Gauri Bhatia

Gauri Bhatia is the founder of TUS, a branding consultancy specializing in Content Creation and Marketing Strategy

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Current Trends: Are Ecommerce Platforms Adding To Rising Inflation?

We can’t go back to the normal retail experience, and that’s a fact. ‘Localised-and-limited’ curbs the whole ‘exclusive’ buying experience- and that’s not good for innovation

In the ‘grand scheme of things’, in our utopian universe, inflation will reverse, costs will average out, and we’ll all be consuming standardized meal replacement shakes for food. The hierarchal disparity will mute, maybe until the next pandemic- but up until we reach that stage- capitalism will remain one of the root causes of inflation- and ecommerce, of capitalism. With no regulation of prices involved, every delta of change causes a temporary market monopoly, that causes a sudden demand surge- for the moment.

This is a two-prong problem- one, that this distressed, dispersed supply chain caused by sudden demand, that causes a much larger impact than the sold-out section that blinks on the new vegan start-up’s website. With Covid (you probably did not want to hear it, but unfortunately, that is one of the leading factors in the supply chain distress), many ports have shut down, importing has been banned, and freight has slowed down because of hygiene and labour policies.

The second is the enriched customer experience that revolves around sales. Either this involves the receipt-to-return phase, where people have ready access to customer care, an easy delivery and return system, convenient packaging, or, it’s a part of the decision-making experience (Marketing), where exclusivity is key, influencers act like friends, and big neon gifs and protruding AR generated shoes on Times Square go viral, telling you that Nike is the best shoe, like, ever.

We can’t go back to the normal retail experience, and that’s a fact. ‘Localised-and-limited’ curbs the whole ‘exclusive’ buying experience- and that’s not good for innovation.

The solution? Licensed, research backed claims on locally sourced and manufactured products that give you true monopoly in the market.

Move away from cosmetic claims. By 2030, no one will care if your 14-hour lipstick now lasts 16, was made in Japan, or if you have 200 shades of red. I can mix in some brown myself.

Countries will become self-sufficient (in the grand scheme of things) but for now, because of the disparity and the dependency on import, countries are essentially forced to disrupt their manufacturing models and focus more on local procurement. This means that India will probably finally eat the bearing of their own fruit (which I hope, is avocado).

For this, we need to make R&D a key priority for a growing business. Internalizing the research team helps enable the solution- which, for now is the issue of ethical production.

Of course, I can slap on a label that says “organic” or “vegan”, but if the machine used to pack was made by minors, then who am I to monetize these claims. Patented technology, an enabled and wholesome self-sufficient production unit, and CSR is still in trend.

Understandably, variety and a richer customer experience requires money. But to punish the customer, for making a choice, such as sustainability, ethical sourcing, a globalized experience, and fair labor laws, is just uncool. Let them crave a the experience- find a way to make it work, and don’t put them in a moral dilemma.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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