Today, one thing most people will agree upon is that the world in late 2020 is vastly different than the one we lived in a hundred years ago… or was it January? This change covers most areas of life and our economy. Businesses have also been impacted in an unprecedented fashion. Whether you are a main street shop or an international web-based business, how you market your business and make sales has been impacted. In some cases, the changes may be permanent. Below are 5 ways that businesses are surviving in late 2020:
Taking experiences online
In the age of COVID-19 people are increasingly focused on the basic needs of food, security, and safety. Brands that manufacture or sell essential products are doing quite well. Luxury brands are struggling. Beauty, travel, and industries impacted by social distancing are going to have a long road to recovery. In the long run, travel will become more based on experiences and may rely on augmented and virtual reality. Driving vacations are up (Yellowstone had it best September ever), while airlines are on life support. If your business relies on luxury goods or on travel or entertainment, you need to be thinking about how to deal with the fact that customers may not be walking through your doors for the foreseeable future. This may mean pivoting to offering different products or services or taking your experience online with virtual delivery.
Adapting to challenges rather than “waiting them out”
Consumers who live alone face loneliness and families who have come together can be facing coping with overcrowding and lack of privacy (and bandwidth). Folks are eating more at home (good for groceries and food delivery), but restaurants are struggling. The changes have not all been negative. In my job, I’ve traded a 55-minute one-way commute over challenging roads for 55 seconds (if I stop to pet the dog). My transportation costs have dropped substantially. However, I miss the personal interaction with clients and colleagues and have had to make continuing efforts to maintain contacts, even if they are via phone or video conferencing. Many business owners and employees face challenges with the changes to their lives. Organizations that realize these challenges and work to ease the people’s burdens are doing better than those who try to “hunker down and wait’er out”.
Increased use of digital tools
Consumers are embracing experiences through technology. We all hope that sporting events, concerts and festivals will make a comeback, but they likely will not come back fully until a vaccine is available and widely distributed. Consumers still crave experiences, but increasingly they are accepting digital and virtual experiences as an acceptable substitute. Think about the increased use of grocery delivery and telehealth. As consumers realize the convenience that digital tools provide and become more comfortable using them, businesses will need to shift their strategies accordingly. If my 89-year-old father-in-law can become an enthusiastic convert to using our local grocery store’s shopping app, think what the impact on other age groups could be. If you are not using e-commerce and social media marketing now, you will need to start… yesterday.
Building an online presence
Main street brick and mortar businesses continue to struggle in many places. Businesses who have a strong online presence are doing well (Just ask Jeff Bezos of Amazon). Businesses who have pivoted to offer low or no-touch delivery, who have found ways to showcase products and services safely using augmented reality, virtual reality and who have more robust websites that include ordering or e-commerce capabilities are doing much better than those who are sitting waiting for customers to walk through their physical doors.
Leveraging digital advertising
Advertising is shifting away from outdoor and print to digital media. The biggest growth in consumption are in mobile, social media and video. If you rely on print or billboards you may need to mix it up a little.
Help is available
If you need assistance thinking through these difficult times, please contact your local Wyoming SBDC Network advisor by clicking here. Our regional directors and counselors are ready to assist you in creating strategies to bring your business through a new and challenging world.