COVID-19 has had a significant influence on the worldwide business environment. Tough safeguards have been put in place, and forced isolation has made it impossible for brick-and-mortar establishments to operate. Businesses in all industries are having a difficult time. However, actual retailers, or brick-and-mortar companies, are suffering the most. With good cause, a substantial number of offline businesses are shifting to the internet.
While many companies are going online, some are still struggling to find solutions. How would going online benefit you? What are the long-term advantages? Where do I begin?
Toll on MSMEs in India:
Covid-related stress has taken a severe toll on MSMEs, particularly micro and small firms in a variety of industries. Indeed, a number of such businesses, including restaurants, supermarkets, beauty salons, pharmacy shops, Kirana stores, logistics service providers, manufacturers, and others, have been trying to sell themselves as a result of numerous obstacles since Covid’s strike last year. According to a number of such micro-enterprises Financial Express Online spoke with, the causes ranged from finance and supply chain challenges to relocation, new company launch, competition, lack of consumers, and more. A Chennai-based air freshener producer is likewise trying to sell his company and pursue other options that require less offline or physical infrastructure.
According to SMERGERS statistics on MSME purchasing and selling, 52,000 of the total 1.65 lakh firms advertised for sale came onboard beginning April 1, 2020, with 7,000 being confirmed or authorised listings. In reality, before Covid, the daily average of firms listed for sale was 10, which jumped to 20 before the second wave and is now approaching 25.
Small establishments are battling with manpower, physical, and digital resources. They intend to either go online or employ inferior third-party service providers. Nobody knows exactly when the pandemic will finish. Until then, these firms must take their online presence seriously and work on making it effective by embracing cutting-edge technology. Look at it this way: the shift from offline to online can be extremely advantageous even after the pandemic is over since customer expectations will soar following COVID-19.
Elements for transitioning from offline to online:
Data management: If your consumer data is held in many locations, you must first examine your data. Determine how much info is genuine, valuable, and correct. Utilise this information to improve the consumer experience and keep them coming back.
Customer profiles, CRM: Collect data in your CRM system to aid in future marketing actions such as targeted offers. This type of rich data may also be used in automation and AI-powered operations. This data may also be used to construct customer profiles, which will aid in understanding the consumers and analysing their behaviours, trends, and patterns. Create segments for various clients and provide them with appropriate offers.
Technology integration: Because there are various touchpoints in an omnichannel organisation, shifting from offline to online might be straightforward or difficult. It is critical to comprehend the systems and solutions at hand. You must guarantee that the interactions between apps are protected and that the data is protected.
Touchless commerce: Touchless commerce is a new technique to service consumers that eliminates or virtualizes all human touch points along the customer process. Smartphones, for example, may be used to search for, assess, and pick things, as well as make purchases. The procedure makes use of robotics and automation. Very little human participation is required, particularly during automated drop-offs or pick-ups at certain locations. This eliminates any human touch at the time of delivery.
Payment integration: Offline companies receive cash payments from clients. After making the switch from offline to online, you should consider taking payments using a merchant account (to take credit card payments online) or integrating a payment gateway to manage the gateway and procedure. Payment gateways also offer different payment options, as well as customer service and fraud prevention.
Security: Cyber risks, financial assaults, and privacy issues are major problems for internet enterprises. When moving from offline to online, you must verify that the information obtained and the financial processes are safe. Customers may lose faith in your organisation and products/services if there is a lack of security.
Ways to go offline for small businesses:
Third-party commerce platforms: To establish an online business, you must first construct a website, then choose items, ship them, and manage payment choices. When you have an e-commerce platform in place, you may connect dependable and feature-rich third-party e-commerce systems to increase your income. Some BigCommerce platforms help small businesses struggling to start their business, the transition from offline to online and enhance the existing business with their core solutions.
Walmart-owned Flipkart, which launched BBD on Friday, has collaborated with over 100 brands and 2000 fashion outlets to enable them to display their retail offerings to neighbouring pin codes in over 300 locations.
On the first day, about half of Flipkart’s new clients were from Tier 3 cities. The spike from these areas may be linked to the e-EMI-based retailer’s ‘affordability’ items, which were introduced this year, with one out of every five sales in high-ticket segments like mobiles, furniture, major appliances, and electronics facilitated by an EMI structure.
Own a commerce portal: Set up servers, buy a domain, choose an e-commerce platform, build a website, configure payment and shipping methods, determine tax compliance, licence, website security software, plan marketing and SEO strategies, integrate omnichannel platforms, software, and strategies, and begin selling your products or services online.
The growing trajectory of e-commerce business:
Consumers’ preferences for purchasing items ranging from necessities to branded goods have shifted away from retail stores, supermarkets, and shopping malls and toward online portals.
As it is aptly said, even in the worst of circumstances, there is still hope for some. The viral outbreak was a watershed point in the Indian e-commerce business. According to one research, the Indian e-commerce business is predicted to reach $200 billion by 2026, up from $30 billion in 2017. Moving forward, the Indian E-commerce business is predicted to develop rapidly, surpassing the United States to become the world’s second-largest E-commerce market by 2034.