Quick Commerce is all about being fast and with consumer demands soaring to new skies with every passing day, it’s fair to say that it is the natural evolution of e-commerce. So, how can existing and new players do it right? How can marketers take advantage of the q-commerce trends in the market? Communicate sat down with Sachinn Lala, CEO and Founder of Liquid Retail to find answers to these questions.
Time is a powerful determining factor in every decision we make. From placing an order for the best shawarma sandwich in the neighborhood to booking a pair of sneakers, we want it ASAP!
With e-commerce sales expected to make up a whopping 22 percent of retail sales by 2023, retailers are getting focused on unlocking full growth in the field. One trend that lies at the intersection of enabling this growth and efficiency is q-commerce.
Sachinn Lala, CEO, and Founder of Liquid Retail, an independent agency dedicated to shopper marketing and e-commerce solutions, discusses with Communicate the need for marketers and businesses to adopt q-commerce approaches. Lala also discusses the factors that might affect q-commerce growth in the region.
COVID-19 changed the game
F&B and retail were perhaps two of the many hardest-hit industries during the pandemic. Under lockdown, both consumers and retailers looked for new ways to get what they want. Lala explains, “the reality is that Covid-19 forced businesses to reimagine their conventional and operational models. The hospitality and travel sector almost came to a halt, and shopper behavior underwent a massive transformation. The pandemic forced shoppers to rethink buying.”
Digital offering and food delivery demands have surged and continue to, ever since the lockdown. Reports have shown that up to 75% of consumers turned to e-commerce in UAE, making purchases across all product categories. By the end of 2021, consumers in the UAE have also been buying more through foreign e-commerce, increasing its percentage in sales to 26%.
“As long as they were getting the same quality of the product they didn't care about where they were buying the product from. Consumers looked for convenient ways of buying a particular product and quick commerce was a natural progression. As a region, we like convenience, and are happy to pay the premium,” adds Lala.
According to Lala, the region has become more robust in its last-mile delivery. He explains, “we are one of the few countries that have a brilliant infrastructure. We are almost delivering double-digit growth. When it comes to e-commerce, we are set to reach 5 billion in sales of the overall commerce market, which means that there is business attracting the right funding and talent. With major players like Noon and Talabat providing 15-minute food and grocery delivery options, competitors and existing e-commerce businesses are catching up with them.”
Things that retailers NEED to get right
The market share for q-commerce in the MENA region is expected to reach about $47 billion by 2030, according to a report commissioned by Redseer. Now is the time for retailers to revamp their strategies. Lala lists three important elements that retailers should get right when entering q-commerce:
Product Portfolio: The collection of all the products or services offered by a business is the first thing retailers need to get right, according to Lala. “Retailers need to make sure that their portfolio aligns with their goals and brand values while also ensuring that they’re coordinating with brands to obtain the right SKU code for each product they’re sourcing,” he explains.
Smooth Supply Chain Management: With the demand for rapid delivery options, smooth inventory and supply chain management becomes mandatory. Dark Stores, according to Lala can facilitate better supply chain management. “A dark store is simply a distribution center full of products from the online portfolio. If a retailer, for example, is running out of stock every three days, the business can set up a dark store ensuring their stock is fulfilled every three days,” he adds.
Personalized Consumer Experiences: “If a consumer is attached to a certain brand of toothpaste, for instance, how do we ensure that they might want to buy it again? This is where commerce strategy comes into play,” says Lala. When you have such a large chunk of shoppers demanding agility, a seamless user experience allows them to feel connected to the brand further building a long-term experience
Amid constantly evolving consumer behavior and soaring fuel prices, retailers are hovering over the same struggles. Lala explains how these external factors are affecting the commerce market in the region, “shopper behavior is constantly changing not only because of the pandemic, with increasing fuel prices consumers might not be shopping in stores but continue to find other ways of fulfilling their need. The truth is that a shopper always wants the best value for money, and they want the most convenient way of getting the product. In this region, if they're able to get entertained while they are shopping, that’s even better,”
In today’s landscape, q-commerce is the next level-up. With the right mix of technology, customer experience, and infrastructure, retailers can deliver better to their existing and potential target markets. Although the sector is set to spike in the next few years, Lala believes that the region needs a little more time. “q-commerce is still very nascent. We need to give it the right time and space for it to grow here. Given that, solution providers like us need to take calculated action calls on what's right and determine the right direction, so that retailers can flourish on this opportunity,” concludes Lala.