Rise of ePharmacy in India

Rise of ePharmacy in India

The onslaught on the pandemic saw the rise of various industries including E-Pharmacy, which offers users the convenience to purchase medicines with just a push of a button.

E-Pharmacy is an online medical shop where one can purchase pharmacy products from the comfort of your home. Just upload a prescription on the app and place an order for the pharmacy products you need.

This sector according to Frost & Sullivan is creating a paradigm shift in the Indian medicine market. It’s likely to reach over $3.6 billion by 2022 & presently contributes close to 2–3%. By the end of the year, it will capture 10% of the total market. 

ePharmacy is changing the landscape:

With discounts on medicines and giving users the convenience to purchase medicines and get the delivery right at your doorstep. Noting the rise of ePharmacy, investments have been on an influx. Various acquisitions are taking place, including Karexpert, C-Square and Netmeds. 

Reliance struck a deal with Netmeds’ parent firm Vitalic for about $83.2 million for 60% stake in the pharma marketplace. This deal grants Reliance a 100% ownership of Vitalic’s subsidiaries which are valued at about $134 million. RIL has said by April 2024 it wants to expand its ownership to 80% in Vitalic.

Reliance previously invested ₹10 crores in health-tech app Karexpert and integrated the services with Jio Health Hub. C-Square sold 82% stake to RIL, the company is entering a new rising vertical and is likely to dominate it.

ePharmacy is seeing exponential growth with many people opting for online purchase of medicine and consultation, this is resulting to be beneficial for the ePharm companies.

Netmeds delivers medicines, personal and baby care items, along with booking doctors and diagnostics on its website and app. This company had been looking for a buyer, and the pandemic provided that, through the deal with Reliance.

“Netmeds enhances Reliance Retail’s ability to provide good quality and affordable healthcare products and services. It also broadens its digital  commerce proposition to include most daily essential needs of consumers.”

Isha Ambani,  the director of Reliance Retail Ventures

The news of the RIL and Netmeds deal comes a week after Amazon announced the launch of its e-pharmacy service in Bengaluru, which it plans to expand in the rest of the country soon.

Amazon struck a deal with Netmeds, 1mg, PharmEasy and Medlife, as an attempt to expand in the ePharmacy market. 

Factors contributing to the growth of online pharmacies in India

  • ePharmacy companies are compliant with the IT Act & the Drugs and Cosmetics Act – legalities enable the industry to grow constantly. 
  • A significant amount of external funding is occurring in this market, with fundraising visions crossing the 150 million mark. 
  • This industry has also experienced government compliance with the draft of the pharmaceutical policy in 2015. The Niti Aayog’s three-year roadmap on the development of e-pharmacies too eased the growth.
  • ePharmacy offers pocket-friendly checkup packages to the customers, discounts, free consultations, etc, initiatives like this have helped the industries growth.

The future of ePharmacy

  • Consumer awareness: aligning activities to educate the common consumers with the policies, legality, etc will help the industry grow stably.
  • Quality assurance: purchase assurance & safety policies should happen by dealers before selling and buying the medicines online.

With the demand for increased convenience and instant solutions, ePharmacy has the potential of becoming a hit. Rural areas too show tremendous growth, which will allow the online medicine market to expand throughout India. 

THE IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON ECOMMERCE

THE IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON ECOMMERCE

COVID-19 shifted the whole ecosystem of markets and has made an impact that can be deemed long-lasting. Consumer behaviour has seen a change, purchase decisions have seen a shift and the usual flow of businesses is left disrupted. But along with the many disruptions, this pandemic has brought about changes and enhanced technological growth. The eCommerce and marketplace sector have specifically witnessed this growth.

The pandemic has accelerated India’s e-commerce market almost threefold and sped up growth that is pegged to be around $85 billion by 2024, even with other sectors being negatively impacted. 

