By UrbanFox on Aug 12, 2020 5:00:28 PM
Be Water, My Friend
Bruce Lee is not only one of most influential martial artists in history but a cultural icon whose classic quote “be water, my friend” still resonates today. There are interesting parallels we can draw from Bruce Lee’s mantra for retail brands in their journey to find success with eCommerce, especially in the wake of the global pandemic.
A recent Nielsen survey found that in Singapore alone, two in five consumers increased their online shopping activities since the Covid-19 outbreak, and over three-quarters indicated they are unlikely to return to pre-outbreak shopping levels at physical retail. With the Covid-19 pandemic already converting offline shoppers to online, it is crucial for brands to look at pursuing eCommerce more meaningfully, especially those that traditionally relied on a physical retail approach.
Agile Like Water
With consumer habits changing and likely for good, brands can quickly find success when expanding or exploring an e-commerce presence via online marketplaces like Lazada, Shopee, Qoo10 and Zalora to complement physical shopfronts.
Firstly, there are no physical limits to online marketplaces, the number of shoppers at any one time or where they are shopping from. This means you are not only reaching more customers but new ones from oversea locations as well, without having to invest in establishing a physical retail presence in new markets.
Beyond the benefits similar to setting up your shop in a traditional shopping mall, these digital shops can offer so much more in helping brands address and adapt to the new ways consumer are shopping.
Brands will also have immediate access to the right data to make the right decisions from online marketplaces. With first-hand access to customer intentions, behaviors and preferences, your brand can identify areas of growth to detect new or missed opportunities and respond quickly and efficiently to changing demand.
For example, we were able to help brands like Tiger Beer and Pringle’s to leverage opportunities surfaced by real-time trends observed on marketplaces to cross-sell their products and ride on festivities to create special bundles for sale online. Instead of relying just on large-format campaigns and occasions, we captured consumer attention and sales by being adaptable to the here and now.
While the immediate online sales opportunities are vast, brands can maximise their move online by merging the backend processes for offline retail channels. Like Bruce Lee’s unique Jeet Kune Do martial arts style, how can brands attain maximum effect with minimal effort across all retail fronts?
Adaptable Like Water
Dealing with multiple supply chains for both online and offline retail is simply not ideal when the goal of going online is to build a sustainable and complementary sales channel for the long term with changing consumer shopping behaviours, not just a stopgap measure while foot traffic at physical shops are low.
But creating a seamless customer experience and managing inventory across multiple channels can be challenging for brands, especially when there are unpredictable spikes in demand. Brands can better manage this with an omnichannel management strategy integrating both offline and online channels to ensure full visibility and control of inventory across the retail spectrum.
Mondelez International, behind of household food & beverage brands like Oreo and one of our longest standing partners, has seen the benefits from combining inventory for both offline and online inventory at a single location. Apart from being able to delegate proper stock levels to each of their online and offline touchpoints, the full visibility Mondelez has means it can strengthen its procurement process and additional efficiencies across the value and supply chain.
By combining the insights gleaned on shopping preferences and product performances from both online and offline sales, brands can better forecast demand, track and predict inventory levels, minimize inventory stockouts and plan backorders for popular items.
Having this flexibility was key to our brand partner, Beachbody Gear, a sports fashion company. The start of circuit breaker measures in Singapore severely affected their physical retail sales. The brand had to quickly divert stocks bound for the shelves to their brand.com online store, and a new marketplace shopfront on Shopee. Because they committed to an omnichannel approach to retail, Beachbody Gear was able to change course swiftly and successfully, following the move of shoppers from offline to online.
These decisions are not easy to make for new or smaller brands looking to eCommerce for the first time. Whether your current logistics approach is 1PL or 5PL, finding the right partner that can help you ride the fast-changing waves of retail is key.
Be Like Water
Your logistics partner should be like water too. Going beyond warehousing, your partner of choice should holistically fulfil your needs for eCommerce at the same time as well. For example, an omnichannel logistics platform like ours empowers brands to increase customer satisfaction levels by ensuring shorter delivery time, improve turnaround time and strengthening the returns process.
Our crowdsourcing approach to last-mile delivery means we are able to agilely address delivery demand while maintaining a lean logistics structure. Especially during mega online sales campaigns or festive periods, we can tap into a pool of 6,000 to 7,000 delivery partners to get our customer’s products to the consumer within one to three working days during non-peak seasons.
In the past few months during the pandemic, we saw nearly three times growth in eCommerce inventory buffer in our spaces as well as a two-fold growth in daily deliveries during the circuit breaker period. But throughout this surge in demand, we were still able to maintain our promise of one to three days deliveries because of our agile omnichannel model.
Going beyond logistics, we also work closely with our online marketplace partners to provide actionable insights to improve our brand partner’s front-end sell-through performance from best selling products to the data on channels, campaigns and more.
With consumers embracing the future of online and offline retail today, brands should channel their inner Bruce Lee and go after success by being agile, adaptable and like water. Harnessing the power of the omnichannel logistics strategy, UrbanFox can help you to attain maximum effect with minimal effort.
As an Omnichannel enabler, we empower homegrown and global brands to strengthen their presence in the region through integrated B2B2C fulfilment, cross-border and last-mile distribution, real-time inventory, and online-to-offline retail management.