Digital transformation is no longer a trend or buzz phrase. It is rather the evolution of how business is conducted in the digital age.
Consumer preference is shifting from shops, supermarkets, and shopping malls to online marketplaces for the purchase of products, ranging from basic commodities to branded goods. The pandemic accelerated this shift in a more pronounced manner as online provided them a larger selection of products and they could shop from the safety of their homes. With work from home continuing, e-commerce continues to provide the convenience needed by the consumers, even as the worst of the pandemic is yet to come.
Leveraging e-commerce for building capacity of Indian entrepreneurs and India’s inclusive growth, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) is working towards bringing the Aatmanirbhar Bharat mission, as envisaged by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to life.
In view of taking the efforts forward, CII organized a panel discussion on e-commerce as a growth highway for Aatmanirbhar Bharat.
The panel discussion began with a context-setting by the moderator Akash Gupt, Policy Expert, he stated that the pandemic has increased the demand, a significant share of which will come from tier II and III cities.
Vinod Kumar, W. President, India SME Forum said, “Over the years, e-commerce has empowered many MSMEs to digitize, tap consumer demand for online shopping and help India become Atmanirbhar. From our experience of the previous wave of COVID-19 cases, we also know that e-commerce is essential for citizens to continue to access basic needs during these difficult times. Delivery personnel should be notified as frontline workers so that they can serve customers without any fear and citizens can continue buying things they need from the safety of their homes.”
Archana Garodia Gupta, Owner, Touchstone stated, “E-commerce being an undoubtedly more efficient platform for doing business as it could easily tap the untouched geographies. She also mentioned about the cost of doing business via e-commerce is very less which indeed creates a win-win situation for the company and customer and also helps women entrepreneurs to operate businesses from home, while still taking care of their domestic responsibilities. On the policy front she highlighted that earlier there was on refund for an exporter but today there is no case today where an exporter can export with a refund from the government.”
E-commerce can enable the documentation of traditional art and craft stated by Nirupama Soundararajan, Senior Fellow & Head of Research, Pahle India Foundation (PIF). She also talked about the advantage of e-commerce for MSMEs to create a brand identity and makes it possible to export in small quantities and seek consumer feedback to test the market in advance. On the policy front, she said that cogency in approach to be followed while drafting them as lack of the cogency creates conflicts which are very difficult resolve.
Dhvanil Sheth, Founder, Skillmatics highlighted how the government is quick to adapt to the new way of business i.e. e-commerce exports and there is a need to digitize and interconnect the compliance management systems to ease out the process to transition to e-commerce. On the policy front, he said there is a need for a collective approach from GoI, Industry, MSMEs, and entrepreneurs.