India has seen a rise in the number of FTUs or first-time-eCommerce-users in India, who had previously been inhibited to shop online. Some eCommerce platforms like Amazon, Flipkart and Snapdeal have even returned to the level of pre-COVID time. Other eCommerce players like Grofers, BigBasket, Lenskart, etc have also seen a rapid increase in various services. Many new players are entering into this marketplace noting the opportunities available. eCommerce companies can further expect: 

  1. An influx of online shopping: 

As stated with a record number of FTUs in India and brick-and-mortar and kirana stores closed and with lower footfall than usual, there is an increase in sales on eCommerce platforms.  There has been a switch from malls and supermarkets to eCommerce for everyday commodities. Companies can use this to their advantage and provide good deals. Companies like BigBasket had seen such an influx and demand of goods that they had to restrict access to their website to existing customers only, while Grofers – a rival, had faced a similar situation.

A conversation with TN Hari, Head of HR from Big Basket in April 2020 helped gain insight into changing consumer behaviour and adaptations to the new normal. As rightly predicted, the shift from offline to online in all sectors has been perceived as the need for the hour.

  1. More efficient and convenient models:

Online shopping offers the convenience of not having to go out to shop and waste time waiting in lines and scrolling through items, all it takes is just a click on a button to purchase a product that will be delivered right at your doorstep. However, eCommerce platforms should ensure efficiency in logistics and supply chain flow. Myntra’s End of Reason Sale had integrated and collaborated 400 offline stores of more than 60 brands. The items that were purchased shipped directly from the brands’ stores to the consumer’s doorsteps. Allowing for a more seamless supply chain and providing convenience to the consumers. There is also a significant rise in the number of convenient shopping models like BNPL gaining prominence among the Indian consumers.

  1. Increase in essential and corona virus-related products:

Shopping habits and consumer behaviour has seen change during the pandemic. Ecommerce companies are being required to sell essential items as a way to have an edge and meet consumer demands. Products like soaps, sanitizers and health care items have a market of its own now. ePharmacy has seen an increase in India, with numerous investors looking on ways to invest in ePharm companies. Amazon has also noticed the shift in consumer behaviour and adapting to the pandemic is said to have prioritised delivery of essential items garnering appreciation and an increase in its sales from customers. 

  1. Digital transformation: 

Kirana stores have been the crux of Indian System. But, now with the virus outbreak, people are looking out for alternatives. This has offered digitalisation and upskilling of Kirana stores to adapt to changes. Companies like Flipkart in an attempt to streamline this unorganised sector have tied up with these stores for provisions and delivery while still supporting their development. 

This pandemic has gauged a segment of shoppers that previously have not purchased online to now rely on it. Consumer buying habits are constantly changing and companies need to follow efficient ways to get FTUs hooked on while still retaining existing customers. 

With the rising adoption of Omnichannel solutions across sectors and focus on digital transformation eCommerce companies have seen and will continue to see tremendous opportunity and growth amidst COVID.

THE BUY-NOW-PAY-LATER MODEL IS HERE TO STAY, AT LEAST THESE ECOMMERCE GIANTS THINK SO

THE BUY-NOW-PAY-LATER MODEL IS HERE TO STAY, AT LEAST THESE ECOMMERCE GIANTS THINK SO

The pandemic has seen major shifts in the market and one among the many are payment methods. In the pre-COVID period, consumers opted to pay for over 60% eCommerce transactions in cash (Cash on Delivery), but after the pandemic, it is safe to quote that the vast majority is opting for digital transactions. This digitalisation has led to new developments in the eCommerce marketplace. With various companies trying to woo consumers, a number of options are being offered to enhance the buying experience of consumers and make it more convenient.

One such option that is taking this industry by storm is the Buy-now-pay-later payment method. This feature allows the consumer to purchase the service or product at that instant and as the name suggests pay for it later or in installments. Further delving into the topic, a few companies take an interest in the cost of the product while others take the principle as credit. The credit from Buy-now-pay-later service is essentially the same as a credit in a credit card, but with a digitalised disguise.

Various Indian companies have jumped on the BNPL wagon, with an attempt to have an edge over their competitors.

