When the lockdown period was extended and the state of West Bengal closed completely, to keep commercial goods accessible the e-commerce delivery was kept active. West Bengal is among the top states of the country that have resolutely taken their business online. Local micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) have been quite active in selling their goods on both Flipkart and Amazon. Clothing, food and nutritional products, personal care, home improvement tools and baby care products have been added to the list. Median Research a consumer insights company, reveals how the businesses are gearing up and consumer behavior is shifting to safety purchase.
Ecommerce preferred shopping mode
The Indian e-commerce markets have benefitted immensely in the pandemic. The containment measures opened doors to the most convenient mode of shopping of goods from the necessary to the luxury. Seasoned shoppers were tempted to buy online while new shoppers found more excitement and safety in this new mode of shopping.
A shift in shopping trends
The concept of breaking the chain and maintaining social distancing, having to stay at home with kids, has propelled online orders. Not just consumer goods but daily grocery, vegetables, milk, poultry, meat, and fish have seen peak online sales. The advantage of home delivery is the biggest attraction. Apart from that, in Kolkata, Swiggy and Uber had both started their pick and drop service from one address to the other, since 2019. You can send everything from cooked food to just about anything for a price. Which again keeps the Covid protocols intact yet helps life to move. Technology is a blessing in these trying times. All you require is an uninterrupted broadband service and a smartphone for the eCommerce service, which is connecting the heartland to the farthest corners of the state. Median Research feels that the trend is here to stay. This structural shift in shopping and social behavior, with customers showing a greater dependency on e-commerce is paving the way towards digitalization of buying and selling goods online.
The stronger players like Amazon and Flipkart have made way for small e-commerce entities on the local cyberscape who are gaining traction in this lockdown and pandemic phase. To compete with the local e-commerce faces in Kolkata, Amazon made changes in its communication with the locals by adopting the native language and accepting other popular payment modes. The new concept of business is in aggregating the offline grocery stores and vegetable sellers from the local ‘haat’ to cater to the online demands by local and major eCommerce players.
First-time Flipkart users are being handheld through their purchase journey with a voice assistant speaking in Bangla to aid their shopping demands seamlessly. Online sale has seen a spike in groceries which has been steady since the lockdown in 2020. The immediate lockdown increased sales in laptops owing to online classes for students. That trend is continuing, and the demand is steady. Health and fitness products are still very much in demand. Consumer electronic products, personal grooming products, apparel, books, and furniture have seen a steady rise.
How businesses are readapting?
The luxury line clothing is however losing its clients with people being at home. E-Commerce clothesline sellers have revamped their business strategies. They are selling everything from masks to comfort clothing at home and workout or exercising outfits which have seen a highlighted demand. Fashion related content is another attraction on many e-commerce platforms and is garnering attention from old and new buyers.
Medium Research, a top online survey companies in India feels that this is an irreversible trend that is bound to continue as people value safety over everything else. The shift in shopping behavior will compel all offline sellers to soon have a web presence to make themselves visible to customers. This will be the only way to sustain the lockdown and beyond.