E-Commerce – the way ahead…
The Covid-19 pandemic sent countries into lockdown. The slowdown, related uncertainties could have pushed the world towards a large-scale depression. However, the closure of the brick-and-mortar stores resulted in an unexpected economic repercussion – the rise in online sales.
The pandemic affected the traditional way of making purchases. Few customers were willing to or able to make physical purchases. With strict rules and restrictions in place, stores saw reduced footfalls and, thus, sales took a major hit.
Small businesses struggled to stay in business, and quite a few had to shut down.
With no option other than to market their goods and services online, many businesses took to E-Commerce. It became the messiah, which could save them from doom.
Can small businesses benefit from E-Commerce?
With online stores, retail establishments reached out to more customers and saw increased sales. E-Commerce is not just for the bigger outlets; MSMEs can take advantage of it too. Small business owner who wish to expand their online presence, E-Commerce provides the way forward. It provides stability, growth, security, and the ability to reach their customers. E-Commerce is not a luxury anymore, rather a necessity.
A small business cannot gain access to foreign markets or even markets beyond their physical location easily. E-commerce platforms provide businesses with opportunities to reach global customers, expand their markets, and build a global reputation. There are lower barriers to entry and marking their international presence becomes easier.
Shorter B2B Cycles
Apart from connecting to more customers, E-Commerce helps bring the business closer to the supplier and manufacturer. By doing away with intermediaries, the business benefits by having reduced costs of procurement. The shorter B2B cycles are beneficial to all parties involved.
By using the services of third-party trading platforms (online marketplaces), small businesses can reduce infrastructure, marketing, and distribution costs. The reduced investments and overheads would lead to higher revenue.
Nowadays, more and more customers prefer online shopping. They demand convenience and ease. It helps businesses reach out to those customers who aren’t willing to visit the store or are looking for products that are sold out.
A Better Experience
Customers not only want to look at more varieties and options, but they also want to have a virtual buying experience before swiping the card. Businesses can strive towards making online shopping a memorable and joyous experience for the customer, leading to more revenue for the business.
Ease of Stocking Items
Small business owners can’t stock every product in their stores. With an online presence, they can list all the items and offer in-store pickup or delivery options. Buy Online Pick up In Store (BOPIS) enhances customer convenience and satisfaction.
All e-Commerce platforms are centred on data analytics and can provide analytical information relating to customer behaviour and trends. Businesses can study the metrics, and use the knowledge to understand the pattern in customer choice, product-market fit, and customize their products and services accordingly.
Word of Mouth
Social media platforms connect the business with the customer in the most direct manner. The customers’ feedbacks and reviews are the best marketing tool for any business. And in this case, it is free too.
ECommerce has changed the way businesses are being run.
With over 12 million E-Commerce sites, and many more being created every day; this industry is going to see tremendous revenue generation. The boom in online retail sales has played a major role in keeping global economies stable. The E-Commerce industry’s impact and the ripple effect on Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) are unmissable.
The MSME sector has a substantial contribution to India’s GDP. According to Nasdaq, it is estimated that by 2040, over 95% of all purchases will be through E-Commerce.
- Indian E-Commerce in 2019 was valued at $27-billion. According to Grant Thornton, the market value of e-commerce in India is expected to be worth US$188 billion by 2025.
- In 2020, India was the eighth-largest market for e-Commerce.
- The industry’s upward growth trajectory shows that by 2034, India will become the second-largest e-Commerce market across the world.
- According to Shopify, a Canadian multinational e-commerce company, the global ecommerce market was expected to total $4.89 trillion in 2021, and would continue to grow.
These figures show that E-Commerce marketplaces can drive the transformation of the entire MSME industry.
E-Commerce is the way ahead for MSMEs.
An online store reinforces the physical store, though sometimes it has even replaced the physical business establishment. E-Commerce and Online sales are here for the long run and small businesses stand to benefit from them.