Online businesses amid the COVID-19; A Reality Check

The writer is an author and columnist
By: Areeba Tayyab

In a latest research from Ipsos, it has been stated clearly that amongst 11 out of 12 market analysis, there has been a rapid increase in the consumers who are buying more often than usual.  With the increasing number of days for the lockdown, the public seems not only afraid but mostly exhausted now from the suffocating situation of COVID-19. As it may seem that lockdown might be better for mother earth, it is also better for fathers of our business today. Recently, a lot of promotions and startups seem to be popping out of our screens as the opportunists believe now that this might be the right time to hit the audience when they are the most naïve. It seems as if there is a planned obsolesce not just benefiting the medical industry, but it has given a great boost to online shopping as well.

It is high time that we must understand the marketing strategies that can damage us in the future.

Unfortunately, a majority believed that resources will be scarce or obsolete in the days to come but this was just intelligently fabricated. We can see rapid increase in online shopping in many countries particularly focusing on Vietnam where the e-commerce has increased 57%. In India, the percentage is somewhat more than 50% and in Italy it is approximately more than 30% of the total population. Considering these statistics, one understands the psychological implications that can be result for utmost fear of not having a normal life. There might be an innate fear in these consumers of losing their touch to the hustles of life and therefore they satiate their drive by buying online.

Furthermore, online shopping might seem like leisure time for some who are only scrolling their screens and watching Netflix all day long. Online shopping also depicts a connection with the outer world, which in results gives a sense of empowerment to the consumers during the lockdown. Moreover, it gives a sense of festivity and an odour of normal life. Unfortunately, this sense of festivity is also visible for a limited time as the fraud online shopping stores and restricted delivery timings are again creating more fear amongst the population. With words such as Limited Stock, Cash before Delivery and Advance Payments are even creating a more planned obsolesces in the mind of the consumers.

The question here arises that in a situation amidst COVID-19 the response of the consumers has drastically changed, what will happen when the shops will reopen. Are we looking at a sudden boost in the economy because our consumer psychologically thinks that they were unable to consume as they required to during the COVID 19 situations? Or things will go back to normal as they were before?

The answer to this question cannot be definite but looking at the current picture, it seems like the consumers will rush suffocating to shops and restaurants because this obsolesce seems to be directly damaging the psychology of human behaviour.  Let us not forget that we are living in an age of social media, where no one believes to be left out. Social media has increased our drive to strive better for a better life. Starting from healthy eating habits, to home decor, to book reading and then to restyling the apartments, various ways are fabricated online informing the consumers that this is a time to do all these things under your roof. Where people were supposed to utilize this time in healthy healing, people are buying more and more. Adding more to this is the punchline “This time will not come again”. It is true that COVID-19 has given everyone ample time to redesign but this certainly does not mean impulse buying.

It is high time that we must understand the marketing strategies that can damage us in the future. In this regard, we cannot blame the government or the policymakers because we ourselves are falling in a faux pau. Let us fight this together with our sense and sensibility and not be dragged by an artificially created obsolesce.

The writer is an author and columnist. She can be reached at [email protected]