Shopping online will boom in the post COVID world — but not without its terms and conditions

Shopping online will boom in the post COVID world — but not without its terms and conditions
What shopping will look like in a post COVID worldUnsplash
  • Online shopping will continue to boom even after the Coronavirus pandemic comes to an end.
  • Shoppers will be more conscious of retailers' sanitation, health and safety practices.
  • Online shopping may accelerate but customers want timely delivery, compensation for cancellation and the option to make digital payments.
India is under lockdown and most people, especially those in urban areas, are now shopping online. That’s unlikely to change and may even increase once the lockdown regulations are relaxed according to a Capgemini report.

Their analysis shows that the appetite for online shopping is set to increase by nearly 20% in the next six to nine months, but that shift won’t be without its terms and conditions.

Even though more people will be shopping online, most of them want certain assurances to be in place — including the promise of timely delivery, compensation in case an order is cancelled, sanitary or contactless transactions, and higher integration of online payment platforms.

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However, for every action, there’s normally an equal and an opposite reaction. In this case, offline stores will be taking a hit if they can’t adapt. In the post-COVID world, only 46% of people will be looking to shop at physical stores as compared to 56% before the Coronavirus pandemic hit, according to the report.

On-time deliveries and flexible timings — an opportunity for delivery platforms
Capgemini’s analysis shows that over 70% of Indian consumers want the promise of timely delivery. Where an order does get cancelled, they want assurances that they will be adequately compensated.

This is a huge opportunity for delivery platforms to partner with grocery chains — something that Zomato and Swiggy are already doing. Their fluid workforce even allows them to deal with fluctuations in demand and supply. Even Domino’s is taking a crack at it by partnering with ITC to deliver essential goods.

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Aside from the assurance of delivery, consumers also want to have the option to choose when they want their stuff delivered. They will prefer to shop from whichever retailer is giving them the option to choose from different flexible delivery timings — convenience is key.

The other facet of convenience is the option to pay through whichever payment gateway is most accessible. While some choose to pay using Paytm, others want Google Pay. But the central crux is that online payment has to be an option for nearly 80% of Indians. Cash and ATMs have been flagged for being potential ways to contract the coronavirus, which is why going cashless has become more important than ever before.

Sanitation will take centre stage
Nearly 90% of the people surveyed by Capgemini said that they will be more cautious about issues of cleanliness, health and safety even once the lockdown is over. And, they want to see their service providers exercise the same level of caution.

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Three-fourths of Indians will choose to shop from retailers who adopt safety practices in their stores, especially since most of them plan to increase their shopping of groceries and household supplies in the coming six to nine months.

Everyone, grocery stores and consumers alike, will be facing a cash crunch. Capgemini estimates that most people will be looking to cut down on their luxury and discretionary spending.

‘Dark stores’ is a way for businesses to survive
Since physical stores are facing a lot of uncertainty due to the pandemic, ‘going dark’ might be one way to survive. ‘Dark stores’ are retail outposts that stock all the necessary goods, but their sole purpose is to fulfil online orders — not open up their doors to offline customers.

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For larger grocery chains, using dark stores can be a way to meet their online requirements while also ensuring that their in-store customers aren’t disrupted.

For stores to remain open, it will be crucial to ensure that the social distancing norms are built into their layout. Crowded and narrow grocery aisles won’t cut it anymore as people look to avoid congestion.

See also:
Ola Driver Fund report card: Ride-hailing app claims to have helped 9,000 drivers and delivered 650,000 kgs of essential supplies

Lockdown: Retailers witness spike in sale of private labels as supply lines disrupted

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