COVID-19

Beyond COVID-19 Business Transformation for the New Normal

As the world continues to navigate through the uncertainty of the COVID 19 crisis, businesses have taken a massive hit, leaving leaders scrambling for ways to keep businesses afloat. It is now strongly established that consumption patterns will see a colossal shift in the coming weeks. Offline purchases will be shifted to eCommerce, leaving brands to consider and implement stronger strategies to keep up with this inevitable change in consumption patterns. In a recent episode of Talks at Tenovia with business leaders, we interviewed TN Hari, entrepreneur, author, and Head of HR at Big Basket. In the discussion, he highlighted the 5x increase in demand for goods and the challenges businesses will face to match the demand during the crisis. The demand itself indicates a shift in buying behavior and this is something that every organization needs to analyze. In times of a crisis quickly adapting to the buyer’s needs is key to sustaining in the long run.


Some key consumer behavior changes according to a research study by Agility PR

  • 44 % of respondents say that the coronavirus spread has impacted their purchase decisions.
  • 21% of respondents say they are shopping more frequently online.
  • 29% of respondents say they are taking advantage of BOPIS services to get products delivered without going in-store, with 18 percent using a curbside pickup, 17 percent using subscription services, and 13 percent opting for auto ship.

While some of these changes are going to be temporary, others would be permanent. Consumers have come to realize that touch and feel are not as important especially in the event of a pandemic. This leaves online purchases and eCommerce a wide array of opportunities to catch momentum.

The reluctancy to step outside and buy will mark a tipping point for the adoption of eCommerce platforms. According to Bain insights, the outbreak in China has caused dramatic shifts in online purchases of consumer goods in China and this will hold true worldwide.

Traditional brick and mortar retailers need to quickly adapt to changing consumer buying preferences. They either choose to fulfill orders through established online retailers resulting in reduced bottom-line revenues or enter the eCommerce business wherein they sell directly to consumers. 

Retailers should explore an Omnichannel approach in order to stabilize and then increase revenues. Here are a few tips for business leaders to succeed during a crisis:

  • Consider going hyperlocal
  • Leverage tech to forecast demand and optimize inventory
  • Evolve your business model and ecosystem
  • Refocus on products and offer customizable solutions
  • Revolutionize your marketing techniques

In the words of Darwin “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change”

As consumers gradually but firmly change their buying preferences towards the online channel and eCommerce channels it is important that retailers adapt to change immediately unless they want to be the next Kodak or Nokia.

Implications of COVID-19 – The URGENT Need for a Digital Transformation

The last month has seen a major shift in the landscape of businesses both offline and online. As retail stores shut shop and people frantically wash hands, social isolation has somehow gotten us all more digitally connected than ever before. The COVID-19 situation is, in fact, a global crisis and a very serious one, which would force a lot of businesses to innovate and make tweaks to their business model. In the words of Steve Blank, of the Lean Startup fame:
“If your business model today looks the same as it did on 1st March, you’re in denial – and possibly out of business”. You should read up his Lifeboat Strategy to deal with this crisis for your business.


WHY YOU NEED AN ECOMMERCE AND A DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION STRATEGY

Ok here’s why: Offline business will take a while to come back to what it was. The good news is that the consumption will not stop – people’s behaviors won’t change – where they buy products or services from will get disrupted over the next few months. 


eCommerce will grow

The social isolation situation may continue longer and even after the lockdown is lifted, people will continue taking preventive measures keeping most shopping limited to online. 

Online sales have increased two-fold after the crisis struck. Most products like electronics have anyways largely been purchased online. Other sectors like Groceries, however, have only recently seen a spike in demand and sales online. What happens with grocery sales increasing online is that it is fundamentally a game-changer for the eCommerce industry. And if people get used to the convenience of this, it might just become habit-forming. 

Now, if your business is ahead of the curve on eCommerce, great! But if you’re a business leader and you’ve been slow to adapt to eCommerce, you have to prioritize it as one of the top projects on your to-do list. 

Adapting to eCommerce means a bunch of things including making tweaks in your supply chain, merchandise, hiring, warehousing, operations, customer service and finally sales and marketing. For some companies, it includes exploring a B2B eCommerce approach to expand their distribution.


And That’s why you would need a Digital Transformation

Digital transformation doesn’t mean activating your digital marketing and ticking that checkbox. It’s an approach that involves looking at your business with a fresher mindset. It is a shift that will need a change in the mindset, skillset, and toolset. 

Most brand leaders have heard of Digital Transformation and have probably taken some strides towards this. But if we were to look around, it’s nowhere near where it should be in the ecosystem. This COVID-19 crisis will quickly make it clear the gaps in your digital transformation strategy and execution. 

As the old Chinese saying goes: The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the next best time is now” 

In summary: We would strongly urge brand leaders to rethink what their businesses would look like if eCommerce would play a bigger role than it ever has: across the supply chain, distribution, brand awareness, new channels of sales, and new avenues of customer service and conversations.  

As stressful as the situation can get as we adapt to a post COVID-19 / Corona Virus world – as leaders we can do what’s in our control as we navigate our companies through this crisis. Act now!

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