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BW Businessworld

An Opportunity To Innovate

ShopClues, the online marketplace on April 7th announced a two-day delivery of essential supplies for its customers in New Delhi and Gurugram.

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Termed by global leaders as one of the worst crisis to be faced by humanity and the global economy, the Covid-19 outbreak has disrupted Industry and businesses globally. An ADB report (April 2020) has forecast regional growth in Asia declining from 5.2 per cent last year to 2.2 per cent in 2020. The once bustling cities are under lockdown to contain the spread of the deadly virus.

In India too as we near the end of the second week of the lockdown, there are concerns about the economic fallout of the crisis. Retailers like all major sectors are reeling under the impact however, for the e-commerce sector this might be an opportunity waiting to be seized. Sanjay Sethi, Co-founder, and Chief Executive Officer, speaks to BW Businessworld about the impact on the sector.

How has the pandemic affected your sector?
There is absolutely no doubt that the e-commerce sector has been affected as a result of COVID-19 in terms of a decrease in the number of orders and disruption in deliveries. However, the pandemic has also presented e-commerce firms with an opportunity to restructure and realign their businesses keeping the current situation and demand in mind. As a result of the lockdown across the world, more people are exploring the e-commerce platform to meet their daily and essential needs. E-commerce firms have to look at new and innovative ways to meet the demands of the customers. It will be interesting to note how we rise up to this challenge. 

What have been the changes in demand?
As a result of the lockdown across the nation, the supply chain has been thrown off track. The nature of the customer’s demand has taken a complete U-turn with orders of essential commodities such as personal hygiene, safety products, OTC medicines, groceries and medical equipment taking precedence. We, at ShopClues, immediately took note of this shift and have improvised the products portfolio on our platform. In this time of need, we want to use our platform that has a vast reach across Tier II/III/IV consumers of India, to be able to buy these essential items from our portal.

What prompted you to start the two-day essential supplies delivery in Delhi & Gurgaon?
In the current situation, what is important is that our customers have quick access to products that are essential for their daily living without having to step out of their homes to make these purchases. The essentials include items related to Personal hygiene and safety, Groceries, OTC Medicines, Medical Equipment, etc. Our two-day delivery initiative will fulfil all these requirements. To make this possible, we are very closely aligning our technology and logistic teams so that service to the customer is seamless and quick.

How is your organization fulfilling its responsibilities towards employees and customers during this challenging time?
The safety of our employees and customers is of utmost priority for us. ShopClues has stepped up its level of hygiene and sanitation at warehouses where goods are processed and packaged before being delivered. We are also providing OTP-based, real time deliveries with the delivery agent dropping off the package at the doorstep of the customer with no contact. We are delivering products while adhering to all Government guidelines and are using thermal scanners to monitor our staff’s temperature in addition to providing them with essential safety items like masks, gloves and sanitizers.

Will this pandemic bring about a new way of work for the future?
Absolutely! The trend of WFH (Work From Home) has gained a lot of traction. Many companies are going back to the drawing board to firm up new strategies around the WFH trend in a manner that will be efficient and digitally secure. This is also a time to introspect and re-strategize our way of doing business and find new and innovative ways to improve logistics and delivery.

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