Q-commerce (quick trade) in India has seen massive growth over the past couple of years. As the name suggests, it facilitates faster e-commerce deliveries, usually same day or within hours. While this concept has been around for some time in the West, the pandemic has accelerated its adoption in the Indian market. Gradually, online shopping of direct-to-customer (D2C) brands with fast deliveries has become increasingly popular.
Customers have grown accustomed to same-day deliveries for virtually everything since the introduction of online D2C portals, including groceries, healthcare, and daily-use products. In addition, the fast delivery system allows companies to deliver within 10 to 30 minutes of ordering. Q-commerce now accounts for about 13% of the $5.5 billion online grocery industry, and that figure will only grow as the fast-delivery trend gains traction.
Q-Commerce’s customer-centric approach
E-commerce in India is growing at a rapid pace and is expected to reach $188 billion by 2025. This is mainly due to rapidly changing consumer demand centered on convenience and efficiency. According to a recent survey, around 50% of global shoppers make purchasing decisions based on delivery speed. Gradually, D2C brands are moving towards integrating technological solutions to deliver phygital experiences to customers. By keeping Kirana and dark shops at the center of the supply chain through the Q-commerce mechanism, sellers improve shopping experiences. Here, fast delivery plays an important role.
Speed is the major element of Q-commerce. It’s no longer about waiting days after placing an order, but getting immediate delivery when needed. In addition, many Q-commerce brands offer small order sizes for lower cost products with no or minimal shipping costs. Unlike many e-commerce platforms, this same-day delivery mechanism typically has zero to a nominal minimum on almost all orders. With these multiple benefits, D2C brands can reach more customers, provide better services, and improve sales through Q-commerce practices and technology tools.
Is Q-Commerce a sustainable business model?
While fast deliveries have been the sales game for businesses, they come with their own set of challenges. First, businesses that intend to adopt Q-commerce may encounter challenges when streamlining product sourcing, order management, and organizing logistics. The low turnaround time can be attractive for customers, but can be really cumbersome for businesses. In such a scenario, SaaS-based order management and logistics tools have simplified everything from order taking, to tracking payments, to designing the logistics route. It facilitates the daily operations of an online business.
Second, a range of D2C brands using Q-commerce promise “ten-minute deliveries”. To achieve this, riders passing through congested areas might have to navigate through traffic and even skip red lights when delivering an order that calls driver safety into question. Here, e-commerce management platforms help streamline all operations while optimizing routes to improve passenger experience. This, in turn, adds to the convenience of delivery managers while ensuring orders are fulfilled within the promised time frame.
Additionally, these new-age platforms reduce the likelihood of misdelivery of products. For example, sellers can easily map orders with product details on a single window while automatically assigning tasks to delivery managers. It improves the accuracy of command-address relationships. Therefore, Q-commerce can be a sustainable option for businesses that use technology-driven platforms to manage their end-to-end operations.
Multiple Benefits of Q-Commerce for D2C Businesses
Q-commerce basically operates on the back of several dark warehouses located close to the location of the target group. By connecting all touchpoints through a single order management platform, businesses can easily track everything from order entry to delivery to the customer’s doorstep. Additionally, new-era operations management solutions allow businesses to seamlessly coordinate all ground-level activities. At its core, the successful adoption and implementation of Q-commerce is enabled by technological advancements in supply chain and logistics methods.
Let’s see how Q-commerce via technology-driven solutions can help D2C brands grow their business online:
– Brand awareness and best value proposition: The rise of online shopping has changed the way businesses operate. D2C companies that run their operations through SaaS solutions are able to track orders and ensure prompt delivery. The Q-commerce mechanism has enabled brands to reach a wider customer base and provides an enriched experience. While providing instant gratification to customers, it also helps build brand awareness on a large scale.
– Loyalty and acquisition of new customers: A value-added service like on-demand delivery helps D2C brands achieve lifetime value for the customer. Obtaining products in a shorter time satisfies customers and leads to greater reliability. Here, Q-commerce also enables fast delivery of orders through optimal replenishment of high-demand products. This builds customer loyalty and wins new customers.
– Increased profit margins: By employing sustainable Q-commerce practices with technology-driven tools, businesses can streamline all of their operations from sourcing, storage, sales, receiving payments, and customer service. This also helps to increase the volume of turnover. Increased orders fulfilled on time can lead to improved revenue and business growth.
The path to follow
New age consumers, including Millennials and GenZ, are gradually shifting from Kirana stores to shopping online. By 2030, online retail spending in India is expected to grow sixfold to $300 billion. This is propelling the exponential development of the rapid commerce market, which is expected to reach 5.5 billion by 2025. To keep pace with this continued growth, D2C companies must scale up and adopt rapid commerce practices.
Q-commerce services are at the forefront of Indian retail market penetration in Tier II, III and beyond cities. According to recent reports, Q-commerce platforms that offer delivery in 10-20 minutes are growing about 25% faster than those that deliver in four hours or more. This is invariably the result of a growing trend towards convenience shopping, unplanned shopping behavior and small-scale purchases. In the wake of this growing competition to offer convenience shopping and faster deliveries, businesses using technology-driven Q-commerce solutions will experience substantial business growth.