As consumer electronic brands look at reinventing their supply chain to reach Tier 2,3,4 cities, India’s largest business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce platform Udaan is emerging as a preferred trade partner. While some companies are partnering exclusively with Udaan, many are opting for it in addition to their existing supply chain. Electronics, which contributes to around 15 per cent of Udaan’s overall business, has witnessed significant growth. The company has already onboarded 60 per cent growth in new brand partnerships in the first quarter of 2022, over the same period last year. While the company did not disclose the names and numbers, some of the leading partner electronic brands include Apple, Samsung, boAt, Sandisk, Karbonn, pTron, Noise and Lava to name a few. The latest distribution partnership was with QThree Ventures for Kodak and Treeview brands of televisions.
Earlier, manufacturers had to invest in setting up a distribution channel that involved national and regional distributors, sub-distributors, warehouse, amongst others. Udaan, on the other hand, has warehouses at regional and state level, eliminating OEMs to invest in warehousing and sub-distributors. For this, the buyers pay for logistics cost and sellers pay commission to the platform.
“The pandemic gave a significant thrust to India’s digital economy. Overnight, digital became an imperative rather than a mere aspiration. Through the course of the pandemic and associated lockdowns, the unorganised B2B sector has also seen an acceleration in tech adoption, driven by players, such as Udaan. In the absence of traditional supply chains, digital-led initiatives fostered swifter adoption amongst mom-and-pop stores. With its full-stack horizontal platform focus, backed by strong logistics, Udaan has been driving B2B commerce in aspirational India,” argued Prabhu Ram, Head - Industry Intelligence Group, Cyber Media Research.
Consumer demand for better and more economical devices is resulting in shorter life cycles on products. They research online and shop online, they also look at products offline and shop online. Hirendrakumar Rathod, Head - Electronics Category, Udaan, told Business Today, “The lines between online and offline are blurring rapidly. As new products have to find faster ways of reaching consumers, most OEMs like to outsource their non-core supply chain processes to be able to focus on design and product differentiation. With help of our predictive analysis manufacturers can reach retailers in a cost-efficient manner.”
Just like e-commerce platform Flipkart that reaches out to over 18,000 pincodes, Udaan has a network in 1500 cities on a next day delivery basis.
With e-commerce serving the farthest of pin codes, consumer purchase behaviour has undergone a significant change. Customer in a Tier 4 town does not wait and want to have their hands on the latest technology device the day it is launched.
“The customers also have a plethora of choices between brands and between available avenues to shop. Hence retailers do not have a choice but to adopt technology to be able to serve this demand. Our experience tells us that today most retailers are more than willing to adopt to newer technology. Retailers are no more a stand-alone entity but are an extension of the overall supply chain which is digitally connected,” added Rathod.
Delivering the complete solution through a mobile application, the data and insights collected, Udaan claims to help manufacturers manage their stocks and forecast demand. In addition, Udaan also offers reverse logistics for damaged and return issues.
While Udaan is the biggest in the e-commerce space, Arzooo is another technology platform that provides a suite of solutions to offline retailers, including virtual inventory and delivery services, along with payment and financing solutions for electronics. The company had secured a $7.5 million Series A funding led by WRVI Capital in 2020 and another $6 million from venture debt fund Trifecta Capital in 2021.
As experts point out, with the deeper penetration of e-commerce into the Indian market, B2B marketplaces will only see a growth in the years ahead.
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