FLIPKART

Flipkart, an eCommerce heavyweight has also featured the buy-now-pay-later scheme. Although, the working of this service is still in the beta stage, and is only available to certain android users. The working of it allows customers to purchase products up to a predefined credit limit without having to pay immediately. However, the outstanding amount needs to be paid by the 10th of the next month.

“Everybody loves shopping, and everybody loves shopping on Flipkart. But, scrambling for cash for COD purchase or getting out your debit or credit cards for online payments and typing in OTPs every time you make a purchase can be a hassle. If only there was a simpler way to make all this easier. Well, now, there is.”

Flipkart

Features:

  • Instant credit up to ₹5,000
  • 30-second application process
  • One-click checkout
  • Zero cost up to 35 days
  • Single bill for all purchases

With the festive season fast approaching, the BNPL option may just be the feature that lets people let loose and shop to their heart’s content.

AMAZON

eCommerce giant, Amazon, has also launched a pay later feature to its Indian customers. Under these payment options, customers can avail credit with zero interest rates on any listed products. The customers are provided with an option to repay the amount in monthly installments up to 12 months. However, there are various requirements in order for a person to avail of Amazon’s pay later option including being 23 years old and above, providing valid identification along with their PAN card, bank account number, etc.

Key Benefits:

  • Get an instant decision on your credit limit by the lender.
  • Credit card details not required.
  • No processing or cancellation fee.
  • No pre-closure charges.
  • Seamless checkout on Amazon.in using Amazon Pay Later payment option.
  • Simplified tracking of expenses and repayments on the EMI specific dashboard

The Pay Later feature is also a mobile-only experience that enables a smooth buying experience on the app.

PAYU

LazyUPI, a product offered by PayU Finance, is also following the Buy-now-pay-later model but has integrated it with a UPI. This unique digital service works on the same lines and offers credit across online and offline platforms. It allows customers to make part-repayments and has a minimum amount due along with conventional interest rates. These services have provided opportunities for start-ups to model around the buy-now-pay-later option and have given a fresh sense of innovation to mobile wallet services and eCommerce platforms. Various eCommerce platforms including  Big Basket, Myntra, MakeMyTrip, etc, have integrated this service into their sites.

Key Benefits:

  • One tap payment
  • Settle payments every 15 days
  • Repay with EMI
  • Integrated across 250+ sites

The buy-now-pay-later concept in layman terms is similar to that of a credit card. However credit cards too are evolving into the BNPL model, as it fits better with millennial consumers that are looking for convenience and affordability. Credit cards offer high rates of interest and low transparency, but with few eCommerce platforms offering a zero-interest-rate and a long payback period, one can certainly understand the rave behind this service. 

While BNPL offers convenience consumers should look out and align themselves with certain habits to ensure maximum efficiency:

  • Note the limit and have only one BNPL account at a time
  • Budgeting needs to be made important to avail the BNPL option
  • Be committed to repaying the companies to avoid interests

The Buy-now-pay-later model is not a new concept and can be compared with the Indian Khata system, where customers were allowed to pay the entire bill at one-go which was typically towards the end of the month. This age-old concept was given a digital spin and the buy-now-pay-later model was created. With the disruptions and numerous opportunities that lie ahead, brands need to keep an eye out for this service and invest to integrate it with their current functioning.

BRAND ROUND UP: COMMUNICATION POST-COVID

BRAND ROUND UP: COMMUNICATION POST-COVID

Communication has always been an integral part of a brand. It echoes the clear, authentic and consistent tone of your brand to the consumers. It most often offers insights, the brands goals and values and creates an intimate relationship between the brand and its consumers. With consumers returning back to the new normal, markets being slowed down and few even being shut down, it becomes important to communicate in the most apt way possible to your consumers. 

A few brands have successfully found their way to function in this ‘new normal.’ 

Tata:

Marketing Post-COVID, requires creativity and out of the box thinking. As seen in Tata Sampann campaign ‘Har Din Haldi, HarGhar Healthy,’ with an aim to promote Tata Sampann’s turmeric powder while still being in sync with the thoughts. Talking about the benefits of various Indian spices, including Turmeric that helps in boosting one’s immunity it launched the campaign. Additional collaboration with Pride of Cows mill in Mumbai, it stressed the importance of Haldi Doodh for immunity.  

