How COVID-19 Has Changed The E-Commerce Industry
News on CNBC stated that E-tailing platforms had seen a 15-20 per cent hike in gross merchandise value in the first 15 days of March compared to February, and a massive 50 per cent growth in GMV in categories such as grocery and other essential goods.
E-commerce is a platform for selling and buying of goods, products or services through the internet, and many companies are using e-commerce to reach the customers worldwide and increase their sale.
Though the industry was popular in India, there was still a majority that considered traditional buying and selling over e-commerce until the pandemic COVID-19 occurred. COVID-19 is a new infectious disease that spread primarily via the contact from the person who is infected perform any cough/sneeze or when a person touches a surface that has the virus on it. It has been declared as a pandemic as most of the Asian countries are profoundly affected.
• Helps sellers and buyers to meet at one place and exchange goods and services irrespective of the city, state or country they belong.
• The customer gets a better option to make a selection of products according to the price than can get in market places.
• There is no time limit as the websites are open 24*7, and a customer can easily place an order, whenever and wherever he wants.
• The security of customer details is also one of the critical concerns. Despite many security and anti-theft techniques, there is always a possibility of a high risk of a security breach that the customers are open to, like debit card or credit card theft, identity theft and so on.
• E-commerce lacks human interaction for customers, especially for those who majorly prefer face-to-face connection with the seller.
Examples of E-commerce :
The situation due to COVID 19 is changing at a breakneck speed day by day. Restaurants, movie theatres and gyms are shutting down in many cities. Most of the office workers are also getting trouble and left with no other choice except for work from home option. In this crucial stage, people have finally understood the need of up-gradation of not only working but also of buying and selling, in simple words up-gradation of living, which in return is having a massive effect on the modern market as well as on the traditional market.
As many cities across many states are going through the phase of lockdown, non-essential businesses are shut temporarily, and customers are also advised to avoid public places unless it gets essential. Brands are adapting and are getting flexible to face the new challenge and trying to meet the change of doing business.
Positive effects of COVID-19 on E-commerce
As work-from-home and social distancing became imperative because of the coronavirus, one can expect that people would get more inclined to eCommerce sites to buy their regular supplies. People are scared to go out and buy things as the disease can spread through touch; they are comfortable buying through the internet as it has minimal human contact.
In March 2020, global retail websites showed traffic of 14.3 billion visits, signifying a high growth of traffic and placement of orders at e-commerce during the lockdown of 2020.
Studies also reveal that in the US, approximately 29% of surveyed shoppers state that they will never go back to traditional shopping again. In UK, 43% of consumers indicate that they expect to keep on shopping the same way even after the lockdown gets over.
A sudden increase in the demand of e-commerce industry has been noted as the people are taking security over traditional and experience buying.
Earlier only essential goods were available by the industry as per government restrictions. Still, now on most eCommerce platforms, even the entertainment, electronic, luxury and other products are available on the websites.
A considerable strike of subscription of various telecom and entertainment facilities can be seen in the past few months, like Netflix, Amazon prime etc.
As the government imposed temporary shut to non-essentials goods retail shops, people were forced to buy goods online. The eCommerce sites were visited not only by the regular customers but also by the new ones as well. For example, it was an infrequent practice where customers might have ever opted e-commerce sites to buy hand sanitizers and gloves, but because of the shortage of hand sanitizers and gloves in physical retail stores now, many were forced to order the same from online sites.
The sale of essentials goods increased to a very high level in the early days of a pandemic as people started panic buying and even the offline shops went out of stock which forced people to buy essentials goods online.
Not only the buyers staying at home, but even the sellers are also now attracted to sell online. For example – Berger paints launching its website in which people can visualize the colours and designs on their walls and order online, no hard copy of prospectus and loads of books to search, all the outlines just a click away.
Even the small retailers like kiranas are taking up eCommerce to sell directly to the nearby societies as people are requested to stay at home, and the sale of non-essential goods is suffering a downfall. The comfortable and safest way to increase the sell of all category goods without breaking the rules set by the government is eCommerce, and that is what is increasing its demand in the country in this pandemic time.
People are searching for job opportunities as well, as many are losing a job, eCommerce is helping the employer and job seeker to connect through various platforms like freelancer.com, Quikr jobs, fivver and many more.
People are likely at very low risk of getting contaminated due to coronavirus if products are well packed and shipped by the E-commerce sites.
Adverse effects of Covid-19 on E-commerce
Huge Companies are battered by the closure of factories and the stoppage of production by the continuous extension of lockdown, which can be the reason that the consumer sentiment is turning pessimistic.
Production and supply of goods have taken downfall by the fear of a spread of coronavirus. Almost every Distribution channels are busy in supplying the essentials goods, and the governments have restricted movements, the geographical range for all products is restricted to Red, Orange and Green zone differently.
Coronavirus as totally got over consumers mind; they are always involved in its update, and news channels hardly have time for anything else. In this time of crisis, people are more focused on survival and are taking more care of their family.
The contagious nature of the disease had filled fear in the hearts of people. They are avoiding meeting other people, and are also avoiding coming into contact with any external objects that may carry the infection. Online deliveries come in contact with many hands, and the fear that the chain may itself be infected has adversely affected. Thus it is a crucial reason among people for ordering only essential goods.
Consumers are now more focused on getting the essentials items, which has dramatically brought down the demand for other products; most of the people have started giving priorities only to necessities.
Millions of online customers are changing their way of buying at the same time to opt for more timesaving and convenient techniques are putting a strain on e-commerce and online retailers today. How they choose to react in the upcoming time will define the future of the e-commerce industry.