The Covid-19 pandemic has made a major impact on the retail grocery business, Lockdown restrictions placed across the country created concerns about Food availability among common people and this thought affected grocery purchase and their purchasing behaviour changed drastically. According to statistics released by the central government, People’s purchasing behaviour increased up to 120% during the pandemic which they termed as “Panic buying”. Panic buying becomes a reality, and quantity stocked and amount spent per purchase changed significantly after outbreak of the pandemic, because of this Retailers faced huge pressure on demand, Since the degree of covid impact is not yet clear, the grocery industry will continue to witness a shortfall in the supply chain of consumer goods. Food stocks are breaking all records as the fear of the viral infection looms and additionally the grocery retailers face another problem like supply interruptions issues related to transportation and workforce availability during lockdown period.
For years , grocery retailers have been more focused on reducing cost on their supply chain and their average storage capacity is from some 3-4 days worth of fresh products and because of panic buying among people, their stock supply does not match with demand. Even though the Government recognized Grocery as an essential item and gave relaxations to retail stores, supermarkets etc. they faced many challenges.
Traditional grocery stores and supermarkets really had a difficult time managing the people and asking them to follow covid protocols while purchasing and they also faced many disruptions in supply chain due to lockdown restrictions.
Another main challenge for them is to assure the customers that they are in a safe environment while purchasing, because covid spread through air and ensure people to avoid any physical contact with others. It is necessary to maintain and protect the health of the employees at the time of this crisis.
In an attempt to navigate and overcome this problem, An internet-based supply chain system should be established to strengthen the relationship between the seller and the buyer. This system permits quicker and adaptable joint effort among organisations and consumers and it leads to a new platform “Ecommerce” .Grocery eCommerce marketplace started to boom across the country. Especially Mobile apps which become a key link between the online and offline worlds of Grocery. Ecommerce adopts a new way for “Decentralisation”. Decentralisation gives adaptability in the supply chain and permits the consumers to get natural and fresh items.
Transformation in Grocery Industries:
According to research conducted by private agency at November 2021, it was projected that more than 24% of internet users in the country who especially shop through Mobile Apps reported that they had stopped visiting any public places, grocery markets, and entertainment centres and started placing their orders through Mobile Apps and they are feeling it was easy and convenient way to order from an wide range of products and reported that they would prefer “contactless deliveries” to avoid getting exposed to the viral infection. And because of this transition, now small kirana stores to big supermarkets started transitioning their stores from offline mode to online mode. With many kinds of strategies and creative ideas, they refurbished their stores to restore the confidence among the people. Since their presence now moved to digital they are able to track their customers’ buying habits and now they are pushing the products to them according to their taste and sales have also increased from the past and they can handle the large number of orders and are also able to meet customers demand.
Like Fintech, Edutech where their focus turned to Smartphone world to sell the products, Many technology Startups starts to grow in this field especially in the Smartphone segments making easier for people to order the products through mobile and too for business persons ensures their movement of products from Seller to Buyer in a hassle free manner. For example Blink it, Zepto etc. tied up with many grocery stores and invented the unique concept of making contact-less deliveries. It is compulsory for the delivery staff to wear face masks while making door-to-door deliveries. And for Traditional Stores , they find a new way to deliver the products not only to existing customers but also to the new customers and reaching new places. Grocery businesses have to thus focus on the practical application of these delivery methods to ensure on-time delivery of groceries and meeting consumer demands.
Business persons now came to know that Traditional methods will not work nowadays because they cannot provide the highest levels of transparency, quality of product shipment, and storage. Instead, marketers started to choose the latest tech innovations because the impact that they have on the Grocery industry should not be underestimated. It’s not about only selling the products any more but it is more about sustainability, improved storage conditions, and demand forecast.
Technology is changing the Grocery industry and there is no doubt about it and technology is providing customers with the better experience than traditional and providing exactly what they are looking for and helping brands and business persons taking their businesses to the next level and Organisations should focus on inventing strategies keeping the safety of their employees and the end-customers in mind.