KFC:

Aligning themselves with the new communication normal, KFC along with DDB launched the ‘KFC You Soon’ playlist. This was a creative campaign that serenaded its customers through a playlist. This film highlighted barcode scanners, dispensers, chairs, etc exclaiming how they’ve missed their consumers, the campaign further delves into the new norms it would follow including social distancing. 

Bacardi: 

Having a consistent tone is always important in brand communication. Bacardi has seemed to have found that with its latest campaign ‘Roomates’.  The film stays true to Bacardi’s light brand tone and features the story of three real roommates and how they make the most of their quarantine. Relatability is the emphasis of this campaign with the roommates doing at-home activities, the film further encourages people to do what makes them move even when the world takes a pause. 

Big Bazaar: 

Resonating with consumers, and creating a valuable message is what Big Bazaar does in it’s recent Ramadan Campaign. The Campaign titled as ‘Ibaadat Bhi, Hifaazat Bhi’ (prayers with safety), was created, shot and conceptualised during the lockdown. Echoing with the views of the consumers, Big bazaar further emphasised with its made at home campaign the importance to sanitize and maintain social distancing while still offering its festive greetings.

This pandemic has highlighted that consumer minds are ever-changing and brands need to adapt and adjust accordingly, thus, in order to strive in the Post-COVID era, brands need to invest and emphasize efforts on few things, they are:

  1. Social Media: Online activity has seen an increase and is being seen as a primary source of communication, marketers should note its advantage and create content accordingly.
  2. Remote customer service: Adjusting communication channels solely based on emails and apps will be important. Brands need to integrate their service team with online means to provide their consumers with seamless support.
  3. Educate your audience:  educating the public about sensitive information, will help build and retain trust with the consumers. 
  4. Communication needs to be empathetic- Being empathetic to consumers needs and fears will go a long way, messages and campaigns need to resonate with the thinking of the consumers to be successful post-COVID. 

Post-COVID, brands more importantly than ever need to adapt and adopt new communication strategies that will render success. Brands need to stay connected to both consumers and employees and be vocal, consistent, and add value with each campaign that it communicates. 

WHATSAPP & ECOMMERCE – A duo to watch out for

There’s hardly anyone who hasn’t used WhatsApp. With a massive userbase of over 400 million active users, India is one of the biggest markets for the Facebook-owned business messaging app.  The eCommerce industry has been quick to evolve with technological advancements and WhatsApp has seen this as an opportunity to jump on to the eCommerce bandwagon. 

Companies have started actively incorporating WhatsApp into their eCommerce strategy. WhatsApp Business has become the go-to messaging channel for customer care.

Small businesses have started using the catalog feature to share information like product photos, addresses, map locations, etc. Whenever a customer enquires about a product, a catalog can be shared to help view products and get information for a particular item. 

A Nielsen report on FMCG consumption during COVID-19 has mentioned that consumers have started using WhatsApp to place orders due to the social distancing norms.

According to sources, WhatsApp Business will experience unprecedented growth of more than 5,400% among medium and large businesses looking to use its API. The findings are based on research involving all the major omnichannel messaging providers.

Mobilesquared believes 5.25 million small and micro businesses were using the free WhatsApp Business app at the end of 2019, and it expects this number to rise to almost 7 million by 2024.

  • Enhance customer service & support 
  • Take advantage of broadcasting & alerts 
  • Ease of delivery & communication
  • Distribute content 
  • Brand authenticity 

As the pricing of mobile data stays low, and smartphones become affordable, penetration of WhatsApp would boost in the coming time and make it the most convenient platform for consumers to interact directly with brands.

TECH IN RETAIL: 2020

The Indian retail sector is expected to witness significant changes in the new normal. Contactless shopping is expected to be on the rise with consumers avoiding crowded stores and preferring lower exposures. Retailers can expect lesser shopping sprees, however, there will be more planned purchases as opposed to impulsive buying. Retailers will have to adopt technologies to close the gap between the digital and physical worlds.

