‘Covid-19’ & ‘Coronavirus’ are two words that have made a place for themselves in the history of the world. Besides, the words ‘quarantine’, ‘new normal’ and ‘social distancing’ have become part of common vocabulary in every conversation. A global pandemic that led to a huge loss of lives & livelihoods. It gave the world a rude shock & forced us to wake up and become more responsible as human beings. Moreover, it has brought people across the globe closer. This could become possible only through the advancement in technology that happened in the last decade. Read on to find out what this crisis means for your B2B eCommerce business.
Covid-19 and it’s implications on business
Entire countries going under complete lockdowns did have a negative impact on their respective economies. Employee layoffs, salary cuts, and declining sales had become common phenomena. Businesses which did not have a sound foundation or provision for a crisis had to completely shut down. The ones which had transitioned to the digital medium have not only been able to sustain the pandemic but also regain profitability.
One of the major reformations has been the institutionalization of the ‘Work From Home’ culture. Companies are acknowledging the reduced real estate costs in terms of office space and increased productivity levels of the employees.
People are spending an increased amount of time online
The pandemic has instated lifestyle changes which made more people to carry on their day-to-day business while staying indoors. And this has led to a huge surge in the amount of time people are spending on the internet.
Even those who have always been apprehensive about transacting online have realized the ease and efficiency of doing things digitally. And this phenomenon has particularly been a boon for the eCommerce industry.
According to preliminary statistics by Forbes, the total internet usage has surged about 50% – 70% in the early days of the lockdown. The most to benefit through this surge was the giants of global eCommerce businesses, viz. Amazon and Walmart, the world’s biggest retailer by sales.
Apply the following measures to remain afloat in a B2B eCommerce world
An initial decline followed by a sudden rise in purchase orders, disturbance in supply chains, shutting down of brick-and-mortar stores, and changes in consumer behavior are the most visible effects of pandemic in the B2B world. The organizations that have been quick to adapt and remodel their business are better off now than the ones that were hesitant. For those who are looking for solutions, here is a list of quick pointers to go for:
- first of all, set up safety precautions to protect your employees and customers
- shift your consumer base online
- pay attention to your existing consumers
- redesign your eCommerce platform to meet the needs of B2B consumer
- make your returns process simpler
- launch your web stores in new markets
- work on the disturbance in demand & supply chains
Check here for a detailed guide on the actionable steps you can take if you run a B2B eCommerce business.
The way to go forward in eCommerce
We all know that the covid ‘era’ is not getting over. Not anytime soon. So it would be best to accept it as part of our lives and learn to live with it. Companies all around the world have already got this point and made drastic reforms in their ways of conducting business. The eCommerce operators which were hit when the government restricted the sale of non-essentials had already started recovering by June as more customers started buying goods online. Today, people have become more adept at the online way of doing things. Consequently, the demand for eCommerce purchases is going to rise. According to market research firm Forrester, as mentioned in this article, the e-commerce market is estimated to see a higher growth of around 25% next year to $42 billion compared to a 7-8% growth in 2020.
Re-birth of the Online Market
The market has already started to take shape as it acknowledged the challenges in doing business. Consumers are getting more and more informed and wiser by the day, thanks to the ever-increasing digitalization. People in the rural landscape are also getting accustomed to the host of benefits the internet provides. Mr. Mukesh Ambani, Chairman, Reliance Industries Ltd., recently announced that Reliance Jio shall launch 5G network in the second half of 2021. Also, the acquisition of Netmeds and Urban Ladder by Reliance indicates the strong potential of B2C eCommerce.
The latest thrust in the eCommerce landscape is Tata Group’s announcement of investing about $1.2 billion in e-grocer Bigbasket and e-pharma platform 1MG. This will put the group in a direct e-tail (electronic retail) battle with US rivals Amazon & Walmart.
This makes it clear that e-pharmacy and online grocery is bound to grow manifolds.
These announcements indicate that the future of the economy is going to be healthy and even more ‘internet focused’. More people using the internet means more online transactions which makes it almost mandatory for businesses to create their online brand identity . And when businesses move online, the competition is only going to get tougher. To tackle this, businesses will have to make some fundamental changes in how they operate, their SOPs. The pandemic has only increased the urgency for the same.
Planning the near future of work
Organizations around the world are increasingly adapting to the “new normal”. To avoid physical proximity among employees and to abide by the ‘social distancing’ norms, companies are making their employees work remotely. The biggest benefit of this massive shift in the work culture has been the reduced expenditure on real estate costs from the organizations’ point of view. For the employees, time and energy in commuting to the ‘office’ is now being put into doing better work hence increasing productivity. This has also worked wonders for the environment as with lesser people traveling to their offices, the number of vehicles on roads and hence pollution has decreased. Of course, the manufacturing industry requires the workforce to be physically present at the site to be able to work. The capital and manpower thus saved should be put into creating better digital infrastructure for the organization and a great online presence.