious effort to reach their customer faster and safely. In today’s day and age, it is simply not enough for brands to have a central warehouse and deliver their offerings in even one day. Brands must go local. Through their operations, with cloud kitchens, dark stores, or localized warehouses. Even through their business promises, one thing that cannot be emphasized enough is the need to go closer to customers.
Some of the best examples in local commerce
What has been the reaction of big companies to local commerce
Looking at the above success stories, one thing was made clear to every organization.
The way of operating in the hyperlocal space had taken a complete turn. With moving closer to customers and setting up locally becoming all but a necessity to survive in this cut throat competitive sector.
The fastest way for big brands to enter this space was through acquisitions. Conventionally setting up operations in a newly emerged sector is something that takes time, understanding the landscape, getting the know-how, and most importantly acquiring customers.
This method of acquisition helped larger brands go to market fast within this sector, without having to spend too much time in planning and executing various strategies as they had access to tried, tested and proven business functions.
Let’s look at some of the examples.
- Zomato acquires blinkit
- Reliance acquires 25.8% stake in Dunzo
- Getir acquires weezy
- Instacart acquires CaperAI
This was one side of how companies entered quick commerce through acquisition, on the other hand, companies also moved to a channel enabling them to sell direct to consumer (D2C).
Bisleri was one such organization that saw great success in shifting to D2C with the introduction of [email protected] when the Covid 19 pandemic started.
“Since last year, there has been a shift towards people buying even essentials online. As a result, we launched [email protected] last year during the lockdown. In the last one year, and also during these last few weeks when Covid numbers have been going up, we have seen an increase in demand on our website. Our portal provides consumers an access to the whole range of Bisleri products which we deliver to their doorsteps. We currently operate in 20 cities, a number we are aiming to increase to 40 within the next few months,” shared Angelo George, CEO, Bisleri India.
How to move to local commerce
To understand how a brand or local business can move to local commerce, it’s important to understand the various touch points involved and how they tie up to the bigger picture.
A seamless online ordering experience.
- The first and perhaps most important aspect of local commerce is the ordering experience of a customer and the processes involved within it. For a business it is important to display all your offerings in a manner which allows the user to go through them clearly, as in an offline store, a customer could simply walk around and look at the options available to them.
- A prerequisite for local commerce is to serve within a particular locality to ensure the standards of service are met. Geofencing is another important feature, which ensures that only customers ordering within a preset geographical area are able to go ahead and place their orders.
- It is important to remember that serving locally increases the emphasis on the experience as every impression is crucial in bringing customers back. This leads us to inventory management. While showcasing what is there to offer, it must be made sure that the product or service is available and can be provided to the customer.
If you’re looking for a solution to create a seamless online ordering experience, why don’t you go ahead and try ‘Yelo’. A dynamic SaaS based online ordering solution that fulfills what we’ve discussed and also provides much more. Yelo is suitable for a local store, a multi store brand, or even large enterprises. What’s more is that business can scale up from one stage to another seamlessly. With a free 14 day trial to explore the platform and understand if it’s the right fit for your business, surely it’s worth a look.
Delivering to your customers.
The second, but very important aspect of local commerce is the delivery experience.
By including the right delivery management and route optimization software in deliveries, not only can the delivery time be reduced, but also the profitability can be maximized with efficiency and optimization.
- Delivery Management is the first aspect of delivering right, which focuses on making sure your delivery fleet is able to take on a set number of orders, and is empowered with the right information and infrastructure to be as efficient as possible, things like, a dedicated Driver delivery app and an advanced fleet tracking software also come into picture here.
- Route optimization is the second aspect of delivering, which focuses on delivering smarter. Essentially route optimization enables riders to understand what is the shortest route to their destination, adapting to any stops that need to be made through the journey, clubbing multiple orders and understanding the shortest overall delivery route.
If a solution to enable smarter deliveries to create operational efficiency is what you need, then you could have a look at ‘Tookan’. Tookan is an industry leading solution for delivery management and route optimisation. Some of the leading brands in the world have been able to maximize their operational efficiencies with this robust solution. You can take advantage of a free trial and understand if it’s the right fit for you!
Engagement and customer retention.
At the end of the day, for every business it is imperative to create a dialogue with customers to improve their journey and retain customers to bring them back for more orders. This can be ensured through customer engagement and marketing automation.
- Conversational support is the first step in customer engagement to allow them to engage in conversation with your organization. Communicating through chat bots, or even phone calls allows a customer to clarify any concerns that they may have and build a sense of trust while showing someone is available to help them if they have the need.
- Marketing automation enables an organization with omnichannel engagement to interact with customers across multiple channels. From emails, push notifications, SMS blasts and even WhatsApp marketing. Building a clear communication enables customer retention which ensures that the customer stays loyal to the brand.
If you’re interested in powering your business with a feature packed Customer Engagement & marketing automation platform, you should check out ‘Hippo’. Hippo empowers brands with conversational support as well as customer engagement automations so make sure the points we discussed above can be truly achieved.
Going the extra mile
We at Jungleworks have been focused on creating equity for local commerce (local equity page) in this competitive digital era. Through our years of industry knowledge and experience, we have created a complete ecosystem of all our solutions that are deeply integrated, providing an end to end tech solution for local commerce. The Jungleworks hyperlocal stack allows businesses to start, scale, and sustain their operations across local commerce.