Top retail tech trends in the pipeline

  • Prescriptive analytics will finally take over predictive analytics 
  • Check-out free experiences will be refined
  • A mobile-first will become mandatory 
  • Voice search and personal assistants 
  • IoT will bridge the gap between the digital and physical environments 
  • Stores will grow as fulfillment centers for digital channels 

Retailers have pushed investments in the IT sector due to ERP implementation and eCommerce management. The stack can be segmented into 5 major business areas.

The whole pandemic has got businesses reconsidering how they invest in digital because the way customers and businesses will interact will drastically change in the coming years. Businesses should reconsider how they communicate with customers overall.   

Retailers need to invest in tools & technologies to stay ahead of the competition. These tools don’t simply reduce your overhead and improve your planning but they have become essential tools to help retail businesses thrive and grow in the market.

When you normally go to a store, you try out a piece of clothing, you see if it fits and then decide whether to buy it or not. However, post the pandemic people are a bit apprehensive to try out clothes others have tried. Retailers might start installing virtual mirrors. Essentially when you stand in front of a mirror pretending that you’re wearing the particular attire you choose. 

With fewer number of employees expected to be in retail stores, retailers are expected to start deploying robots at every stage of the retail chain. 

An effective example is SoftBank’s robot – Pepper. Pepper, with the help of computer vision, can easily detect human emotions and engage with them in multiple languages. It can play music, dance, and take selfies with customers to light up their mood. 

Another example is LoweBot, developed by Lowe’s innovation lab. This robot is able to understand multiple languages and help consumers effectively navigate stores.

As the retail industry hits “reset” and charts out an entirely new shopping journey, retailers need not only make shoppers feel safe but have to constantly innovate & enhance their experiences.  

Checklist for Warehouse Operations in a Post-COVID-19 World

As the dawn of reality sets in and businesses embrace the new normal, the fear of COVID-19 remains intact. The government has eased restrictions and allowed for businesses to operate, however, with the condition that stern rules and regulations are to be followed. For businesses of any scale, streamlining flows to reopen warehouses may be a challenge given the complexity of the problem that lies ahead. 

Challenges that need immediate addressing

  • Is there a disaster management plan in place?
  • How will the business work with suppliers?
  • How will the business maintain the workforce and ensure strict adherence to regulations?
  • How will the business tackle problems like in warding and movement of goods within the warehouse with minimal contact?
  • How will the logistics hand-off take place?
  • How will deliveries and returns be handled?

Some sectors have seen unprecedented growth in the past; with ‘essentials’ skyrocketing in demand, the need for the hour is uninterrupted supply. Fulfilling demand, however, does not come at the cost of safety. Every business today, whether in the essential or non-essential space needs to have an action plan to ensure the safety of the workers and consumers while keeping the risk of contracting the virus as minimal as possible. 

How to streamline warehouse operations for safety

  1. 360 Sanitization: As many studies suggest, the virus can live on inanimate objects for close to 72 hours and eliminating chances of contracting the virus through surfaces is the first step towards curbing the spread. Thorough sanitization of peripherals, doors, knobs, racks, trolleys, and other objects can cut down any potential risks. Sanitization has to be a mandatory practice and carried out on a regular basis for efficacy.
  1. Monitor floor staff: Educating the workforce is the foremost responsibility of businesses. The seriousness of the situation needs to be communicated to the workforce and the steps to curb the spread also need to be addressed. Monitoring the workforce before entering the premises should be made mandatory. As per the government regulations, anyone who is running a temperature over 37.4 needs to be reported to the manager and sent home for a period of self-quarantine. Also, masks and gloves must be distributed for safety. Hand sanitization every 2 hours has to be made mandatory and this is also to be monitored.
  1. Social distancing norms: A minimum distance of 6 feet is to be maintained between workers at any given time. At workstations, packing stations, and even leisure time, the norms of social distancing are to be adhered to. 
  1. In warding procedure: While sanitization, social distancing, and other mandatory procedures can easily be put in place, the real challenge arises when inwarding products with zero contact. Mandatory temperature checks for drivers bringing in the goods via trucks and a contactless handover of the required documentation, followed by 
  1. No-contact racking, packing, and hand-offs: The ideal way to move things around the warehouse while maintaining minimal contact is to assign two people and set paths to carry out tasks. While racking, ensure the GRN entries are made and aisles are sanitized well. Social distancing norms are to be maintained while packing with a minimum of 6 feet between each worker. Packed goods are to be left at designated spots from where assigned personnel can pick them and a hand-off to logistics will be done.
  1. No-contacts returns processing: In the case of returns, the package is to be dropped off at the return pay. As a safety measure, the package is to be left at the returns dock for 24 hours and inwarded the next day. Post-pick-up, sanitization, and quality check is to be carried out and the product should be then docked on the respective rack.

