Effects of the Pandemic on Indian Retailers
Effects of the Pandemic on Indian Retailers

The lockdown had a significant impact on the retail industry. It affected everyone around the world and had a tremendous influence on several businesses throughout the world by 2021, but retail is at the top of that list. The unprecedented worldwide crisis has had a negative impact on the already low consumer sentiments that the retail sector has been tackling. Without a full-fledged solution for how shopkeepers would run their businesses, a complete lockdown occurred, which severely harmed the retail industry.

According to a study by the Retailers Association of India, retail sales in India dropped by 79 percent in May 2021 compared to May 2019. This happened due to the country's shutdown during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The report also says that beauty, wellness, and personal care had the biggest drop in the retail sector, falling by 87 percent, followed by footwear, which fell by 86 percent.

The food and grocery industry had a better fall as compared to others, with a 34 percent drop, while restaurants had a 70 percent drop. This clearly demonstrates that the grocery industry has more online setups and can deliver and serve their customers better, whereas the rest of the shopkeepers, particularly tier-III sellers, have failed to run their businesses properly. What caused this to happen? It happened because the tier-III shopkeepers lacked a platform from which they could display their shops and get good delivery and payment solutions.

The new normal for shopkeepers has brought numerous new changes for them, too. Considering the current state of the retail industry, even after the lockdown, many retail stores have still not opened, and stores that have opened have had to deal with multiple post-lockdown challenges. Let's have a detailed view of all the issues which the shopkeepers faced during the lockdown.

Shopkeepers encountered the following issues during the lockdown:

-    Due to the lockdown, the shopkeepers had kept their shutters closed, resulting in a significant decrease in revenue.
-    Because of the fear of Covid, more customers choose to shop online rather than in stores, resulting in a lower number of customers in stores.
-    Every shopkeeper didn't have an online store or a website where customers could find them and shop online.
-    Every shopkeeper doesn't have delivery staff to serve their customers, which leads to the selling process being messier during the lockdown
-    Similarly, not every seller has an online payment facility for their customers to get their payments

Every problem comes with a solution. Kiko live is one such application that solves these issues. Here, the shopkeeper can set up a virtual store and run the store even if the shutter is down with a zero percent payment charge and convenient shipping.

The retail market is returning to normal after months of restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 shutdown, which resulted in the closure of several shops and limits on sales. The retail sector is gradually recovering and attempting to meet the demands of new customers while adhering to pandemic safety measures.

There is no doubt that shopkeepers and retailers faced various problems during the lockdown as they didn't have a proper platform where they could sell their goods from home. However, if they will use smart technology to run their business, they will be able to avoid a slowdown in their business. If they use the right technology and tools, they can meet all of the social distance standards while also growing their business. It only takes the proper platform to make a significant difference.

Those retail players who are able to face the anticipated difficulties and cope with the needed modifications by displaying stronger and more competitive strategies like shifting on the online marketplace and adapting to new changes, according to the changing situation will survive the post-COVID-19 problems. However, to do so, businesses will need to undergo a cultural shift and embrace new concepts, in order to adapt effectively to the customer's changing habits by experimenting with new solutions and taking into account the lessons gained from the pandemic.

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