COVID-19 has obstructed e-tailing due to curb on supply-chain, resulting in losses
E-comm players should strategize for functioning without draining resources
Connect with consumers, understand psychology and plan for the aftermath
At the dusk of 2019, a novel strain of Coronavirus had been identified in Wuhan, China. With a stage so initial, people felt rather safe given the proximity to the ground zero site, unaware of the rapid rates of global infection. However, things changed when it was declared a global pandemic by WHO in early March, 2020.
A rapid spread, rise in panic and looming uncertainty forced various organisations to cease operations, with nations imposing lockdowns to ensure social distancing. Even digitally-mounted ecommerce industry had to retreat.
For the vertical ecommerce sector – specialists of the industry – this has spelled trouble as their physical connections to the material world have been adversely affected. As the lockdown continues, what lies in store?
Taking Stock Of The Impact
Whatever demands might have arisen in these times have already been suspended, because of severed supply chains. Trade has come to a standstill. A panic sits persistently in the mind of consumers, thereby affecting buying behaviour. And because purchases face a downfall, so does the revenue.
Even if someone were to make a purchase, how can manufacturers and e-tailers comply with the demand? The network of delivery personnel is almost non-existent, and where there are options, people are restricting access within their society for fear of catching the virus.
Home delivery has become a stigma, one that can have a lasting impact.
The Plan Ahead – A Guide To Survival
Adverse situations often provide a new outlook to draw upon. Work-From-Home, for example, has become a sort of a war cry for ecommerce players to keep the gears running during Covid-19. But this is only the tip of the iceberg. To ensure a smooth operation, various points should be reflected and acted upon:
Only The Essentials
Identifying and keeping crucial departments alive while providing them the necessary tools to not only carry out their processes but also to monitor their productivity efficiently and coherently. It is also important to establish a robust communication network between teams to avoid loopholes and ensure proper management.
Put a definitive hold on offline marketing and related channels of high cash consumption. Shelf any plans of expansion until the situation returns to normal. It is advisable to save liquidity to keep the company well-oiled and running.
From pay-cuts to salary instalments, there are many ways to ensure that employees are provided for to function during these tough times without exhausting the revenue reserves over a longer period. Reach out for an understanding solution to forestall any form of sudden closure of operations.
Social media marketing, including various organic media channels available online, is a relatively inexpensive and valuable front. Build and focus activity around it.
Establish A Pipeline
Despite hampered manufacturing, delivery and physical interactions, ecommerce players have the significant advantage of online presence. This presents a great opportunity to keep in touch with customers – past or present – thereby generating actionable pipelines to profit over when lockdown is lifted.
Concurrently, build dynamic relationships with customers; provide a personalized experience that derives on understanding and well-being. Give lucrative offers with extra benefits and discounts on immediate purchase – for example – so that even with delayed delivery, customers feel satisfied and cared for.
Study And Analyse Human Behaviour
Forced to take shelter within their homes, people are now giving more attention to their surroundings. An urge to optimise their home for comforting yet active support can be a great opportunity in the aftermath.
A Shift In The Market
The pandemic has instilled a sense of foreboding when it comes to Chinese goods. India can leverage this opportunity to lift Make-in-India to a competing level.
Globally, as nations may show resentment against China, India can rise up to meet the demands of the consumerist world. Even if 5 – 7% of the demands are met – in both B2B and B2C channels – it will be a huge support to the Indian economy.
Opportunity In Calamity
Despite these being tough times, if leveraged properly, India’s vertical ecommerce players can lift themselves up and create big opportunities. Undoubtedly, Covid-19 will have varied ramifications, not only in workflow and operations but also in how people place demands once things return to normal.
A sharp focus on personal care, deriving more on healthy and environmentally friendly factors, can emerge. People will spend more on comfort and luxury, bracing against any such future calamities so that they can function in the confines of their home in peace. This will open more opportunities, but that is for the future.
For now, until the natural order of the economic world is reinstated, it is important to cling to a simple, uncluttered thread of hope and meticulous strategy to stay afloat and not run aground.