Table of Contents:
2.0 Fashion faces face-off with the food industry
3.0 Inventory issues
4.0 Downsizing the industry
5.0 Low-quality items
6.0 Improper online management
Coronavirus crisis is like a terror for the E-commerce industry. The problems that have arisen due to the current pandemic are nerve-wrecking and hopeless. Employees across the globe are going through some very tough times and there is nothing that could make them detached from this reality as the pandemic is still not over and its repercussions are definitely going to last for long. The Healthcare industry is facing a lot of health and financial hazards and several big names have come up to make generous donations, but the E-commerce industry has very less or no source of revenue till the situation is back to normal.
Problems faced by the E-Commerce industry-
1) Fashion faces face-off with the food industry
The pandemic has made people shut in their homes and everything is taken into consideration without having to step outside, even grocery shopping. Food, medical supplies and household essentials (hand sanitizers, wipes, soaps to name a few) are some things that people have been relying on especially since the lockdown. A lot of grocery delivery businesses are booming as more and more people are taking precautions by staying at home and ordering things online. However, the fashion industry is one of the businesses that have taken a backseat due to the pandemic. The consumers who have been frantically online shopping have slowdown their routine as staying at home and not going out has become a harsh reality. People are more concerned with essentials than spending their money on futile things like clothing or shoes which do not matter right now. Fashion has seen a huge loss in its revenue due to this pandemic and it surely needs a lot of time to recover once the pandemic is over.
2) Inventory issues
Inventory management has always been a problem, especially in developing countries. With fewer people coming to work, there are chances that big problems like the process of maintaining inventory and storage can often be ignored. Certain problems that could be seen are-
If the inventory is not updated, there are chances that the business sells more products in comparison to the products it actually sells otherwise. This results in the sales going down and the products getting diminished, especially if the products are sold on various online platforms.
- Lack of proper platform
The pandemic has resulted in insufficient resources for inventory management.
- Unsatisfactory use of inventory management process
Owing to the current crisis, businesses fail to update their inventory every once in a while which is very essential to keep the count of the sales and also preventing from overselling the products.
- Customer transparency
Businesses in this scenario are more concerned about attracting the attention of the customers more rather than actually being honest with them. A lot of businesses have stopped their production and are actually out of stock, but instead of being transparent with the customers on not having a particular product, they still keep the inventory visible in front of the customers. When the customer actually online shops and gets ready to select and order, the website says that the product is out of stock. Businesses right now feel and want the customers to at least visit their websites, but in reality, they are losing a large number of clientele in this in-stock scam.
3) Downsizing the industry
Though it’s true that E-commerce is like a savior during this pandemic as people choose to order from the comfort of their homes, this industry, especially the fashion and retail sectors have started lay-offs as the revenue generated is not sufficient enough to sustain numerous livelihoods. Also, the sales of various products have seen a drastic downhill which has compelled the employees to take such a radical step of firing people. Small E-commerce sectors and also large businesses with no profits are finding it hard to sustain in this pandemic and furloughs and layoffs have started hitting the employees.
4) Low-quality items
This is with regards to the essential products that people need during this pandemic. There has been a business shift and things that normally did not gain a lot of profit have started getting scarce; so much so that the demand is more and the supply comparatively is very less. For e.g. the demand for face masks, hand sanitizers, hand soaps, gloves and others is so high that a lot of businesses and small entrepreneurs have started manufacturing them only because of the current crisis. However, there are also small companies or individuals running independent undersized businesses that only focus on the quantity of production rather than quality. A lot of online websites sell the face masks and sanitizers that are not authentic, safe or up to the standards of the medical trademarks. A lot of consumers unaware of the quality and in dire need of these products order them and these businesses thus produce more of these low-quality items in bulk that are of no good but generate profits. This is a total scam people are involving themselves into. So consumers who order online should always check the authenticity of the products sold online and also if the websites selling these are genuine and into the business for a long time; and not frauds by any chance.
5) Improper online management
Due to the lack of workforce, it is quite possible that the online orders are not properly identified and administered. So the orders taken, processing, returns and refunds are taking a long time at present, annoying the customers. Also, the e-commerce industry is having a hard time managing various networks across multiple stores in different locations and keeping the flow of online shopping smooth and swift.
6) Delayed home deliveries
As simple and efficient the e-commerce industry is today, people are indeed turning towards it instead of the real shopping experience. Also the current pandemic scenario has left consumers with no option but virtual shopping which has led to a lot of pressure on the e-commerce industry. Due to a lot of people suffering from the Covid-19 which is very severe and also due to a lot of furloughs and layoffs, the employee consistency has been disturbed thereby slowing the process of distributing and delivering the products even if they are local. Home delivery has become so common that the people actually delivering are less than the people ordering online causing an imbalance.
The E-Commerce industry is here to survive but the global pandemic 2020 has undeniably challenged the standards, the difficulties and the livelihoods of so many people involved in this industry. The solutions are there and they are -sufficient people and resources and proper organization which is only probable once the pandemic has left the shores.