Coronavirus a Global Threat
Virus that has the potential to destabilize the pillars of Modern Life as it can cause the first ever global recession. The rapid spread of COVID-19 has not only disrupted the global economy but also triggered a shutdown in India and has disrupted Global Supply chains & International trade. India’s GDP growth in the Financial Year 2020 may see a decline curve from 5.3% to 2.5%.
Fighting against the Virus
With all the darkness around the country, there’s still a ray of hope! Apparel industry giants are investing in training their store staff for Online sales and Home deliveries as it is bound to increase in the coming years. To support & give comfort like In-store purchase, they are also working on feature of Home trials before purchases as well as the return norms. Since there will be less walk-ins, stores may be utilized for quick packaging for home delivery by logistics partners. While there is a wave of unemployment, in the country E-grocers have already announced hiring of delivery personnel, training existing store staff for e-commerce business and building more warehouses. Restaurateurs are also focusing more on Takeaway & delivery channel.
Neighborhood stores may shine brighter
Even post lock down, in this staggering situation, people will avoid public places like malls, super markets, big shopping streets, etc. which creates an opportunity for neighborhood retailers. With the increase in demand there are high chances of running out of inventory, as production & manufacturing of the items is on hold which is damaging the supply chain. Due to which retailers need to keep a constant eye on inventory they store. Focus should be more on essential products & less on Luxury products. In this pandemic, it is necessary to fulfill the needs of our customers rather than their wants. Ensure customer is buying the required quantity only, because it is necessary that every individual have access to basic needs.
Leverage of Technology
Technology will support retailers by reducing delivery time and easy availability. Retailers can “Go Digital” by using online available sources. WhatsApp is the easiest medium to enhance their business by creating a business account & can broadcast the products to all customers, start taking orders and deliver the items in the nearby areas, by assigning one or two delivery persons; of course, with the required safety measures. Facebook & Instagram can also come in for rescue. Though they do not allow direct selling in India without an external site linked to it. But not to worry there are free e-commerce solution platform like Shopify, Ecwid or Godaddy which can help in developing a website and all you need to do is link it to Facebook Shop. If the owner does not want to go online, they can collaborate with delivery fleet operators like Uber, Swiggy, Zomato, Rapido and Zypp who will deliver the food on their behalf. Just 10 minutes & few clicks make the store Digital!
Wave of Hindrance
With all the stars favoring the small retailers, they may face some hindrance like:
- Protecting cash flow- To keep your small business healthy, cash needs to continue flowing through
- Review Inventory Management Practices- Try to have inventory costs minimum without sacrificing the quality of goods or convenience of customers
- Keep Personal Credit in Good Shape- Hard times make it harder to borrow and small business loans are often among the first to disappear. With good personal credit, you’ll stand a much better chance of being able to borrow the money needed to keep your business afloat if you need to
A road ahead
As per the report of Retail Association of India (RAI), The Indian retail industry may take at least 9-12 months to recover from the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic. 20% – 25% of the industry players may need fresh fund infusion to stay afloat and about 25% of the jobs in the retail industry is likely to get impacted. With increase in Delivery options by using remote and easy application it would be easy for all the business owner to earn revenue in crisis by delivering what ordered and not holding inventory reducing cost of stock holding! These possible steps would help larger & big firms to survive in the time of crisis and shine out bright!
Saloni Surani– Sr. Business Analyst, who pursued her Masters in Management & has an eclectic experience in J.Hirani with various industries like Manufacturing, Real Estates, Hospitality, FinTech, etc. She is a keen observer who silently achieves her goals and happily surprises everyone with the results. Adapting & learning new things has been her forte, which helps her in getting new idea always, anyone who wants to refresh their values – just look at her.
Heli Shah- an MBA graduate is associated with J.Hirani as a Business Analyst. She is fresh soul with humble and optimistic approach who is working in different industries like Manufacturing, Retail, Hospitality etc. Flexibility and greediness in learning new things helps her to conquer the challenges coming on her way.
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