Throughout March 2020, many businesses were forced to shut down in response to a global lockdown temporarily. The restrictions are being eased gradually, but the future remains uncertain.
You must be wondering who I am. Well, my name is Ratan Kumar, and I own a silk saree store in Varanasi. This Banarsi Silk Shop has been in my family for almost 100 years and was founded by my great grandfather. Our shop is famous for its brocades, fine silks, and opulent embroidery, all made of gold and silver.
In the wake of the covid outbreak, I wanted my business to thrive in the 'new normal' environment. With all these COVID restrictions, my silk sarees store was not performing well as sales and profit dropped drastically. After that, I decided to take my Silk Saree offline retail store online to sell silk sarees.
Not just this, but the reopening of businesses was subject to tedious and frustrating social distancing policies, mask-wearing, and limits on the number of individuals allowed into a space. All these points indicate that it will take a long time for retailers like me to recover from such a loss.
But that got me thinking that due to covid-19, people are increasingly turning to online shopping. And the reason was clear - traditional shopping is turning scary, unsafe, or becomes time-consuming because of numerous safety checks. And now, this new Omicron variant is raising more questions about the saree industry in eastern Uttar Pradesh.
That's when I thought, why should I bear so much loss, debt, and disappointment? Wouldn't it be better to take a more creative and practical approach to revive the business?
I definitely had done my fair share of research and found Covid-19 made the transition significantly easier for several online marketplaces like Amazon and other online retailers. And the best part was that consumers already welcomed them with open arms.
Also, I read in the Internet Revenue Association, online revenue grew 44% in 2020 and increased 6.8% in Q3, 2021. In the post-quarantine world, this trend is likely to continue. Even when retail businesses reopen fully, online shopping will retain its advantages. Considering all of these factors together, I thought now might be the best time to start selling clothes online or expand my e-commerce business.
But, Why Was I Nervous?
While I was thinking about expanding my local and global sales by moving my business online, I had several doubts.
First, I wasn't clear about how to do it and faced challenges along the way, like how I would be able to manage the technical aspects of starting an online store. It was my lack of understanding about how I will promote my online business and what would be the next step to sustain. All these thoughts made me hesitant to break into the e-commerce space.
However, I researched online and found a good eCommerce platform that helps retailers start their online business with no-code websites. And the best part is, one doesn't need to hire a developer and pay hefty fees for launching an e-commerce site. Not just did the platform help me start my store for free, but it also made it easier to market it later on popular social media platforms, allowing my business to become a successful brand.
Now that making a website was easy, here are some of the other benefits that intrigued me about moving my retail shop online.
Along my journey, I have learned that today's businesses can no longer afford to ignore e-commerce as it has become a necessity. It is relatively easy to start an e-commerce company, even if you own a physical store. For me, it was a huge relief as I started my online website for free without having any technical and online selling knowledge. As a result, I can rightfully say that I am now prepared to face any future pandemic challenges.
Also, with an online store, now I have plenty of opportunities to sell my sarees in the global market. Additionally, I have multiplied my online sales by 30% in just six months by displaying a wide variety of sarees online and implementing a solid online selling business plan.