By Kinka Mondal
We are going through an unprecedented situation because of the corona virus pandemic. It seems like our life has paused and gone back to the time when we were not even born and only heard stories from our grandparents. The horrifying news, uncertainties of lives have occupied most of our days. Some people are fortunate enough to have the ability to work from home, while several essential sectors, like- banking sectors, employees are working on rotational shifts, so they have to go outside in spite of the severity of the situation.
Due to the locked down situation, a significant hike in use of digital technology have been noticed lately. More people prefer now to make a purchase from the digital platforms over the traditional shops because they are afraid of the consequences of going out amidst this phase of community transmission of corona virus.
So, the point comes of DIGITALIZATION.
Let us take a moment to understand what digitalization is. It simply refers to the use of digital technology and digitized data to get different works done, thus, ease in business activities and facilitate consumer interaction. It changes the traditional business model into a brand new or modified business model, where digital technologies, communication are used profoundly. To be more precise, it is the procedure of moving towards a digital business.
Now question arises, why is DIGITALIZATION important?
Doorstep delivery of the daily necessities: First and foremost , to control the corona virus infection use of digital platforms to purchase daily necessities is a great measure to adopt, it will help to refrain more people from going outside and thus can control the unnecessary crowding which can be the major source of community transmission.
To ease this process, most of the food delivery apps, like- Swiggy, Zomato have tied up with local retailers to help in the delivery of daily necessities, like- groceries, dairy products etc. Though there are existing e-stores available (Big Basket, Grofers etc), they have limited delivery to the suburban areas. Zomato, Swiggy have bridged this gap by delivering daily necessities to the semi-urban areas quite efficiently. Medicines are also getting delivered at doorstep by different pharmaceutical apps.
Increased demand of technological goods: As most of the people are working from home, E-commerce giants like- Amazon has been experiencing an increased need of electronic gadgets, like- laptops, computer accessories etc. As most of the brick and mortar shops are closed, the e-commerce sites can be of great help during this crisis period to fulfill the increased demands.
Control Job Losses: There are many people associated with the delivery of the products ordered digitally. If at least 25% of employees work in a rotational shift and deliver the products, it will help from laying off the employees, thus joblessness can be controlled.
Lower the gatherings in banks and ATMs: More people are using digital payment systems since demonetization, if digitalization takes over, a lot more will adopt this habit. So, unnecessary gatherings in banks, ATMs can reduce drastically. If we consider the present news reports, the gatherings in banks can any moment become the hotspot for transmitting the disease.
Upgraded needs: Another fact we cannot just ignore that we are in 2020 and there is a growing middle class in the country So, our basic needs have been upgraded (though we can still mange with extraordinarily little things – the greatest lesson learnt from the pandemic) sometimes we strongly feel those needs to be met and that is okay! A few of those things are really essentials and cannot be found locally.
Now a few questions arise, we are trying to find easy explanation to these questions.
Q.1. What will happen to the local vendors?
We have to realize that we are living in the digital era. There has always been the struggle for existence since the inception of the mankind. So, it is better to understand the need and try to get accustomed with the digital platforms. Even during, sudden announcement of demonetization, the nation faced severe cash crunch, for the sake of survival, many small vendors, be it- panipuri vendors to local tea stalls, everywhere people started to accept payment through apps, like Paytm. A significant number of local vendors have started taking orders over the calls or messages and deliver the orders at the doorstep. It is not a mandate to own an app to continue business through digital medium. Digitalization need not necessarily involve renowned corporate houses, if local kirana stores start accepting orders and payments through any digital platform that is a step towards digitalization. One must consider that even a giant business house cannot survive if they choose not to change over the time.
Q.2. What if the Delivery persons are the carrier of the corona virus?
Well, this is a legitimate concern. But it is more convenient to continuously monitor the delivery executives rather than monitoring innumerable people going outside to purchase their necessity goods. By thoroughly monitoring the health status and following safety protocols, the chances of getting infected by the delivery executives can be controlled.
Additionally, currency notes and coins can also contain infectious agents like corona viruses. Although, there is presently no evidence that SARS-COV-2 can spread through currency, but its always better to err on the side of caution.
So, considering all these points, needless to say that using the digital technologies is the best thing that we can adopt now. It is always better to have control rather than leading to a situation that might be beyond any control in near future.
To conclude, we have to remember that we are living in a country where people belong to a huge diversified economy. So, a single solution can never be the ONLY way to erase all the problems of the situation. So, there will be people who are technologically challenged in both buyers and sellers’ section. But we cannot ignore the fact that Digital transformation is the need of the hour and we should encourage others to use this medium.
Lastly, we must keep in mind that Change is the only constant!
Happy reading. Stay Home. Stay Safe.
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