Is Indian Retail Market Ready For Another Covid Wave?

Is Indian Retail Market Ready For Another Covid Wave?

As a consequence of the introduction of various new businesses in the sector, the Indian retail industry is one of the most dynamic and fast-moving industries.

Over the last one decade, India’s retail industry has expanded dramatically. The pandemic was the most unexpected disruption to life and business in recent history, and developments in the retail sector’s external environment have had a significant impact on the country.

According to the Retailer Association of India (RAI), sales in India fell by 79 per cent during the pandemic compared to pre-pandemic levels. With a new variant of Covid already making its entry, it becomes critical for the retail industry to be ready for the impact of the pandemic.

Amudha Ranganathan, Executive Director of the CavinKare Group of Education Institutions, believes that Covid may make a comeback. “In the event that this occurs, show have to prepare themselves to some level,” Ranganthan added.

“We now see that many retailers have begun to provide their items online, and some have even begun to provide home deliveries so that people can enjoy the ease of having basics delivered at their doorstep,” she said.

Ankit Agrawal, Director of top FMCG business Mysore Deep Perfumery House (MDPH), has a different take on the Covid danger looming strong in the current context.

“Covid will have a significant influence on the Indian retail industry since we have received conflicting information on the severity and impact of the epidemic in recent years,” he added. Agarwal is convinced that Indian shops would be able to deal with Covid if the necessity arises. “As we have seen, right from the roadside vegetable vendors to high end stores, payments have been digitized, which has eased the transaction process,” he said.

He went on to remark, “The government has been helpful in ensuring that throughout the epidemic, vital items like milk, fruits, vegetables, agarbatti, and so on reached customers at their doorstep, which is still ongoing.”

Dr. Kottala Sri Yogi, Associate Professor (Operations), KLH Global Business School, Hyderabad, is positive that even if the Covid wave strikes again, the retail sector is ready for it. “Because the vast majority of the Indian population is vulnerable to natural immune/vaccine immunity, even if covid strikes again, the impact will be minor,” he added.

“Compared to previous waves of covid, extraordinary demands will be reduced. On the other side, the impact on vital commodities from sourcing, supply chain management, logistics and retailing can be expected,” he noted.

Aside from the Retailers Association of India’s readiness of workers in distribution warehouses, help centres and facilities to workers supporting e-commerce through distribution and other essential support functions, he suggested that retailers providing essential services contact vendors and logistics service providers.

According to Krishan Gopal, Associate Professor at Lovely Professional University, the retail industry would not abandon its multi-channel strategy or its markets as business-to-business and direct-to-consumer following the lessons learnt from the pandemic disruptions.

“In India, major developments are taking place in the retail industry. It’s mostly due to the development of internet shopping and the unexpected decline of brick-and-mortar establishments selling a variety of items,” he explained. However, few enterprises have been able to compete head-on with larger stores and maintain a dual presence, while there are other businesses that focus only on internet sales, he added.

Following the lessons learned from pandemic-induced disruptions retail players will maintain their multi-channel strategy and marketplaces like as Business to Business (B2B) commerce and Direct to Consumer (D2C), while also focusing on diversifying their supply sources.

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