With the Ministry of Home Affairs and the state governments planning to allow the opening of shops in a staggered manner after May 3 in areas that do not fall under the containment zones or red zones, PC brands have come forward to prepare retail store owners – both exclusive and multi brands stores – for maintaining social distancing in stores. As it is expected that ‘non-essential’ stores are likely to reopen after the 40-day lockdown period, PC companies are preparing retail store owners, keeping in mind hygiene, social distancing and contactless functioning before selling products to customers from their stores.
According to sources, leading PC maker Dell has recently conducted a Zoom video meeting where it has educated its retailers on maintaining social distancing at stores. Over 200 Dell partners from the northern region participated in this video meeting. Likewise, HP has undertaken video session for its partners. However, retailers and local IT associations are pondering over the opening of stores located in green zone from May 03. Meanwhile, the supply and delivery of IT and related products is being provided to essential services businesses by partners on a need basis.
One of the Dell partners, who attended this video meeting, said, “Although the session conducted by Dell team was informative, the growing financial burden, bank interest and reducing limit are big concerns for keeping the business going.”
The Punjab state government has announced relief for retail stores to open in green zones amidst the lockdown. However, IT partners in Punjab seem in no hurry to follow this relief.
A senior official from Punjab’s IT association, PACT, informs, “None of our members in Ludhiana has opened stores today, however, our association is working on the government issued guidelines and planning to act accordingly.”
Navin Gupta, General Secretary, FAIITA informs, “PC brand owners are supporting partners and giving solutions to our business related issues be it payment, incentives, back-end rebates and virtual store hygiene training, etc. But the challenge is to adopt strict ‘Social Distancing’ norms especially in crowded IT hubs by the government present and post lockdown. Still, there is a lot of fear among the customers to visit the retail stores in spite of governments decision to open in certain areas depending upon the zones. Meanwhile, we are working on an alternate plan to bring our partners to common e-portal.”
Undoubtedly, for small and medium retail store owners, it is becoming difficult to sustain and maintain the cash flow for paying monthly rental, employee salaries and payments recovery from customers and its partners. With increasing burden of bank limits and interest, partners, retailers and distributors are asking for relief package from the government and OEMs.
Nevertheless, PC companies have been supporting its partners in the midst of crisis by deferring the payments and liquidating the dead stock lying in partners’ stores and offices. PC brands like Dell have launched a Partner Relief Package to provide immediate financial relief to its partners, while helping them build capabilities and pipeline for the future.