Impact of covid-19 in the new normal: why transition is a necessity for small and medium enterprises in India.

The novel Covid-19 has brought the world of business to a standstill. It has debilitated, disrupted the world of offline/retail industry. Most uncertain are the small and medium enterprises in India.

The lockdown has led to a huge economic disruption with plethora of firms, businesses, companies and industries forced to pull down and shut their shops due to exorbitant revenue costs and absence of physical labor-activity.

Especially hit are the small and medium enterprises in India, where there is already a job crunch and covid has brought their entire business to a lockdown along with it. Due to the safety-measure concerns, working online is becoming the new normal.

The pandemic has forced the industries and companies to upscale their existing mode of operations and services. They are working on revamping their efforts to engage the consumers online by creating modus -operandi online channel that can cater to the demand of the consumers’ essentials like medicines, groceries etc.

There is a window of opportunity for both the producer and the consumer to explore and tap the unutilized, unrealized potential of the online paradigm. This is a veritable opportunity to utilize the online platform to its fullest. Thanks to the new-age e-commerce companies, it is possible to undergo a transition from offline to online transactions in a large scale.

Businesses now have to adopt new approach and new business strategy due to the rapid transition from offline to online transactions. It also becomes vital for businesses to evaluate its plans for delivering services optimally in a post-pandemic world, as it requires to find the proper answers to questions like – whether the markets and geographies it has been serving remain profitable;  which core technology and business practices need to be modified and how the team can be best enabled to keep delivering in the new normal.

It is now important for digital transformation to take place; however, one should note the fact that the need for digital transformation is not just an outcome of COVID-19.

Mckinsey Global Institute predicted in 2017 that there would be about 375 million workers who would have to update their skills by 2030 to adapt to the new wave of automation and Artificial Intelligence.

Another recent survey revealed that – 87 percent of executives already experienced skill gaps or would do so in the next few years. Hence, for a business, the transformation from offline to digital is not merely about setting up a website and running social media campaigns, it is also to update the skills of the workers.

The Offline-to-online or social-e-commerce platforms are emerging as facilitators in streamlining the transitional procedure from the analog to the digital. These provide effortless online presence with free of cost by optimizing the potential of AI to digitize their products, catalogues, and also their offline inventory.

Online social commerce platforms try to integrate buyer- sellers in an easier and convenient way. Online business can now market their product offerings through trending social media platforms and can correspond with potential buyers before finalizing. 

Social media platforms also focus on hyper-local deliveries that are feasible. They are exempted from special permits to fulfill the challenge of directing supply chains and logistics for conventional retailers and wholesale vendors. Hence, it is vital for businesses to create new approaches and strategies that support online transactions than look for offline businesses or transactions.

For a country like India where small and medium enterprises are the second largest generator of employment the transition of offline to online plays an even bigger role at this point to sustain their business and to boost the economy. And it has already started to happen, the only question is how long till more than 50% MSME’s become a part of this digital transition.

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