‘Never in my life have I seen a pandemic like Covid’ is one of the many phrases frequently used to describe the fallout of the covid-19 pandemic that sent more than two-third of the world into lockdown and brought all the major activities to a standstill.
The word ‘unprecedented’ used to describe the pandemic itself has been used an unprecedented number of times.
Soon the world realized that the pandemic was to stay for some time and hence the countries have started easing the restrictions and promoting the economic activities to get back on the wagon.
While the manufacturing has resumed after the initial lockdown and the IT industry has become comfortable with the so-called ‘new normal’ i.e. working from home, local businesses have some hard time calibrating themselves to the new normal. With lockdown putting everybody into their homes, there has been a demand crunch which has crippled the local businesses. Businesses like restaurants, grocery stores, apparel shops are struggling to get themselves back in the game.
The reason? Call it fear of contracting the virus by outside contact or the fear of stepping out as a result of the stricter lockdown norms, no activities have persisted in the market for some time now.
With no house help available anymore and short-lived internet trends like the ‘Dalgona Coffee’ made everyone step in the shoes of chef and made them reluctant to go to or order from the restaurants. No stepping out also means a slack in the apparel industry.
So how does the future of these businesses look like post the pandemic? Well, the traditional way may not seem a perfect fit for them anymore. The same old approach is not going to bring back the hustle and bustle in the market or make people stand in queues to get a table in their favorite restaurants.
It is rightly said that necessity is the mother of invention and the pandemic has brought the entrepreneurial spirits that have driven innovations in the businesses to thrive during and post-pandemic.
With everyone stuck at home, people are spending more time online than ever and hence it is imperative for the local businesses to leverage these increased online activities to boost their sales.
With no trial and return facilities available at departmental apparel stores, the local apparel stores can bank on this opportunity and can partner with amazon as 3rd party sellers meaning they can sell their products through the Amazon platform wherein packaging, deliveries and returns are also managed by them.
Amazon orders have seen an upsurge during the pandemic and are estimated to grow even further. With this, businesses can create and publish their own product detail pages, check-in on the status of orders, monitor their inventory levels, and much more. This can help keep the inventory moving and thus minimize the storage costs. Local businesses can thus expand their distribution and benefit from Amazon’s broad customer reach and unmatched operational efficiency.
There have been numerous instances where businesses are turning towards creating their own online stores. With this, ecommerce development is seeing a surge and the ecommerce development companies are banking well on this opportunity by providing solutions right from website development to providing eCommerce support.
With around 2.5 billion monthly active users on Facebook, the Facebook Marketplace is yet another platform where businesses can connect with customers.
It won’t be a surprise if we see increased marketplace activities post pandemic as it helps sellers connect with a relevant audience and interested buyers without having the sellers pay for listing their products on the marketplace.
Food industry is another such example where the future of its working post-pandemic can experience a shift. To bring themselves back in the game, restaurants are making use of Facebook as a marketing channel to reach to their potential customers.
Meghan Anderson, VP of marketing at HubSpot states that outdoor advertising canvases that were once in high demand have been left blank as businesses are pouring all of their resources into online channels. There is quite a high possibility that restaurants post-pandemic will assign a staff solely to market their business on the social platforms.
With Facebook offering plethora of targeting and optimization options right from location targeting to tapping similar audiences, Facebook marketing for restaurant-like businesses looks a viable option in the near future.
On the other hand grocery industry for giants like D Mart and other hypermarkets has been seeing an upward shift for quite some time now. Though D Mart business saw a dip during the lockdown period, it has bounced back and recovered to 80 percent or more of the pre-Covid sales in most stores all thanks to its robust online presence – D Mart Ready.
Does this mean that the local Kirana stores still struggle to get a piece of the pie? Not really. The pandemic has brought even the kiranashop owners online. With Reliance Industries’ new eCommerce venture JioMart, it has brought the Kirana stores to the doorstep of the consumers.
It has a working model similar to Zomatos and Swiggys of the world, the only difference being that here, restaurants are replaced by the kiranastores. Some JioMart partner kiranastores have seen their sales quadrupled as compared to the pre-Covid levels. With JioMart entering other verticals such as electronics, fashion, pharmaceuticals, it has made this new segment wide open for the competitors to step in.
We can expect some more players entering in and replicating this model post the pandemic as well. With all said, bringing one’s business online is not the only way out but it certainly is a way forward.
This decade may have started in uncertainty but seeing the track record of the humans, they have tackled every obstacle that came their way. Humans have conquered everything except death. Hence, more such disruptive innovations in future can keep the market growing no matter what come may.
A creative and passionate mobile application enthusiast with over 7 years of experience in providing IT solutions across various industries. Nitesh Behani is the Co-Founder of Magneto IT Solutions, a full service of Mobile App Development in USA, India, and Bahrain. He has experience of delivering more than 100+ projects ranging from web technologies to mobile application technology.