How e-commerce platforms are lending a new lease of life to offline retailers in the face of Covid-19

By Jasmeet Thind

The Covid-19 pandemic has introduced the enterprise world to a standstill. The virulent illness has unfold throughout the globe at a fast tempo, disrupting and debilitating complete industries in its wake. India too is witnessing its share of the viral onslaught and has since successfully imposed a nation-wide lockdown to arrest the additional dissemination of the deadly illness.
The prolonged lockdown has unsurprisingly resulted in the dwindling of companies large and small. A plethora of corporations and corporations are knocking down the shutter on operations due to exorbitant income cuts and the absence of labor-activity.

The offline retail sector has been the most affected phase owing to its non-essential nature. Small and medium enterprises purveying commodities like garments, jewellery, utensils, and so on have witnessed widespread losses and job slashes. In addition to that, the closure of all state borders and highways too, have contributed to the ongoing disruption in the trade.

To put this into a clearer perspective, the long-term impact of the pandemic on the offline retail sector’s provide chain and logistics is projected to culminate in an total gross sales loss of about $7 billion in 2020 as in contrast to the earlier monetary 12 months.

The coronavirus pandemic has seemingly compelled a surfeit of plush wholesale retailers and large-scale offline purveyors to upscale their current mode of operations and providers. They are steadily revamping their efforts in an try to interact procurers online and creating an Omni-channel module to cater to the surging demand for important and indispensable gadgets equivalent to medicines, groceries etcetera.

Having stated this, it’s equally pertinent for small scale offline retailers and enterprise homeowners to embrace the digitization of the current means of advertising and marketing and merchandising. Optimal leveraging of technology shall be the decisive issue in exploring alternate enterprise channels and streamlining operations.

Offline to on-line – the inevitable shift
The international pandemic has supplied a veritable alternative to each consumers and prospects to absolutely optimize and faucet the hitherto unrealized potential of the on-line retail paradigm to the fullest. This offline to on-line shift has largely been catalyzed due to the commendable efforts of the new-age e-commerce corporations. But that doesn’t suggest that on-line advertising and marketing and merchandising have been untouched by the ravages of the corona storm. Numerous segments equivalent to clothes and attire, skincare and cosmetics, and so on are witnessing a substantial drop in shopper traction and gross sales due to the restrictions imposed on public jamborees and out of doors journey.

Surrounded by a slew of such aforementioned obstacles, it will be considerably impudent to presuppose that the retail sector will get well from the thundering blows dealt by the COVID-19 pandemic in no time in any respect. However, there are seen indicators of hope and sanguinity. The shopper outlook and angle are seemingly present process a huge sea change amid the ongoing lockdown.

The retail trade is anticipating a main transition as ordering items on-line by means of e-commerce channels turns into the new regular over the earlier mannequin of shopping for from brick and mortar retail shops. This signifies that if the offline retailers can step up their sport and increase their digital talents in the quick future, they are going to be liable to optimize each potential alternative to their profit. Such a approach ahead may even show to be invaluable in resurfacing alive and thriving in a post-corona panorama.

Social e-commerce makes survival straightforward
Offline-to-online or social-commerce platforms like are rising as facilitators in streamlining the transitional process from the analog to the digital. These platforms are accountable for empowering the nation’s up-and-coming offline retail companies carve a distinct and easy on-line presence free of value by optimizing the monumental potential of AI to digitize cataloging and their offline stock itemizing.

Social commerce platforms are integrating sure buyer-seller behaviors of offline retailers reasonably than discomfortingly implementing conventional companies to undertake full fashionable practices. By aiding these to receive entry to provides straight from the producers, immediate credit score providers, and the essential working capital these chopping – edge platforms are calibrating the offline sellers in the direction of new enterprise prospects by cataloging merchandise on their platforms and merchandising them solely after putting a cope with potential prospects. This not solely ensures quicker inventory sourcing and liquidation cycle but in addition warrants a regular surge of revenue.

Cometh the second
While such platforms have been growing at a relaxed tempo and are largely restricted to life-style distributors and budding companies which have little or no entry to the required sources and experience for e-commerce. It is just in response to the corona pandemic that the nation is assimilating extra grassroots corporations to the social commerce portals.

Offline retailers now have the energy to forge their very own custom-made and tailor-made net shops the place they will take orders and assignments. They may even market their product choices by means of trending social media platforms equivalent to Facebook, WhatsApp, and TikTook, and so on and might even correspond and hobnob with potential consumers earlier than finalizing a buy.

Social media platforms are even specializing in hyper-local deliveries that are possible and exempted from particular permits to fulfill the problem of directing provide chains and logistics for standard retailers and wholesale distributors.

Whereas the authorities are exercising each attainable measure to curtail the unfold of COVID-19, we will verily predict the virulent cataclysm to rework and revolutionize the approach SMEs and family-owned impartial companies function in the distant future.

The author is Co-founder, CoutLoot.

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