According to a report on Business Insider, around one-third of the global population is on lockdown due to Coronavirus. As of March 25, about 452,241 people have been infected with the Coronavirus worldwide. Countries all over the world are implementing measures to slow the spread of this virus. As a part of the preventive measures, a total lockdown has been imposed in many countries like India, UK, France, China, Italy, etc.
Apart from health concerns, Coronavirus is also having a severe impact on the global economy. E-commerce analysts and experts worldwide are keeping a close watch on how the e-commerce industry will respond to the tragedy caused by Covid-19. Before moving onto the economy and business side, let’s look at what exactly this coronavirus is.
What is Coronavirus(Covid-19)?
According to WHO, Covid-19 is an infectious disease caused by the coronavirus. Normal people will recover from the disease without any complications. Still, older people with underlying medical issues such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to be affected. Covid-19 can spread to another person through saliva from an infected person or through discharge from their nose. At present, there are no specific treatments available to cure the disease. Having proper hygiene, such as washing your hands regularly with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, will help you to stay away from getting infected.
Impact of Covid-19 on the global market
Covid-19, which has spread to all parts of the world, has affected the global market and economy way beyond expectation. From the global share market to the travel industry, Covid-19 has wreaked havoc in almost every industry. According to International Monetary Fund (IMF), the world is expected to witness a global recession this year, which will be much worse than the global financial crisis in 2007-08. On March 12, 2020, the global stock market witnessed the biggest single-day percentage fall since 1987.
Impact of Covid-19 on the e-commerce market
Covid-19 has affected almost all industries, but one industry seems to be benefiting from the outbreak. The e-commerce industry sees a huge boost, as more people are staying inside their house playing on the internet. As the stores are closing and people refuse to come out, many businesses have started moving their services online.
Have e-commerce businesses been able to keep up with the rise in demand?
Most people stay inside the house and shopping online instead of going out to a physical store to protect themselves from infection. As the demand is getting higher, e-commerce businesses find it difficult to get the product delivered on time. In a country like India, the orders that have breached the expected delivery date have increased by 21 percent between March 10-20. The logistics industry has to find a solution to reduce the effect of Covid-19 on its operation.
How can e-commerce ensure business continuity?
As the entire world is affected by the Coronavirus, businesses need to ensure their continuity by taking appropriate actions to overcome the impact. According to the International Chamber of Commerce, businesses should start developing their business continuity plan and implement them according to the situation.
By following some of the points mentioned below, businesses can protect their online business, thus reducing the long-term cost to their business.
Take proper care of your employees.
- Develop policies and implement them to avoid the spreading of disease among employees.
- Give awareness to employees about the symptoms of the disease and ask them to take leave if they are experiencing any of the symptoms.
- Make sure to keep each day’s contacts list of everyone updated to help minimize the spread and impact in case of infection.
- Provide employees with necessary hygiene facilities like hand sanitizers, masks, gloves, infrared contactless forehead thermometers, etc.
- Ensure your employees are having medical insurance so that they won’t have to face the burden of paying for their medical expenses in case of any infection.
Ensure the supply of vital products
- Groceries, beverages, food items are some of the few essentials that people need during this crisis. Since very few people are going out, and most physical stores have closed down due to the need to keep social distancing, the only option left for people is online e-commerce. As an e-commerce business, you should make sure that you have got the stocks to meet people’s requirements. Instead of selling other products that are not in demand right now, focus on providing vital products people need at the moment.
Be socially active
- People spend most of their time online and on social media platforms during their quarantine days at home. Maintaining an excellent social presence can help you connect with your customers much better during the time of an outbreak.
Proper supply-chain management
- As the demand increases, logistics companies find it difficult to get things delivered to people on time. Even manufacturers are finding it challenging to ship products to their products to customers on time. At this point, a company with a proper supply chain management solution will benefit from the current situation.
Build customer trust
- From maintaining proper supply-chain management to ensuring the availability of products, all that matters is customer trust. Customers will only buy products from those whom they trust. Being transparent is one way to build customer trust during this difficult time. Don’t try to advertise too much and create a feeling that you are taking advantage of the situation. COVID-19 And Predatory Pricing Online, a blog published in Datahut, explains unfair pricing practices followed by most sellers on famous e-commerce sites amid the coronavirus panic. Such actions should be avoided to the maximum extent possible if you plan to build trust among your customers. Don’t go for short-term benefits; the trust you build today will be beneficial for your business in the future as well.
Positives from the Outbreak
For the past few weeks, we have been witnessing a massive boost in e-commerce sales, while most physical stores are getting closed due to the fear of virus spread. Such a market trend is most likely to remain even after the impact of coronavirus. As more and more people are starting to prefer online shopping over physical stores, it would be better to have their e-commerce websites and physical stores. Some famous shopping brands in the Middle East, such as Anotah, have followed such a strategy over the past few years.
We can expect an increase in the number of projects an e-commerce development company would receive in the coming years, as most businesses will switch to online. This trend can be a massive boost to the IT sector. As companies turn to online means, it can also boost the logistics industry. As the demand rises, more employees will be needed to get things delivered to customers on time.
The situation looks a bit bad at the moment, with more cases being reported every day worldwide. Even in this tough situation, the e-commerce industry has been able to increase its sales. Many experts believe that the e-commerce industry will witness a further increase in sales in the days ahead. However, it is too early to predict anything, and let’s hope that the e-commerce industry will survive this tough situation without much damage.
Sandra Moraes is the Content Management Specialist at Datahut, A Web Scraping Company. Professionally she is a data scientist and researched data analytics. She authored data science and customer relationships.