Diwali is the annual festival of light celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists globally. On the day of Diwali, people celebrate by lighting fireworks and candles to represent light over darkness, and the belief that good will always triumph over evil. But that’s not the only way that Indian households celebrate the festival – a big part of Diwali is the sharing of gifts. As such, the Diwali season is one of the most important times for retailers in India.
In fact, this period has been referred to as “India’s Black Friday and Christmas combined”. With so much riding on it, retailers regularly go head-to-head in the fight to provide bigger and better discounts than the other.
Consequently, with Diwali 2018 on the horizon, retail supply chains must be ready to meet another massive spike in customer demand – to ensure Diwali sales boom, there are several critical factors that need to be in place.
A move to omnichannel
A thriving omnichannel supply chain, ready to meet the needs of the customer any time, any place is essential during this time of year. Whether the customer is making a quick purchase on their mobile phone or from a brick-and-mortar location, retailers must be ready to fulfill every order in a quick and efficient manner. If they don’t, the result will likely be delayed deliveries and frustrated customers who will be quick to share their displeasure online, and just as fast to take their business elsewhere.
Connected planning will be the guiding light
Another important factor is a strong connection among plans across the organisation. A connected approach to planning can help ensure that, when massive promotions like Diwali are launched, supply is ready to meet demand, ultimately leaving financial planners smiling from ear-to-ear as the profits roll in.
When supply chain planners have visibility into marketing promotion plans, they can ensure that supply forecasts meet the demand brought on by those promotions. A strong connection also reduces the risk of millions of dollars of unused inventory sitting in a warehouse because of inaccurate forecasts.
A connected approach to planning can also help enterprises better analyse “what-if” scenarios well ahead of busy seasons to better understand a wide array of different outcomes and ensure that plans are ready for whatever comes their way. An excellent way to reap the benefits of these connections is to house all plans in a cloud-based, connected platform that allows end-to-end supply chain visibility, real-time changes and robust scenario-planning capabilities.
Optimisation is key
Finally, inventory and supply network optimisation is essential when holiday sales peak. Inventory optimisation helps you determine when and where to store inventory and for how long at different points in the supply chain, and it’s essential to make sure that you deliver on time, every time to ensure that customers have every reason to remain loyal to the brand.
Supply network optimisation focuses on getting products from raw material to the consumer in the most efficient way possible. And in a buying season like Diwali, if retailers want to ensure they can meet demand without any costly waste, they simply cannot afford not to know whether their supply networks are fully optimised.
Ultimately, Diwali presents retailers with an extraordinary opportunity to significantly boost company momentum and succeed in smashing profit targets. But to thrive in the bustle of the annual festival, retailers need to ensure that they make every part of the business count. Those with supply chains that master the omnichannel environment, build a connected approach to planning, and refocus on optimisation will be well ahead of the rest.