For thousands of business owners, the lockdown period will bring an unparalleled opportunity for exponential growth
To say that the world’s current situation is grim would be an understatement. Across the globe, and in India, the COVID-19 pandemic is gaining scale—and fast. Being named the black swan event of 2020, this speculative state of affairs has baffled individuals and industries alike. While numerous businesses across sectors have ground to a grudging halt, others are focusing on taking on essential services to stay afloat during the nationwide lockdown that has been in place since March 2020.
However, let’s look at the positive side: eventually, the pandemic will pass. The ongoing lockdown will come to an end sooner or later and things will surely, albeit gradually, go back to normal. When this day comes, the country will rely on its businesses, both large and small, to spearhead economic revival. For thousands of business owners, this period will bring an unparalleled opportunity for exponential growth. At this juncture, businesses will have to ask themselves: What is our new normal?
Here’s looking at some aspects that marketers will need to focus on to determine their new normal and thrive post the COVID-19 era.
Understanding consumer behavior
While there’s no telling when the pandemic will come to an end, it is a fact that this outbreak will have an enduring impact on consumer behavior. Entrepreneurs will have to focus a major chunk of their energies on reassessing the consumer sentiment and determining the demand for their product or service post-pandemic.
For instance, I hear people say that luxury and discretionary spending will continue to remain low even after the lockdown ends. In the ( long-term) interest of social distancing, consumers will continue to buy maximum essential and non-essential products—including groceries, apparel, home care products and electronics, among others—through digital channels. Therefore, it would be a good idea for online sellers to retrofit their offerings in line with consumer demands to maintain a steady stream of revenues.
The pandemic has no doubt, got consumers to reassess everything. In a strange way, this has also dialled up the advantages of having a back-up option for them, the Internet. I shudder to think of what we would have gone through, had we not had the Internet to fall back on.
Embracing online selling
The e-commerce sector had been booming in the pre-COVID world. On the back of India’s emergence as a mobile-first economy, numerous aspiring entrepreneurs had made a mark in the e-commerce domain across categories such as apparel, food, handicrafts, and more. E-commerce platforms have been allowing entrepreneurs from various socio-economic backgrounds to test their disruptive ideas in the competitive yet rewarding world of online shopping. Such has been its growth in India, that IBEF predicted the e-commerce market to reach $200 billion by 2026.
No doubt then, that e-commerce is likely to witness a further boost, post the lockdown and continued focus on social distancing. Therefore, entrepreneurs with businesses of various scales must leverage the vast and lucrative digital infrastructure that the country now has to offer. By adopting the e-commerce channel, businesses can boost visibility and reach a larger section of customers, thereby giving a significant fillip to brand reach and overall revenues.
Moreover, in today’s tech-driven world, business owners can partner with e-commerce enablers that provide support right from creating customized and full-fledged online stores to managing payments, logistics, online promotions, and selling across multiple channels. Thus, aspiring entrepreneurs can reap the benefits of online selling without the need for deep technical know-how or considerable investments. Fence-sitters who were always worried about embracing online commerce, need to now, rethink their strategies and use this time to create professional ecommerce stores, to continue to sell online.
Those who are already online must not feel shy to share the ‘url’ of their e-commerce stores with their networks. Now is the time to reach out to your loyal bases of customers and have them continue to place orders on you- if they love you, they will respect that you will ship the orders to them once the bans lift.
Communicate with all stakeholders
Even as the pandemic peaks and passes us by, the work-from-home mandate might continue for the foreseeable future. In such a situation, clear and ongoing communication becomes more crucial than ever before. Fortunately, in the era of large-scale technological advancement, there are more than enough tools for marketers to stay in touch with associates, employees, partners, and of course, customers.
Business owners can use solutions such as audio/video conferencing or live-streaming to connect with multiple stakeholders of the business and keep them in the loop regarding the significant developments of the business. In doing so, marketers can also inform their multiple stakeholders about the recovery trajectory and future plans of the business post the pandemic.
There is nothing like an overdose of communication during these times. Stakeholders will look out for you to stay in touch with them—and you should find a way to diligently, share news about what’s happening, in a simple, straightforward, honest way.
When it comes to your customers, find ways and means to stay in touch with them with relevant messaging. Staying top of mind, among your customer sets, will continue to remain a need—but do so, in an endearing, charming and empathetic way. This is the time to build strong bonds with your customers and have them respect you for playing a much bigger role in their lives especially now. After all, you don’t want to be a fair-weather brand, do you?
Social solidarity—not social distancing
When entire countries are staying home for the greater good of the world, we are not just witnessing a period of social distancing; the current situation may also be termed as social solidarity. We are all in this together and no one is safe until and unless all of us are. This is also true for businesses across industries. We all exist in interdependence and can only come out of this in one piece if we stay united.
For now, and beyond this pandemic, let’s support and learn from each other, growing steadily amid our new normal.