Aakriti BansalBrand Marketing Professional, Management Student
It is no surprise that the last few months have caused immense loss to the transportation sector as well. The aviation industry stands crippled, not just in India but, across the globe with the cancellation of 7.5 million flights, the automobile industry in India hitting an all-time low with the month of May witnessing a drop of 84% YoY in sales of passenger vehicles and the metros stuck in a jeopardy with regards to sustainability with no assured deadline of resuming activities.
Not only has all this adversely affected the respective industry, its employees, and the economy, but has brought about a radical effect on the crude oil prices. There has been a global collapse in oil prices resulting in financial markets to crash mainly due to excess supply, low demand, and the unpredictability of the future. As much as it has affected the oil exporter countries negatively, the reduction in oil prices comes as a positive effect on the oil importer countries- India importing 80% of its oil demands. The lower oil prices are likely to help India reduce its current account deficit.
However, it might be the time for these industries to go through the real trial, that is, resuming production and activities- the revival phase. But the risk that threats its consumers still persists- COVID-19.
More than 4 months into the lockdown now, the populace has accepted COVID-19 as a part of life. But does this acceptance mean we’re ready to go back to our lives as they were before 2020?
Although the road to recovery is a long battle, the challenge at hand would be to bring back customer trust and get them to engage in consuming these products. Assuring the consuming population that all modes of transportation are shielded and secured to function with a prioritized focus on traveler safety would be a bigger challenge to confront.
As these industries plot to chart their recovery, innovation, and investment in technology will have a crucial role to play. In recent times, not just has the world learned to adjust but also to evolve. One recent innovation that piques interest is the first paperless and contactless QR-coded e-gate pass facility introduced by the GMR group-run Delhi Airport at the cargo terminal. It will not only help in ensuring social distancing by reducing human contact at the terminals but will also expedite the process and save time. Not only during pandemic travels, but this initiative also seems to be a potential long-term change in the world of aviation technologies.
Presently, the system has been introduced only for the import cargo delivery, however, adoption of such ‘touchless’ systems like biometrics to identify customer identity and automation for passenger processing, to reduce human contact, need to be implemented for travelers as well. All this, along with an increased focus on aircraft cleanliness and sanitation, will be essential for aviation companies to win back customer trust and to ensure customer safety.
Similarly, for businesses of the shared economy like Uber and Ola, who had a tremendous growth trajectory in the pre-covid era, experienced challenges like never before. While they witnessed a revenue downfall of as low as 95%, the real challenge would be to regain the confidence of its customers in the revival phase. Giving incentives for using online payment modes, limiting the number of rides per day per cab, ensuring sanitization of the cars after each passenger ride and proper usage of masks by both driver and passenger would be some ways, however, they would need to innovate as per the fast-changing customer behaviors in order to stay relevant. Just informing the passenger about the measures being undertaken will not suffice, the real ‘winning back of trust’ shall occur once the consumers see the actual, practical implementation and more importantly, the continuous backing of these measures in the long run.
In the post-COVID-19 era, the times would be such that the businesses would need to know their customers more than ever before. And this implies to all industries across. Technology would play a huge role in the processes; however, the businesses would now need to sensitize themselves to the changing consumer requirements and evolve accordingly, with great empathy and with even greater compassion.
With the gradual entry of the world into the ‘new normal’ where masks and sanitizers are the add-ons to all of our backpacks, the transportation industries shall have to ‘gear up’ to pick pace with the new, alternating consumer requirements.
Subscribe to the website to get regular updates!
*Don’t forget to confirm your subscription through the mail received in your inbox