The COVID-19 pandemic has really imposed severe burdens upon the entire world. The COVID-19 situation has affected not only the health of the individuals but also the economy in many ways. The indispensable and alarming COVID-19 pandemic forced individuals and governments to adapt to certain unexpected measures. The major drastic change which happened in the pandemic time was the urge for the digitalization of every activity. Though digitalization serves the need of the hour it should also take steps to protect the rights of the consumers. The paper mainly deals with the consumer protection in the digital commerce during the pandemic times.
The consumers’ dependency on the online mechanisms increased rapidly during this pandemic period. There were still many challenges faced by the consumer protection agencies from the start of the pandemic in spite of adapting too many remedial measures. The consumer protection agencies were under a situation to exchange their information for best practices and for a better regional collaboration which then provided a better result. While the sector has been growing at an increasingly steady pace, the present pandemic and the consequent impact of the general fear of the virus has contributed towards bolstering the growth of e-commerce platforms over physical markets.
Role Of E-Commerce During The COVID-19 Pandemic
The COVID-19 situation has accelerated the growth of e-commerce by encouraging new firms, wholesale businesses and customers etc to imbibe the online mechanism of trading. The e-commerce facility provides customers with a variety of products and at the same time the safety and precautionary measures are also not being violated. The e-commerce helps in creating cross-cultural relationships which is essential and a much needed one for this hour. Many entities which engage in the e-commerce activity respond to the pandemic situation by solving the financial crisis by generating cash and also by responding to the customer interest. The business organizations have taken up everything into the online platform which includes online campaigning, online promotions etc. The first important thing which an organization must focus is the portfolio of essential goods and services which can give a clear cut idea to the customers of the business of the entity. This platform provides access to customers irrespective of where they are and they can find more efficient ways to collect the product in a limited contact way. Even though the e-commerce facilitates these many advantages, there are some group of people who are unable to get in use with the advanced e-commerce mechanism. The major challenge which the consumers face is related to the connectivity which can be solved only by providing affordable and quality broadband to the rural and urban areas which will automatically build trust and confidence within the consumers. The major challenge which the firms face is that they find hard to adapt to the changing situation. The only solution for this problem is that the policy decisions should be made in such a way that it adapts to the changing circumstances by accepting the uncertainty factor.
Role Of Consumer Protection Agencies During The Pandemic
The consumers fix their organizations generally based on the method of service being offered. The service providers must not stop with the work of providing the goods and services instead they should be in a position to protect and enforce the rights of the consumers. The online service providers must equip themselves with the latest technology and they should also be in a position to satisfy their customers. The main task for the consumer protection agencies is the way and method involved in the connection process by which they build the bridge with the outside world. The information provided should be correct and the public must be protected from any false or misinformation. The platforms must create a sense of affiliation and belonging during the pandemic time. The e-commerce companies should make all the operations and transactions transparent so that it reduces the anxiety among the consumers and builds a strong customer relationship which is the key factor for carrying out the business in a smooth and effective manner. The organizations should also provide self service operating mechanism for the customers which can make the process even more reliable and transparent. The entities should also promote the wellness of the customers by reducing the risks associated in the process. The online mechanism should be designed in such a way that it engages the users and provides an opportunity for them to witness the new consumption techniques and patterns which can enlighten the customer in many ways. This will make sure that the customers will stay with the organizations in future too. The needs and demands of the customer should be satisfied by providing them. The organizations should also provide a personal space for the consumers to some good so that it creates a value belonging in the minds of the customers. The businesses and organizations should ensure that their actions and measures provide these values to the consumers and if not they should refrain from adapting to these changes. The basic principle should be followed is that the needs and wants of the lower income consumer must be placed front so that the result could be faster and better. The final target which must be established in the process is that the grievances and the complaints received from the customers should be addressed in a proper and effective manner. The risks faced by consumers can vary from person to person. This form of risk analysis helps not only to make the present transaction effective but also it strengthens the future transactions. Consumer surveys play a major role even in the online market mechanism especially during emergency times like the COVID-19 pandemic. These kinds of surveys are the fast and necessary methods by which the problems can be analysed and given a solution. Therefore every feedback sent by the customer should be viewed in carefully and must be implemented in the next cycle of operations for a better output.
Digitalization During The Pandemic
Guaranteeing business progression is perhaps the most elevated need for each organization, and nowadays, many might be compelled to reduce expenses, however, they should not lose sight of the long-term implications of the crisis. Therefore, digitalization has helped and it will help to maintain productivity while keeping it safe and economically sustainable.
This move is the requirement for more prominent authoritative dexterity just as closer binds with clients in a changing world request. The cycle of advanced change, notwithstanding, is perplexing and tedious for organizations just as customers.
If there were any waiting questions about the need for computerized change to the business life span, the Covid has quieted them. In a contactless world, by far most collaborations with clients and representatives must happen practically. With the uncommon exemption, working carefully is the best way to remain in business through ordered closures and confined movement. It’s going computerized or goes dim.
Banking and installments, basic mainstays of the economy, are among the central regions that have seen a significant uptick in digital contributions and appropriation. While going digital isn’t new to the business, the pandemic has essentially quickened the appropriation of computerized advances, with extensive ramifications for the eventual fate of the financial area, yet additionally the bigger money related environment.
There has been a flood in digital payment volumes across online markets, little retail sources, online drug stores, vegetable, and natural product sellers, revives, payments just as OTT (telecom and media), and EdTech players. Contactless installments, through QR codes, wallets, UPI, or contactless cards, are picking up ubiquity as they offer accommodation, wellbeing, and security while permitting the purchasers to keep up physical separating.
To improve the advanced banking and payments items/administrations environment, banks should focus on creating and embracing bleeding-edge innovations, for example, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Cloud, Internet of Things (IOT), Human-Computer Interface (HCI), block chain among others. The interruption has underscored the significant part of advanced, as the mid-office and back-office are depending on innovation to serve clients and perform everyday activities. Going ahead, it will be basic for banks to move away from branch banking and have a settled computerized foundation set up overall channels to convey improved speed and accommodation overall client portions, just as across metropolitan and country markets.
There is additionally a squeezing requirement for a coordinated methodology between FinTech players, banks, installment framework administrators, controllers, and even telcos for progressing budgetary consideration programs. This community approach can demonstrate vital in bringing a greater amount of the banked and unbanked areas into the computerized banking fold.
The key is proceeding to test and enhance with advanced arrangements upfront. With the correct methodology, organizations can emerge from the brawl more grounded, more light-footed, and more client-driven than previously.
The infection flare-up is spurring the appropriation of contactless computerized payments. During deplorable occasions like COVID 19 pandemic, a robust technical infrastructure and end-to-end digital processes (“paper-less”) are key components to defend profitability.
The COVID-19 emergency is probably going to essentially quicken the move to computerize and generally reclassify the general business scene. Client conduct and favoured associations are significantly changing, and keeping in mind that they are probably going to keep on developing, the computerized change we’re seeing will proceed apace. It isn’t just about digitizing, this move likewise requires returning to the whole worth chain which contains the client’s excursion, yet also different members, particularly vendors. A synergistic biological system of partners focused on computerized change is set to be a distinct advantage, opening up admittance to banking and installment items for the general population.
Whether E-Commerce Played A Major Role In The Pandemic Times?
The e-commerce situation has enhanced a lot of new platforms by benefitting both the customers and the sellers.
Can Consumer Protection Authorities Ensure Complete Transparency?
Transparency can be provided in all the operations taken by the organizations provided to the subject of public interest.