Small shopkeepers, pharmacists go online to survive during pandemic in Bihar
| Friday | 7th May, 2021
The customers are supposed to WhatsApp the list of items to the shopkeepers or dictate the same on mobile. Some advanced shopkeepers have also developed their websites to receive online orders of their customers.
Even as the Covid-19 pandemic dealt a heavy blow to the small businesses due to nationwide lockdown last year, some adopted technology and creative thinking to survive.
As the senior citizens and ailing people are unable to visit shops to buy groceries, vegetables and medicines for fear of getting infected with the Covid-19 virus, these small shopkeepers are extending a helping hand to them and supplying the essential items of their need on their doorsteps. The customers are supposed to WhatsApp the list of items to the shopkeepers or dictate the same on mobile. Some advanced shopkeepers have also developed their websites to receive online orders of their customers.
They have hired some youths to deliver the goods to the customers and collect money from them either in cash or through POS machines, following all the Covid protocol. Retired professor of botany, who resides in Boring Road area, said he purchases most of the daily use items from his known shopkeepers who take orders on mobile phone and deliver the items within two hours. He makes the payment to the shopkeeper online.
Niranjan Yadav, owner of a general store near Boring Road crossing, said he learnt this style of business during the lockdowns last year when many customers stopped coming to his shop and requested him to send the items at their homes. “They also offered me some additional incentives. I hired a man for delivering the items to the customers without charging any additional amount from them. This system not only benefited the customers but also saved me from huge financial loss owing to dwindling sales during the lockdown,” he said.
Another grocery shop owner at Kasturba Path in West Anandpuri, Dilip Sharma has also started supplying food items, milk and other dairy products besides some vegetables on the doorsteps of his customers in that locality. He receives the orders through SMS or WhatsApp and gets the items delivered to the customers within an hour or so, he added.
Shankar Das, who owns a small kirana shop at Kankarbagh, said people don’t want to leave their homes. “They want everything online, even if stores like ours are open for limited hours every day. Hence, we had to respond to that and arrange for delivering the desired items at the customers’ residences,” he said. Shankar now spends much of his day speaking with customers on WhatsApp, sharing pictures of his stock and initiating online transactions through GooglePay.
A number of medicine shops and vegetable sellers have also started supplying medicines (on valid prescriptions of a doctor or hospital only) on the doorsteps of their customers. Some of them are also serving the needs of Ccovid patients gracefully by supplying essential medicines to their homes, said retired telecom engineer Gopal Sharan Singh of Gai Ghat locality.
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