As we all know, due to the pandemic created due to COVID-19, people are inclined towards the “Direct to Home” approach. This also means that online shopping has increased these days, may it be vegetables, groceries, retails, medications, or anything else the person can name. It is affecting small local businesses, especially the retailers which were operating in offline mode till the pandemic. The recent lockdown has imposed many difficulties from shutting down or limiting their businesses offline to the reduction of supply from the vendors. This has increased the number of users going digitally to shop online due to a couple of reasons which include a minimum or less human interaction, home delivery, the zero possibility of waiting in the queue, etc. See How Does Online Shopping Helping Local Businesses?
There have been multiple initiatives taken by the consumers, the E-commerce industry players as well as the local business owners in order to support small local businesses.
1. Go Digital:
Since the pandemic, local business owners tap the need of working digitally or getting the business online, to a new level altogether. They have started to accept payments online using Google Pay, PayTM, Amazon Pay, etc. If they can’t go completely digital, they try to offer the products or services at reduced costs to their customers and post ads to different social media such as Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, etc to support the small local businesses they own.
According to the survey held by EY, it has been noticed that 20% of the local business owners are going digital and taking orders digitally with the help of social media chat messengers with seamless and contactless options for delivery as well as for digital payments. The sellers can also get in touch with the existing customer to let them know to opt for home delivery and to shop locally to support small local businesses.
2. E-Commerce Initiatives:
The pandemic has given new options to the e-commerce industry vendors to supply anything and everything, right from vegetables, groceries to the retail market, in order to supply the goods and services with the increase in the demand. To accommodate this, Amazon India has started an initiative that would also support local businesses called ‘Local Shops on Amazon’. This can be considered as local help for small businesses. This has given away to the retailers and other vendors to go online and supply the goods and services which may otherwise be hard. All they have to do is create an account on amazon, select your area or region where you want to deliver, upload the product and that’s it!
Other than Amazon, other e-commerce companies such as Flipkart, Paytm, Reliance industries have also marked their presence in the same. In other words, directly or indirectly, this has provided some sort of local help for small businesses.
3. Online Shopping Effects on Local Business:
The trend for online shopping using E-commerce websites is now becoming a habit for most consumers, since the lockdown in the pandemic produced a limited number of supply issues to the suppliers, as opposed to completing this demand online. As discussed earlier, due to the great initiatives that these companies have started, many suppliers have taken their chances to support the local businesses and they faced fewer challenges for keeping their Business as usual.
The start-ups of the entrepreneurs into small local businesses made their way using these and saw growing their business.
On the other hand, online shopping effects on the local business have been a nightmare for the shopkeepers or local business owners who refuse to go digital or continue to work in physical mode, either due to hesitation or due to not having to afford the technologies. In order to provide local help for small businesses, there can be a list of things that can be done to avoid such difficult situations –
1. List-based Shopping –
Many shop owners or those who provide goods in large apartments can ask the consumers to prepare a list of the goods they want to purchase which will contain the grocery list, address, contact numbers. So the goods can either be delivered to them or to call the consumers one by one or in the lean time to collect it, to avoid the crowd. And their buyers can easily in a way shop online for books, sports, and even dairy products.
2. Digital Payments is a Key Feature –
In the COVID-19 times, the most vulnerable thing to the spreading of this disease is the billing counters in the form of cash. Going with digital money is the best way out in order to keep the business as usual and in order to be safe.
3. Tie-ups with Residential Areas –
By doing so, the local help for small businesses is achievable easily. This enables selling in bigger societies, thereby increasing the business and the customers. Bigger societies or residential areas have their own regulations in this pandemic, so as to provide the services to everyone thereby following the government regulations too.
4. Corporate Tie-up –
This also plays an important role in growing the small business and achieving the objective ‘Shop local support small business. As of today, there are many such companies providing food deliveries as well as grocery services online, out of which few are – Amazon India, Flipkart (as explained above), Swiggy, Zomato, Uber, Big Bazaar, Big Basket, etc. have also taken part in the same.
Shopkeepers or local business owners need to tap them in, in order to grow their business online too.
COVID-19 has created a major pandemic worldwide, this has changed the way as to how the world implements things. Online shopping of health products and many others down the line has been nowadays becoming not only the trend but the necessity and a lifestyle change that everybody has been adding to their day-to-day activities. As opposed to this, offline retailing has gone down due to movement restrictions. The chances of offline retailers going online have increased widely.
This means that E-commerce Industries have to grow substantially in the coming years in order to cater to the growing demand and to accommodate more sellers for that matter.