COVID-19 has reshaped not only our personal lives but the entire economic frontier. Large and small businesses have had to compromise where they can and innovate wherever possible just to survive. However, considering a market in flux, companies must do more than simply stay afloat as the pandemic comes to a close. They need to thrive in a world that’s entirely different than the one we knew pre-pandemic. In this article, Daniel Calugar discusses five ways businesses have been affected by COVID-19.
Longevity vs. Growth
Growth has always been the first rule of business. A business that isn’t growing is dying. At least, that’s how it was pre-COVID. Now, as we navigate our way out of the pandemic, we see business practices shift from a focus on sustained growth to longevity. Of course, longevity tends to be a consequence of growth, but businesses were given a changing market fueled by the emerging needs of isolated consumers during the pandemic.
The idea here is to appreciate the untapped value in your existing base and leverage brand assets to strengthen your brand image. A strong brand enhances the connection between customer and business, making for a much longer-lasting relationship than single-conversion customers. This lets companies focus on stronger customer retention programs and referral programs for more sustainable growth in the long term.
Direct to Consumer
Even as the pandemic winds down, many of us are still working from home. This fact translates to a significant reduction in foot traffic through brick-and-mortar shops and department stores. Physical locations have always been the norm, but because of COVID-19, businesses are putting their efforts into delivering products directly to the customer as efficiently as possible.
More competitive pricing, more flexible supply chains, greater control over fulfillment, and a more accessible shopping experience are avenues through which businesses are making it easier for customers to shop online.
The New Digital Frontier
The shift from physical to digital does more than make it easier to shop online. It’s about bringing an experience entirely online, even if the product cannot simply be purchased and delivered to a customer’s doorstep.
Live entertainment, yoga, consultation, therapy, and even dentistry use live streaming services to provide a service. And, with the furthering of smartphone technology, more and more businesses are using augmented reality to help customers project products into their homes to demo a purchase at their leisure.
A More Flexible Workspace
While most changes are more apparent from the outside, as consumers, businesses have accepted significant changes behind the scenes to stay functional and thrive in a post-pandemic world. Remote work, or working from home, has primarily been a difficult concept to accept in most workplaces. Still, with isolation being essential due to COVID, remote work has surged to the fore as a standard practice.
Working from home has been so successful and beneficial that many businesses are considering a complete move to the online space, eschewing the need for a physical office to save on costs. While many offices and businesses are reopening, many that will retain their physical locations allow split weeks, with some days requiring employees to be present in-office and some days allowing for remote work.
With more employees working from home, strong communication is a requirement for continued success. A renewed focus on teams and check-ins have ensured productivity stays high. However, with the separation that comes from isolation grows a need for genuine human connection. Today, many businesses encourage virtual hang-outs, meet-ups, and team events to help keep their employees connected and in sync.