KUALA LUMPUR, June 4 — The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the retailing world, posing numerous challenges for the e-commerce sector. 

QI Group of Companies founder and executive chairman Datuk Seri Vijay Eswaran said online retailers, supply chains and order management are all being tested by the triple-digit surge in orders and revenue growth.

“By now, businesses should have started focusing their efforts on making the most of the current situation. 

“Some analysts believe that with more people staying at home, this could boost e-commerce growth in general in the medium term,” he told Traxxfm and Bernama. 

He said as consumers would rely heavily on e-commerce post-COVID-19, digital adoption would help businesses balance the risk by getting them closer to customers, serving their needs while still keeping the required social distance.

Vijay said the stay-at-home orders would eventually be lifted, but, in the interim, millions of consumers are creating and reinforcing new online buying behaviors and habits, adding that many are reluctant to go back to their old shopping habits for fear of getting sick.

He noted that consumers today are more motivated to stay at home and shop online, creating ideal market conditions for companies to fast-track, test and launch new experience-driven mobile apps, sites, and touchpoints across their platform. 

“How they choose to react will define the future of e-commerce. Many are choosing to remove the friction that stands in the way of turning occasional customers into their most loyal customers,” he said. 

Vijay also emphasised that entrepreneurs must be creative to secure the future of their business, serve their customers and keep supply chains intact; as buyers have changed their priorities in terms of what they buy and what they stock.

“I noticed that leading companies differentiate themselves from their competitors based on the experience that they deliver to their customers.

“Experiences are uniquely perceived, and they expand from back-office domains like production and supply chain, to front-office experiences enabled by marketing, sales, e-commerce, and customer service,” said Vijay. 

Meanwhile, thanks to the advancements in technology, the work-from-home option had been made possible for jobs across various industries through the use of digital tools.

Vijay foresees that staggered working hours would be implemented, where employees do not all arrive and leave at the same time.

“I see this staggered working hours as not only effective in alleviating traffic congestion but also practical to curb the spread of coronavirus on public transports at peak hours,” he said. 

Vijay said people should not fall into fear-induced frenzy, and that in times of crisis, it is important to separate fact from fiction.

“An ’infodemic’ of misleading information and fake news is spreading more quickly than the COVID-19 outbreak. 

“It is up to us to curb misinformation by relying on trusted sources,” he said. 

QI Group of Companies is a multinational conglomerate with interests in direct selling, real estate, education, retail and hospitality.


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