The pattern is similar from the tiniest towns to major urban hubs and large out-of-town retail complexes. Retailers are cutting their losses and closing their doors for the last time, owing to a perfect storm of costly rents, rising municipal business taxes, and internet competition. We’ve seen huge businesses go bankrupt or save expenses by scaling back their operations over the previous few years.
Although there is no one cause, the advent of online shopping is regarded to be a key influence in the downfall of the “high street.” However, if e-commerce is putting merchants under strain, another strand of digital technology may be able to help. Companies that have teamed up with Google help local merchants attract consumers who might otherwise shop online.
Although electronic commerce has been around for four decades, it has seen its most rapid growth in recent years, when the epidemic drove physical firms to go into lockdown mode. Kolkata and the rest of the eastern India market have reported an “extraordinary” surge in sales in the run-up to Diwali, although certain e-commerce platforms launched during the global crisis. And the income stream is projected to stay strong until the New Year’s Eve ball drops.
E-commerce has been progressively gaining traction throughout the world, as well as in India, long before COVID19. The introduction of the pandemic and the subsequent lockdown has thrown the growth of online purchases off-balance owing to restrictions on qualifying products to basics and physical mobility restrictions directly influencing delivery. Nonetheless, living experiences during the lockdown may influence views about using e-commerce once things have returned to normal.
Before the pandemic, there were clear distinctions in attitudes toward shopping online between those who did it for convenience, whether it was for groceries, staples, or recreational items, and those who felt it was necessary to shop from physical markets and brick and mortar stores because it was a more active process. The epidemic has caused a shift in consumer behavior and activity, which has had a direct impact on the e-commerce business. The fact that only essentials, particularly medical supplies, are accessible and that individuals are hesitant to spend money beyond their basic needs presents both obstacles and possibilities.
In this regard, the example of kirana stores must also be mentioned. Even before the outbreak, there were fears about the future of kirana stores, which are the backbone of local communities from cities to villages and are under severe competition from internet commerce platforms. Nonetheless, it was recognized that, culturally, these shops serve a vital function as social meeting places as well as the preferred source of everyday necessities such as bread and milk. Reliance had declared intentions to connect kirana retailers with consumers over the internet in recognition of this fact. Amid the epidemic, this development is happening faster than predicted, with the government enlisting logistics corporations to connect these stores with customers while also loosening regulations.