Why E-Commerce Is Important To Alleviate The Impact Of COVID-19 On The Retail Industry
The COVID 19 pandemic has brought the commercial world to a standstill. Only stores that sell essential goods are open. The lockdown and WFH (work from home) has brought about a drastic change in people’s shopping habits. Retail stores all over the globe experience peak shopping hours during weekends or late evenings. But the scene is different now.
What next is the BIG question? How would life be after COVID 19?
No virus has had an impact of this sort ever. So it will take time for the world to recover. Health experts predict that social distancing will have to continue even after the lockdown ends. This can be a big blow to the retail industry. This is where the power of E-commerce comes in!
It is true that the government currently allows E-commerce operations for the delivery of essential goods only. Government authorities in metropolitan cities have tied up with prominent E-commerce service providers to ensure the delivery of essential goods and medicines during the lockdown even though, delivery is mostly delayed due to labor shortages and capacity issues.
E-commerce services are the only means to ensure social distancing while maintaining the economic operations of the country immediately after the lockdown ends. For every e-commerce delivery person, 350 people can avoid going to a retail store each day on average. These platforms can empower local businesses that are presently struggling, by facilitating the order and delivery of goods.
E-commerce will also enable micro, small, and macro enterprises (MSMEs) to compete with larger counterparts by providing access to wider markets through competitive pricing. Agriculture remains the core of developing nations like that of India and E-commerce after COVID 19 is bound to benefit farmers as they can sell directly to wholesale buyers without the need of middlemen who end up exploiting them. It is high time that small business owners and farmers are given awareness about the transparency and endless possibilities of E-commerce.
Broken supply chains and regulatory issues have taken a toll on E-commerce for now. But things will be brighter once the lockdown ends as people will look forward to the ‘safe shopping experience’ from the comfort of their homes. The e-commerce giants Amazon and Flipkart are planning big sale events in May, once the restrictions are lifted and have asked brands to stock up on non-essential goods for they will be much in demand.
The world will experience a major recession post-COVID 19 but national governments are already in the process of research on how E-commerce will disable the drastic effects of COVID 19. Awareness and capacity-building exercises for MSMEs and farmers, easing of regulatory actions and enhancing the penetration of E-commerce to consumers in rural areas will indeed result in a digital economy that is safe and beneficial to all.
The future belongs to E-commerce and a dedicated fully-functional E-commerce chain is the best way to maintain social distancing and enable the retail market to recover.