Online shopping or e-commerce was once touted as one of the toughest transformations or conversions to enter consumers' lives the world over. Cut to 2020 and a virus that brought down the shutters on almost every retail store across the globe, and e-commerce has proven to be one of the best decisions ever made. To learn more about what's in store for the online retail store, Farhan Munshi, a young and dynamic entrepreneur, and social media expert, sheds light on the critical role of e-commerce in the time of COVID-19.
Not so long ago, e-commerce was seen as the retail store's inferior cousin. But times are a-changing according to Munshi, who says, "With COVID-19 and the resulting lockdown, e-commerce has become a genuine necessity. Where government orders have restricted movement, one is free to roam the digital spaces of online stores. Sure, you lack the touch and feel element, but perhaps consumers will develop a sharper sense of product and price comparison to counter it. And retailers will use this opportunity to develop innovative ways to make the process enjoyable."
Online retailers are able to see the change in the buying patterns of their consumers. And according to Munshi, "Most are happy to report that customers are willing to place their trust and loyalty in products they buy online. This means that retailers will now have to up their QC and vendor game to provide customers 'offline-product quality at attractive online-prices' more consistently."
It seems that COVID isn't yet done with humanity. With many countries planning to undergo another wave of lockdown, it's time for e-commerce retailers to step up and deliver. Munshi adds, "If there's going to be another lockdown because of COVID-19, it's clear that most buyers will end up depending on retail stores for their purchases. Especially online stores that have made food their business – from selling groceries, frozen to pre-cooked food, to delivering meals – will have to make frequent health checks and sanitization mandatory. Developing online surveys regarding product quality and delivery and encouraging buyers to share their concerns and solutions will also add to the process as a whole."
E-commerce is a very young enterprise. Its future depends on the lessons it can glean from the history of commerce itself. It'll become evident that customers develop loyalty and even empathize with brands that, at their core, care for their products, their employees, the environment, and their promises. E-commerce is at an inflection point, and according to Munshi, "retailers, investors, vendors, manufacturers, all stand to gain from ethical practices and quality creation." Let's wait and watch.