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!