A perspective on emerging supply chain trends

Until recently, supply chain professionals focused on increasing supply chain efficiency by leveraging global supplier networks to reduce costs through outsourcing. However, the COVID-19 crisis has compelled professionals to rethink supply chain strategies in response to emerging trends.

Shifting channel preferences like digital purchases across consumer-focused industries are resulting in the emergence of new go-to-market models. Sales models in consumer industries were observed to be under pressure and affected by factors like retailer consolidation and the tendency to shift towards omnichannel distribution. 44% millennials have Amazon Prime membership while 35% consumers have started buying groceries online/by phone since the outbreak of Covid-19. The demand for a substantial shift in go-to-market models has further intensified as the pandemic has altered consumer purchasing patterns and behaviour in deep and perhaps lasting ways.

With unemployment surging and quarantine measures continuing to be widespread, consumers continue to be mostly at home. 74% consumers have reported to work from home at least some of the time. Their shopping patterns have shifted drastically to purchasing only essential items, with increased focus on buying health and hygiene products.

Although restrictions related to lockdowns are being gradually lifted across major cities, consumers are still reluctant to go out frequently for shopping and eating, and are consuming more in-house entertainment. Post Covid, 36% consumers are spending more on entertainment and media. PwC’s Global Consumer Insights Survey 2020, conducted to analyse the impact of the pandemic, reported a significant shift in consumer behaviour. Organisations will now have to become more agile and try to utilise omnichannel partnerships to deal with this shifting consumption pattern.

There has been a shift in consumer buying pattern over the last decade, especially as multiple purchasing options in e-commerce have become available. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the shift in e-commerce purchasing by possibly half a decade, resulting in a need for organisations to use their omnichannel distribution capabilities to interact with consumers. During the lockdown, consumers have become comfortable with exploring new options and experimenting with their buying patterns. Organisations can observe such changes in consumer consumption and bring out more value by updating and digitising their supply chains.

It is time for organisations to reflect upon their key capabilities and try to connect them with more omnichannel partnerships, redefine distribution strategies and innovate and invest in e-commerce capabilities. They should focus more on the customer experience side by mapping customer journeys and evolving direct-to-consumer delivery models.

The lifestyle of many consumers has changed completely and become more dynamic, and this exclusive whitepaper on emerging supply chain trends can help organisations understand the pace of consumer change and put them in pole position to navigate the disruption.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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