Thursday, May 6, 2021

How e-commerce has changed shopping rules in the pandemic

With parts of India under a fresh lockdown, no-contact deliveries and online payments have been life-savers in these unprecedented times.

For shoppers, the imposition of fresh restrictions means it’s not just about finding a good deal online anymore. A good deal in 2021 means ease of shopping and payment, and most importantly, contact-less delivery.

Brands have taken the last year to upgrade their digital presence to ensure safety for their customers and staff.

“We saw online demand going up manifold last year. This time, there has already been a 12% increase in the number of orders since the last two weeks. We have seen a sharp uptick in our online subscribers — growing 2.5x in the last six months,” says Shan Kadavil, Co-founder, Fresh To Home.

There is a heightened need for hygiene, especially when it comes to food and groceries.

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E-commerce apps are promoting their safety measures. “Our products are packaged at our warehouses without any exposure. All our orders are delivered in sealed, tamper-proof bags. We have seen an 80 percent-plus increase in new users since the second wave of Covid-19,” a Grofers spokesperson shares.

New tools of the trade many brands are launching their own portals. Sanjay Mishra, CEO, New Business at Marico, says that their e-commerce has grown 88 percent Y-o-Y, and now contributes 8 percent to the overall turnover. “We launched a direct-to-consumer portal. Orders are delivered to them in a contact-less and hygienic manner,” he says.

Krishna Gupta, MD of 1441 Pizzeria, says their focus has shifted to the app and revamping of the website. “We have had over 50,000 downloads since we launched the app and the percentage of orders is rapidly growing,” he says.

Ease of payment

Brands across sectors are using various aspects of digitisation, such as UPI, credit cards and even social media, for ease of payment options, minimising the use of cash and contact at the time of delivery.

“A lot of our guests are now ordering directly via WhatsApp for Business and even Instagram,” shares Nikita Ramchandani, General Manager, JW Marriott Mumbai Juhu.

A Swiggy spokesperson shares that digital payments have become hugely popular, even as the app has emphasised on hygiene protocols with its restaurant partners.

According to Suhail Sameer, Group President, BharatPe, the second wave lockdown has led to an increase in digital transactions and customers opting for payment via QR using their phone at the time of delivery.

“We have noticed an increase in the value of UPI QR transactions over the last few days.

There’s an uptick in demand/usage of digital payments in the Tier-II and beyond towns and cities,” says Sameer.

SourceET Retail
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