Due to the sudden breakout of COVID-19, lots of businesses have suffered dramatic changes and adjustments to the extent of even closing down. Many workers had to comply with new rules, salary reduction or losing a job. While some businesses temporarily went down, others sank without any possibilities of restoring again, while many resorted to e-commerce more than ever.
What about small businesses like local stores? Such places that always had a sign at the door or in a storefront window, visible from the street or the avenue of a mall, is slowly fading in our minds. Instead of going to the store or to the office, where a bunch of colleagues are waiting for us to share details of a project we are working on together, a cup of coffee, or a friendly chat during a lunch break, now is gone or, at least, temporarily suspended. Now we are growing accustomed to online platforms, where consumers and merchants are only a click or a swipe away from conducting business.
Even before the pandemic, e-commerce was growing and absorbing markets around the world. It is expected when taking into account technological infrastructure, such as high-speed internet and user-friendly platforms. A successful online business depends on the confidence of merchants, other businesses, and consumers in a virtual system. However, the thriving virtual system owes its reliability to a legal regime which provides contract formation via the internet that is reliable and secure. So, not only do various services and e-commerce is possible and developing in time, but there is some form of an online legal system which enables creating contracts electronically and recognizes e-signatures.
And? You are still asking in confusion about how is that related to the business strategies in the time of Corona when all those things existed long ago before there were any hints about a global pandemic which is threatening to economies all over the world. Well, it is and it is a lot. First of all, the lockdown has demonstrated the need to think broadly about using the internet to create and sustain business relationships and transactions. No wonder there is a saying that a crisis is also an opportunity. In these new circumstances, like always in the times of turning events in history of the human race, people had do whatever they can to survive the situation and, possibly, benefit from it. In order to save their businesses, keep them rolling, and thrive, in some cases, business owners developed some strategies along the way.
As communication always matters, make sure you stay in touch with all of your employees on a daily basis on all important matters. All business-related matters, from how to handle questions from customers or contractors to changes regarding employee holidays fall into the group of essential issues. In this way, you build up and keep trust by always remaining transparent to both your employees, affiliates and customers. You give them a clear stance of what is achievable or not, or, at least, at which extent.
Since current events are reported without any indication between soft facts, hard facts, and an absolute speculation, do not let these cloud your critical thinking. Instead, examine the information sources before making any major changes in your business strategies.
Since every crisis is unpredictable and different, the best solution is to have a pragmatic approach to the situation that is guided by expert opinion which is always indispensable during a crisis. Regardless of general news and information, an expert can provide a thorough view and sometimes a totally stance on the more critical issues.
In chaotic times like these, you may find yourself stressed out with the numerous decisions that must be made in order to keep your business running. That is one more reason to take a step back and consider the best and worst possible outcome so that you can examine how well your projected ideas and investments will last.
During this uniquely challenging crisis, it is always a good idea to have a bigger picture. Due to too much noise surrounding us now, there is always the added risk that you may jump to some unconsidered conclusions you may eventually come to regret.
If you keep reframing your approach to the situation, you might see the situation from a better angle which highlights other factors and indicators. After all, that information can lead for better options to pop up and thrive.
As much as a question of whether the pandemic time is the right moment for marketing the business is being posed, the answer is that marketing is an incessant, ever-expanding and ever-growing action. Even though clients may not be in the right situation to spend their money on the product or the service you are marketing, they will want to buy from you later. And, definitely, this situation does not make your company irrelevant and unsuccessful.
Instead of panicking about what lies ahead after this crisis, focus on finding new solutions and new methods to improve your financial flow by enhancing your internal systems and procedures on how you can get more out of your current assets.
Can Global Brands Thrive Post Corona?
Relying on the Harvard Business Review, the figures witness the following: 13-32% decline in merchandise trade, a 30-40% reduction in foreign direct investment, and a 44-80% drop in international airline passengers in the year of 2020.
Aside from the expected downturn in this year, there is a reasonable cause for optimism. In addition, The BrandZ Top 75 Most Valuable Retail Brands Report asserts that their combined value has risen by 12% in the past year, to $1.514 trillion. With an intention to ease the influx of foreign business during this time, many local governments are simplifying and digitizing complex systems that had previously been an obstacle to international expansion. In this unprecedented era and a globalized world of today, companies are well positioned to assist in the challenges we face, while simultaneously empowering their brand.
Work from home – Digital solutions for the workplace
Many companies, including leading global brands like Unilever and Google implemented universal work from home policies for all employees. Having introduced this measure of safety, but a useful and a significant way of avoiding business to suffer great losses as well, an improvement in functioning of hybrid remote teams has been executed. It can be well said that there will no longer be a difference between onsite and remote employees.
Empowering local offices with digital technology
Though a bit strange to some employees who are accustomed to “going to work” and having a standard office time, work from home policies have proven to be the right decision during the pandemic. With this form of doing business, brands are given a chance to interact with their far-flung local offices by resorting to zoom meetings which are great means of putting everyone in an organization on the same page, wherever they are. Unexpectedly, companies are finding leadership in places where they least expected: lower middle managers who are expressing resiliency and initiative in the face of change. Therefore, many companies rely on country management and give their best to empower local offices that can quickly assess a situation and react accordingly.
Sales and supply – businesses strengthen relationships
In order to alleviate the stress of their supply chain, many business leaders resort to conduct an immediate payment to their local suppliers and offer longer payment terms to small retailers that can be saved by such measures. In the time of extraordinary circumstances like these, it is recommendable to keep developing tighter relationships with supply chains by local offices.
Digital technologies fuel powerful business connections
According to a recent study, over 3600 B2B decision makers released the news that most B2B sales are now digital: 96% have transferred to remote selling, localizing their content as needed to cater to a wide variety of locales; 250% increase in mobile ordering; 30% increase in customer’s reliance on placing orders on an app.
Surprisingly, more than 65% of respondents believe this method to be as effective than in-person activities prior to the pandemic. Accordingly, 79% responded that they are very likely to maintain these changes even when in-person activities become available again as they used to be.
It may be concluded that, to remain relevant, each client should be given an exceptional digital customer journey. Elements to support it should be the customer’s language, sense of aesthetic, and preferred method of communications for starters. If you stay true to these, you will double your chances to be selected as a primary supplier.
Global crises have happened before and highly influenced the markets and economies all over the world. In such times, some smaller businesses got drowned by the wave of economic downfall, whereas some restored later, or even survived all through the crisis and unexpectedly thrived. In terms of business, when we fear and prepare for the worst, we may emerge as winners, with double strength accumulated over the critical period. To achieve this goal, companies must adapt their communication and business strategies to reflect the new global digital market, and rely on localizing brand content to reach global users like never before.