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Why Digitalization is Imperative for Sustainable Development

By Hamayun Khan

The theme of technology, modern in particular has always been connoted with the perspectives that are antipathetic to the human life and environment as a whole. Nonetheless; the outbreak of the COVID-19 has unearthed the significance of the modern technological trends almost in every sphere particularly e-business – necessary for a better livelihood.

The momentum gained by e-commerce platforms in business activities amid the outbreak of the pandemic supports the argument that modern technology is vital for a sustainable livelihood. The pandemic COVID-19 has however halted various sectors particularly those done through offline means, but with the increase in the positive infectious cases of COVID-19 the online retailers have witnessed a surge in their sales.  A report published by Forbes highlights almost 40 percent increase in sales of online grocery stores as customers tend to stock up on essential stuff such as grocery, medicines for first aid etc. This is mainly because of the growing fears of COVID-19 infection that prevent customers from visiting crowded places by rushing up to physical stores and make offline purchases.

However, online retails have seen efflux in their business activities, but the unprecedent upward flow in demand for e-commerce platforms has affected its supply, which is why these retails are not in a position to meet the demands of their potential and prospective customers. Therefore, it is necessary for e-retails to maintain a balance in between the supply and demand of their products and services that are offered online and are direly needed by customers amid an outbreak. CNBC released a report that shows comparatively higher demand for online shopping than supply which engenders a mismatch between maintaining the prospective customers and making sufficient delivery of products to the customers. This practice ultimately leads to additional complications such as deferments in making purchases and customer loss.

Let’s take the case of the outbreak of the pandemic and the initial imposition of lockdowns across the world that has made people to maintain social distancing. In order to follow social distancing people are compelled to face several problems such as deferment in receiving packages that the customers bought and making offline purchases to meet their daily needs etc. Nevertheless, to chase off this issue online platforms have paved the way for customers to overcome their problems by providing them with convenient alternatives. This makes the retailers to sustain their loyal and prospective customers for short, medium, and long terms – also leading to maintaining a better human life and ultimately a sustainable livelihood.

To sum up, the modern technological trends with an exclusive focus on digitalization and e-commerce are vital for a sustainable livelihood and socio-economic development. For this, there is need for mainstreamed digitalization and adaptation of technological means required to cope up with uncertainties such as the ongoing trying times caused by the outbreak of the pandemic COVID-19.

Hamayun Khan holds an MBA in Finance and Marketing from IKG Punjab Technical University, India and is a researcher at OSCAR- an Afghanistan-based local NGO.

Khan can be reached at Hamayun.salarzai@gmail.com

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