Evolution of Ecommerce Fulfillment: Emerging Trends in 2024

By Madhav Kasturia

The Ecommerce industry globally continues to navigate its way out of quite some challenging waters. The underlying takeaway from my conversations with Indian brands of varying sizes has changed from ‘growth at all-costs’ in 2021 to ‘only sustainable growth’ in 2024. Complexities of Ecommerce Fulfillment still pose challenges, yet open up endless opportunities.

Below are some trends shaping up:

The most pressing issue currently for 3PLs globally is the labour shortage– resulting in skyrocketing labour costs. Whether catering to B2C or B2B fulfillment… operations differ significantly. Having been in this space for the past few years, the trend analysis of our data points indicate that brands that are making way through these current challenges – tend to focus on fulfilling a limited number of SKUs (typically 40 or fewer): simplifying inventory management and strengthening category focus. Going back to the drawing board and growing niche SKUs is helping them foster consumer engagement, brand loyalty, & profitability.

In the initial phases of COVID-19, ecommerce witnessed grave obstacles pertaining to fulfillment and delivery times, when customer impatience reached new heights. Supply chain shocks led to prolonged waiting periods which created an opportunity for quick-commerce platforms like zepto, blinkit to emerge as breakout stars.

Waiting 4-5 business days for online orders has become untenable especially with giants like Amazon & Flipkart expanding their Same-Day or Next-Day Delivery promise and the quick commerce platforms providing goods within minutes. As a result— customer expectations have skyrocketed which has become a struggle for D2C/Ecommerce businesses globally- to catch up. This has given rise to logistics enablers, like Zippee, stepping in to bridge the gap.

In this picture, enablers play a crucial role in assisting businesses to enhance key metrics like conversion rates, order fill rates, and customer retention. Our services, and others like ours, focus on optimizing fulfillment processes, streamlining delivery networks, and leveraging advanced technologies to meet the rising expectations of customers in the Indian market.

Long gone are the days of effortless drop-shipping websites— now, precision is paramount!! Therefore, brands must invest in creating a seamless customer experience— adapting to the evolving ecommerce environment. The future lies in innovative, personalized, & trustworthy ecommerce platforms.

Success hinges on factors like:

  • Targeted Social Media Advertising & Attribution Tracking
  • Meticulously A/B tested conversion funnels
  • Efficient Fulfillment Practices
  • Personalization & Effective Retargeting Strategies

Ecommerce fulfillment centers are now being equipped with automation and robotics to streamline operations. This includes automated picking, packing, and sorting processes, leading to faster order processing and reduced labor costs.

Forward-thinking Indian etailers like Clinikally are deploying artificial intelligence algorithms to analyze vast amounts of data, enabling them to forecast demand more accurately. This can further help optimize inventory levels, minimize stockouts, and enhance overall supply chain efficiency.

Even IoT devices such as sensors and RFID tags are being used across warehouses and logistics networks to track inventory in real-time and monitor environmental conditions.With growing environmental concerns, ecommerce fulfillment companies are adopting technology to optimize delivery routes to minimize carbon emissions, adopt eco-friendly packaging materials, and implement recycling programs.

Technologies like augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are being integrated into logistics operations to enhance training of warehouse staff and facilitate remote troubleshooting and maintenance tasks.

According to Redseer, the Indian Ecommerce industry is expected to cross $300 billion by 2030, reflecting a significant shift towards online shopping— driven by growing internet penetration & income levels.

When it comes to current ecommerce & D2C trends, we at Zippee have been able to execute on 1 critical insight: helping brands stay relevant and top-of-mind through speed. With early conviction on same-day delivery & hyperlocal fulfillment as the norm, we’ve managed to become a vital aspect for 120+ of India’s largest ecommerce brands across categories.

Zippee addresses fulfillment challenges faced by etailers– particularly in the aftermath of a post-COVID ZIRP (zero-interest-rate-policy) consumer environment, with the launch of features like live tracking, same-day delivery pincode validator, and OTP-based deliveries.

In a world where consumers only want the best, I always encourage businesses to fortify their supply chain for a solid online shopping experience.

So, as technology continues to impact every aspect of ecommerce— fulfillment & logistics players like Zippee will be instrumental in ensuring brands not only survive, but also thrive.


(The author is Madhav Kasturia, Founder & CEO of Zippee, and the views expressed in this article are his own)