Never back down: How local online businesses are recovering from Covid financial crises | The Daily Star
11:00 AM, March 21, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:38 AM, March 21, 2021

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Never back down: How local online businesses are recovering from Covid financial crises

The pandemic has changed the world, or to a large extent, the business world. Covid-19 has devastated and decimated many businesses across different sectors and no one anticipated the economic downturn and the extra hurdle that Covid-19 created. The impact of Covid-19 has come as an exogenous shock to many business owners leaving their businesses in a precarious position.

However, many business owners refused to succumb to the crisis and the virus's grip on the economy by forging ahead, taking concrete steps and trying to make it work. They are scrambling to figure out how to use digital tools correctly for their benefits.

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Covid-19 has changed customer behaviour, spending priorities and habits almost overnight as they ditch the in-person shopping and switch to online shopping. Majority of the customers are preferring online shopping over regular traditional shopping. Hence, business owners are tapping into online businesses keeping the Covid-19 requirements in mind; even Facebook and Instagram accelerated the rollout of e-commerce features allowing businesses to replicate digital storefronts on social networking sites.

Sumaiya Sultana Nisha, a student at the University of Dhaka said, "Though I was not habituated to online shopping, I chose it anyway due to the lockdown situation. I ordered foods, dresses, and necessary commodities using online platforms to avoid unnecessary crowds since many of us are not concerned about coronavirus and even roaming around without any mask. Also, I found online services fairly quick and affordable, and if we think from the societal point of view, it is a radical solution for the unemployment crisis. So, I think I will continue shopping online in the future as it is a great way to support local businesses".

As business owners are moving their businesses online trying to find their way through the pandemic and by availing online facilities and services to the customers, creative entrepreneurs are stepping in harnessing the power of innovation and technology conveniently.

"The advantages of online business include reaching a larger base of customers easily as most of the people are now online. Moreover, the flextime and flexible workplace make it all the easier for me to keep it going. During these trying times, when it is difficult to go out for work or start a business from scratch without a significant amount of money, starting up online seems like a feasible option even if one has limited resources. All these make online business an opportunity to showcase talents and a great source of income or a perfect side-hustle for many, especially students. However, online business is not without its problems or host of complaints. The adversities startups face for being online is that since all the transaction are executed online, customers sometimes tend to delay the payment. I've started taking advance payment recently, which made a change for the better for sure", remarked Abdullah Al Maruf, owner of Marutoonz.

E-commerce was booming previously in the pre-Covid time too; but, now that physical stores have to operate at limited capacity, aspiring retailers or entrepreneurs began to test the water by trying out the best of the online business world. People, being furloughed, now have all these newfound free time and a solid chance to put their passion in good use and earn some extra bucks while capitalizing on this upsurge trend. Independent businesses are expanding despite pandemic, or perhaps it can be said that they are thriving because of this pandemic. The economic pandemonium surrounding Covid-19 became a call to action for prospective entrepreneurs or first-time business owners to finally launch their business- a desire that was put on hold for so long.

Many people are getting started on new ventures across multiple online platforms. According to Naiem Ahmed, who has recently launched his own clothing business Trend Apparels, "Covid-19 has spread so rapidly that people can not go outside like they used to. However, we are all trying to live in-between this situation. So, now that no one can go shopping and buy anything from physical shops, I decided to start this online business to help people and, in the process, help myself as well. Moreover, since my business is quite new, it now does not have that much of an online customer base yet, but I am trying my best to find ways to promote it to the consumers. I plan on continuing this business post-pandemic; I am determined not to quit hoping the services will be beneficial to all."

It is safe to say that Covid-19 will have lasting implications in the coming years. The trend of online business became the "new normal", and although the brick-and-mortar businesses or retail shops prominently remain in the picture representing significant retail sales, e-commerce or the trend of online business is not temporary either. These businesses are here to stay.

 

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