Download your warehouse checklist now

Road to Recovery: The Retail Edit

The retail sector contributes to 10% of the nation’s GDP. Retail sales have been an economic indicator because consumer spending drives the Indian Economy. Once the lockdown ends, consumers will want to make themselves feel better – which usually means they would step out to shop. The pandemic, however, would have an impact on how we would feel about crowds and tight spaces.

As retail outlets in the country remain shut, retailers have accelerated and activated campaigns on their online channels. A lockdown extension would result in a disproportionate impact on the retail sector which would eventually lead to a loss in jobs. The sector directly employs around 50 million people. If the lockdown continues a 25% loss in jobs is expected.

In a recent webinar by India Retailing.com, mall owners have suggested the government to open up the organized sector as it would be convenient for them to manage a billion square feet area with all the necessary hygiene checks in place.

It’s about time retailers start moving to online channels. Once the pandemic comes to an end online shopping is expected to boom. One of the largest increases in eCommerce shopping is in India.



global covid 19 and ecommerce WARC data

The post COVID world would witness a change in consumer behavior. Consumers would be extremely cautious with their spending as well. Here are a few suggestions on how retailers should work on their retail strategies during the current pandemic.

1.      Focus on current customers

2.      Upgrade your website

3.      Develop relevant content

4.      Optimize internal processes

5.      Prepare for logistics and supply chain to come back online

Nielsen has identified three distinct time horizons for global market regeneration beyond the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) global health emergency and attached likely scenarios to each. The three-tiered framework identifies the conditions for businesses to rebound, reboot, or reinvent as they confront expected unprecedented recessionary conditions.

covid exit scenarios rebound reboot reinvent



 BCG has shared an exhibit with probable strategies retailers can use to reach various objectives. The exhibit suggests ways retailers could align their markdown program closely with the retailer’s objectives.

the advanced analytics behind fashion company markdowns

Beyond COVID-19 Business Transformation for the New Normal

Beyond COVID-19 Business Transformation for the New Normal

As the world continues to navigate through the uncertainty of the COVID 19 crisis, businesses have taken a massive hit, leaving leaders scrambling for ways to keep businesses afloat. It is now strongly established that consumption patterns will see a colossal shift in the coming weeks. Offline purchases will be shifted to eCommerce, leaving brands to consider and implement stronger strategies to keep up with this inevitable change in consumption patterns. In a recent episode of Talks at Tenovia with business leaders, we interviewed TN Hari, entrepreneur, author, and Head of HR at Big Basket. In the discussion, he highlighted the 5x increase in demand for goods and the challenges businesses will face to match the demand during the crisis. The demand itself indicates a shift in buying behavior and this is something that every organization needs to analyze. In times of a crisis quickly adapting to the buyer’s needs is key to sustaining in the long run.


Some key consumer behavior changes according to a research study by Agility PR

  • 44 % of respondents say that the coronavirus spread has impacted their purchase decisions.
  • 21% of respondents say they are shopping more frequently online.
  • 29% of respondents say they are taking advantage of BOPIS services to get products delivered without going in-store, with 18 percent using a curbside pickup, 17 percent using subscription services, and 13 percent opting for auto ship.

