In recent times the talk in the retail and e-commerce sectors has been all about speed. Demand for immediate delivery services has led to the rise of QCommerce or Quick Commerce. And as competition picks on, quick commerce sets players who deliver faster, aside from the rest. Hyperlocal deliveries where the function is targeted towards short distances or shorter durations are a part of this growing trend. The product offerings in the quick commerce space are categorized as consumables, adjacent or long-tail categories.
Revolutionizing Product Delivery
Although traditional e-commerce revolutionized the delivery landscape through online ordering, it takes a minimum of 3-5 business days for delivery. On the other hand, Qcommerce has made inroads into Indian cities making small quantities of goods available to consumers with instant delivery on a whenever and wherever need basis. In the grocery segment, where Q-commerce is making strides, it supports and relies on local businesses and stores for its success. For the ever-busy customers, especially from Tier 1 & Tier 2 cities, these concepts of ‘on-demand delivery’ and ‘e-grocery’, have grown on to become favoured options.
Consumers with busy lifestyles, rapid urbanization, lockdowns, and greater smartphone access among the ageing population are giving rise to the Qcommerce culture. Pricing and discounts have been a critical aspect of e-commerce and also a huge reason why online shopping has taken off world-over. Online shopping is an experience that offers the convenience of making purchases of items as and when it suits customers, by using a method of payment that they like. Customer demands have been altered so much through quick commerce that the focus has now shifted from prices to convenience.
Customers now appreciate the speed, ease, choice, and convenience over prices and offers. Spoilt for choice, both online and on the high street, consumers are looking for factors that will make every shopping experience unique and more convenient. For consumers who find it difficult to make time, Qcommerce has become a valued service with many people willing to pay a higher price for on-demand delivery as the next level of customer experience.
The quick commerce market in India has expanded over the pandemic to include consumables like fresh staples, packaged foods, beverages, home care, and personal care, over-the-counter medicines, pet supplies, and adjacent or long-tail categories like flowers, gifts, books, small electronics, etc.
The future of post-pandemic retail includes the concept of click and pick. The rise in the number of ‘dark stores’ or ‘dotcom stores’ in the metros is a testimonial of this. Dark stores get their name from being dark to indicate that they are closed to the public, and are only used to fulfil online orders by means of being a pick-up or collection centre. Traditional retail stores that operate as local fulfilment centres also help in ensuring that product delivery is carried out quickly and effectively. Though common to grocery supply chains, the trend is fast shifting to other sectors including big box retail, homeware and furniture, lifestyle, and fashion too.
Using the click and pick option, one can order online and either get the products delivered or collect them from selected stores whenever convenient. These centres are strategically located in the inner-urban areas to maximize accessibility to consumers, who have a choice between delivery and self-pick-up. Making quick commerce a reality is the emergence of smaller warehouses spread across a wider network of cities with high order values. These centres have not just ensured timely product fulfilment but have been crucial in aiding the expansion of Q-commerce across Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities of India.
With consumers prioritising convenience and speed, quick commerce is surely here to stay and revolutionalise the ecommerce industry.
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