The Pandemic Push Towards New Ways of Doing Business
Three years later, it’s clear that the COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed the landscape of business and economies across the world. As businesses large and small scrambled to adjust to the new normal and later reemerge on the other side of the pandemic, there has been no shortage of valuable lessons and business insights to carry forward.
The need for digital solutions was one of the most immediate lessons. In The Bahamas, many businesses up to 2020 still operated without websites, apps and online ordering platforms.
Similarly, while in some countries, remote work was already a part of the day-to-day operations of many businesses, in pre-COVID Bahamas, the cultural norm was for employees to report to a physical business location every workday.
So, when the first case of COVID was recorded in the country, and people were largely confined to their homes, the scramble for businesses to implement solutions in an effort to be able to continue business amid lockdowns and curfews was immense.
And we can see now, even as business has largely returned to normal, that digital strategies have continued to dominate the marketing industry and how the pandemic has thrust digital transformation into the spotlight even in the long term.
It’s been exciting to see how companies are incorporating digital in new ways to not only drive online sales but also to keep consumers engaged even at the depths of the internet. One of our favorite examples was from West Elm. While Zoom and Teams calls were the only way to see colleagues face-to-face, the contemporary home goods store found a sweet spot with customers by creating stylish, video conferencing backgrounds, virtual design consultations, and a new interactive Room Planner.
For many companies, the pandemic has changed the very fabric of how business is done. And many of us are still realizing the business lessons of the pandemic.
What We’ve Learned
Remote Work Can Work
In The Bahamas, pre-COVID, workplaces by and large did not offer remote work opportunities. But the pandemic forced many businesses to transition to remote work, and proved for many that it’s a viable option. With the help of technological tools, organizations have been able to successfully manage their workflows while allowing employees to work from home. In a country where the population is spread out over many islands, this development can hold significant weight, giving companies more recruitment options while also broadening the employment options for people located outside of New Providence.
The pandemic had a significant impact on consumer behavior, as people have become more safety-conscious and increasingly reliant on digital channels for shopping.
While many Bahamian businesses operated without a website prior to COVID, an online presence is far more essential to remain competitive coming out of the pandemic. Having an official website, creating social media accounts, and regularly engaging with customers on these platforms are important components in providing a more optimal customer experience.
Businesses have also had to find ways to introduce contactless payment methods such as mobile payments or QR codes, contactless delivery services, and online ordering platforms.
A New World of Marketing
The pandemic push to digital also means a greater investment in digital marketing, as traditional sources like print or television ads are no longer as effective.
An online marketing presence has never been more essential. And it’s also vital that companies make sure that marketing takes into account the amount of time that people spend on smartphones as opposed to computers. Content needs to not only be digital, but also mobile to remain as competitive as possible.
Businesses need to ensure that they’re providing content that is engaging and interesting, while also being sensitive to the new demands of consumers.
Ways To Engage Customers on Digital Platforms
Be a resource to your consumer
Use your newsletter or blog to elevate your consumers' brand experience at home. Give tips on new ways to use your product or service, complimentary information on health and wellness, and any additional tips that create value for your clients and help them to better engage with your product or service.
Leverage Your Partners
Behind-the-scenes content will always be one of the best ways to engage audiences with your brand. Invite industry partners, executives, and brand ambassadors to join zoom calls, Instagram live sessions, or as a series behind a paywall.
Amplify Existing Customers
User-generated content not only makes a customer feel special but can also show brand authenticity. For consumer goods companies, now more than ever it's important to highlight real people and their experiences with your brand. While peer-to-peer trust is at an all-time high, “Pinterest-curated” marketing strategies might be best after the pandemic. For other types of companies, customizing experiences and communication can be another way to make clients feel special.
The New Normal
There have been many debates about how life would change after the pandemic. And even now, some things remain unclear. Three years after the first cases of COVID, economies across the globe are largely reopened and things seem “normal”. It’s a new normal and we’re still figuring a lot of things out.
But it’s clear that the digital transformation that came out of the pandemic is here to stay. And the businesses that embrace these changes and adapt accordingly are positioning themselves to remain competitive and profitable.