While some of these changes are going to be temporary, others would be permanent. Consumers have come to realize that touch and feel are not as important especially in the event of a pandemic. This leaves online purchases and eCommerce a wide array of opportunities to catch momentum.

The reluctancy to step outside and buy will mark a tipping point for the adoption of eCommerce platforms. According to Bain insights, the outbreak in China has caused dramatic shifts in online purchases of consumer goods in China and this will hold true worldwide.

Traditional brick and mortar retailers need to quickly adapt to changing consumer buying preferences. They either choose to fulfill orders through established online retailers resulting in reduced bottom-line revenues or enter the eCommerce business wherein they sell directly to consumers. 

Retailers should explore an Omnichannel approach in order to stabilize and then increase revenues. Here are a few tips for business leaders to succeed during a crisis:

  • Consider going hyperlocal
  • Leverage tech to forecast demand and optimize inventory
  • Evolve your business model and ecosystem
  • Refocus on products and offer customizable solutions
  • Revolutionize your marketing techniques

In the words of Darwin “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change”

As consumers gradually but firmly change their buying preferences towards the online channel and eCommerce channels it is important that retailers adapt to change immediately unless they want to be the next Kodak or Nokia.

Implications of COVID-19 – The URGENT Need for a Digital Transformation

Implications of COVID-19 - The URGENT Need for a Digital Transformation

The last month has seen a major shift in the landscape of businesses both offline and online. As retail stores shut shop and people frantically wash hands, social isolation has somehow gotten us all more digitally connected than ever before. The COVID-19 situation is, in fact, a global crisis and a very serious one, which would force a lot of businesses to innovate and make tweaks to their business model. In the words of Steve Blank, of the Lean Startup fame:
“If your business model today looks the same as it did on 1st March, you’re in denial – and possibly out of business”. You should read up his Lifeboat Strategy to deal with this crisis for your business.


WHY YOU NEED AN ECOMMERCE AND A DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION STRATEGY

Ok here’s why: Offline business will take a while to come back to what it was. The good news is that the consumption will not stop – people’s behaviors won’t change – where they buy products or services from will get disrupted over the next few months. 


eCommerce will grow

The social isolation situation may continue longer and even after the lockdown is lifted, people will continue taking preventive measures keeping most shopping limited to online. 

Online sales have increased two-fold after the crisis struck. Most products like electronics have anyways largely been purchased online. Other sectors like Groceries, however, have only recently seen a spike in demand and sales online. What happens with grocery sales increasing online is that it is fundamentally a game-changer for the eCommerce industry. And if people get used to the convenience of this, it might just become habit-forming. 

Now, if your business is ahead of the curve on eCommerce, great! But if you’re a business leader and you’ve been slow to adapt to eCommerce, you have to prioritize it as one of the top projects on your to-do list. 

Adapting to eCommerce means a bunch of things including making tweaks in your supply chain, merchandise, hiring, warehousing, operations, customer service and finally sales and marketing. For some companies, it includes exploring a B2B eCommerce approach to expand their distribution.


And That’s why you would need a Digital Transformation

Digital transformation doesn’t mean activating your digital marketing and ticking that checkbox. It’s an approach that involves looking at your business with a fresher mindset. It is a shift that will need a change in the mindset, skillset, and toolset. 

Most brand leaders have heard of Digital Transformation and have probably taken some strides towards this. But if we were to look around, it’s nowhere near where it should be in the ecosystem. This COVID-19 crisis will quickly make it clear the gaps in your digital transformation strategy and execution. 

As the old Chinese saying goes: The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the next best time is now” 

In summary: We would strongly urge brand leaders to rethink what their businesses would look like if eCommerce would play a bigger role than it ever has: across the supply chain, distribution, brand awareness, new channels of sales, and new avenues of customer service and conversations.  

As stressful as the situation can get as we adapt to a post COVID-19 / Corona Virus world – as leaders we can do what’s in our control as we navigate our companies through this crisis. Act now!