Will businesses continue to prioritize e-commerce mediums post COVID-19?
A famed Arabic saying goes that “if Muhammad won’t go to the mountains, the mountains go to Muhammad”.
E-commerce and its clientele are an apt example of this saying. There was a time when shoppers had to go to specific shops and shopping areas to buy their needs- which included business-houses and enterprise. The best examples of this phenomenon are traditional bazaars in most towns which are the hubs of most whole sellers who while being big, carry the maximum variety of any product. For most buyers, it was left to buying from local vendors or coming to these biggies. The latter i.e., buying in the physical world, was quite an exercise given that users could be miles away from the dealers. Everything from travel to vehicle parking were a chore.
About a decade back things changed with the advent of e-commerce companies. What initially started for books (Amazon and Flip-Kart, the latter is today the former’s biggest acquisition in India) is today omnipresent in practically every product one can think of. Along the way, established companies including amazon, Alibaba, and global source started to provide the same level of service to businesses for their procurements, be it office-related equipment or parts of machines and industrial equipment.
What they did was to make the buyer the KING who needn’t step out of their office yet get what they want right there- with all the attached bells and whistles! The Covid-19 pandemic just added to the feeling of security behind one’s own doors due to which e-commerce has ONLY GROWN in the last two years!
According to www.digitalcommerce360.com, consumers spent $861.12 billion online with U.S. retailers in 2020, up 44.0% from $598.02 billion in 2019. Online spending represented 21.3% of total retail sales last year, compared with 15.8% the year prior. COVID-19-related boosts in online shopping resulted in an additional $174.87 billion in eCommerce revenue in 2020. If it weren’t for the bump in online sales from the pandemic, the $861.12 billion in eCommerce sales wouldn’t have been reached until 2022.
In sum, our lives haven’t stopped because of Covid-19 & either our spending. In fact, it’s only increased and is likely to stay that way for quite a few reasons including!
- Procuring from anywhere in the world with relative ease
- Procuring with full knowledge of products and alternatives, and alternative suppliers.
- While taking lead-time into an account, procuring on JIT is possible which saves money and is apt for today’s start-up businesses that are short on money, and space.
- Delivery, as instructed, is a big, big carrot compared to going out to procure.
- Cloud-based CRM along with AI, NLP and voice activations can give clients exactly what they want- right where they are!
- Initiatives in eCommerce including drop-shipping, reverse logistics and return within stipulated times mean one is not stuck for want of products or with products one has no use of.
- Newer local eCommerce business companies now almost resemble a brick-and-mortar with all the advantages of the former including customization and credit!
With so much going in favor of e-commerce, it isn’t an alternative to procuring the physical way. It is, in fact the ONLY way ahead which shall save everything from time to money and patience while letting businesses do what they think they can do best.
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