Covid-19 and Ecommerce Business Market


Pakistan’s e-commerce and digital economy has received a huge sales boost during the current coronavirus pandemic as physical mobility of shoppers has remained limited. In recent years, the country has made efforts to expand digitisation of its economy by promoting online businesses in a bid to boost exports and create jobs for young people. According to a report by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), the shift to electronic payments would stimulate consumption and trade, helping the country’s economy by as much as 7%, creating 4 million jobs and boosting gross domestic product (GDP) by $36 billion by 202. As with any crisis, businesses must adapt to these rapidly changing conditions and modify marketing, operations and business models to best serve customers. Integrity is a critical foundation for modern business and ensuring that you execute a planned response to this situation is paramount in this age of information transparency and social media sharing. Increased traffic and order volumes will also result in the need to support increased customer traffic and service request volumes. Managing these demands will be increasingly challenging as call-centers hit capacity, may need to temporarily shut down due to quarantines, or transition to work-from-home models. This is again where beefing up product information and self-help resources on merchant sites is critical. According to analysis provided by COVID-19 Commerce Insight, based on the transaction data of 2,500 brands across 100 countries, pure e-commerce firms are so far holding up well in Europe and the United States, while Asia and Nigeria shows a continued decline in online sales. It would seem that where e-commerce has established itself among consumers, there has been a tendency to switch to purchasing online. Underdeveloped e-commerce markets were not sufficiently ready to respond. China’s e-commerce sector is one of the most mature yet innovative in the world. There is an endless list of companies that operate predominately online in a B2C format, yet there are a few actors that dominate China’s market. Coronavirus highlighted that China’s social online norms differ and its propensity to adapt quickly to rely on online delivery systems to survive was much quicker than populations in the West. The SARS outbreak in 2003 is largely accredited with accelerating the adoption of e-commerce throughout China as it was seen as the most efficient way to ensure deliveries of goods whilst reducing the risk of spreading disease. This has consequently led to customers being very comfortable with operating within an online market space where people are less predisposed to revert back to traditional bricks-and-mortar shopping norms. For many restaurants that have had to close during the economic freeze, online delivery services have become a lifeline. Teachers and consultants are continuing to work through video conferencing. In some cases, e-commerce is even creating new economic opportunities. Governments can play a key role in helping businesses and households harness the power of e-commerce during this crisis. In few countries, the numbers of active COVID-19 cases are still high. In some places, containment measures have slowed the spread of infections and some of the more extreme lockdown measures are gradually lifted. However, for all countries, preventing new infections and limiting in-person interaction are likely to remain key policy priorities for some time to come. Facilitating the digital economy should be a major pillar of government strategies. Governments can make it easier for businesses and households to connect to the digital economy. Legal frameworks surrounding online remote service delivery can be clarified and, where appropriate, relaxed. Equally, governments can help overcome information frictions during the crisis. Local brick-and-mortar shops are rapidly moving online to continue serving their clients. Many internet service providers are offering expanded service packages to help households that practice physical distancing and use the internet more intensively than usual. This is an opportunity in disguise where along with financial constraints new opportunities to excel are also available. One has to explore these opportunities by appropriate and timely decision making.





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