Businesses can spend weeks, months and even years implementing work from home policies, going paperless, aligning social strategies, but there’s something about tough times, that propel us forward and force us to rethink things—fast.
With so many businesses facing one of their greatest challenges to date, COVID-19 has forced everyone’s hand to make changes as quickly as possible in order to survive and thrive. Things will change and we’ve already started to see this. But, don’t let this pandemic break your spirit. Use this unprecedented time as an opportunity to reassess and reinvent yourself. Get creative. Try something new. You’ll come out stronger in the end if you do.
Here are the 3 things to help when planning the future of your business you’ll want to ensure are in your brand’s vocabulary going forward.
If you’re going to add even just one new word to your brand’s vocabulary, it’s got to be virtual. If any part of your business can be taken online, this is the perfect chance to expand your reach and adapt your services to meet customer’s new spending behaviours. Perhaps it’s time to experiment with offering your in-person fitness classes online, hosting that webinar you’ve always had in the back of your mind or setting up your employees to work from home?
Maybe you’re already embracing a new virtual reality and your restaurant is on Skip the Dishes, or you are selling your merchandise through an e-commerce platform like Shopify, but how about your social accounts? Your blog or even that OpenTable account you have yet to verify—now is the time! The more your brand has a presence online, the more accessible you are to a wider range of potential customers on and offline.
Being virtual also opens you up to the ability to create revenue 24/7 and expands sales beyond local, not to mention avoiding all those hefty overhead costs that being virtual affords. If you’re not in the business of selling goods, you are still generating leads with customers looking for what you’re offering. But if you don’t have any type of online presence, how will they find you?
Delivery has been on everyone’s mind for a while now, but curbside has become the new reality for many brands? Think of it as the new drive-thru! Up until recently in Canada, President’s Choice was one of the few brands offering curbside pickups, with their PC Express program. With shoppers now flooding online systems not designed to handle the enormous onslaught of orders they’ve seen in recent weeks, curbside pickup has become a huge source of revenue for a variety of industries, over and above grocery, food and hospitality.
Some analysts predict that curbside pickup will eventually become the norm. Since March 22, Best Buy in the U.S. for instance has been delivering orders to people in cars, even allowing shoppers to place an order while in the parking lot. In Ontario we’re now seeing this with everything from cannabis retailers to Staples, making shopping more accessible than ever, and solving the challenges placed upon of a social distancing reality.
Cash isn’t going to be king for much longer, especially when we consider the amount germs on a bills’ surface. In 2018 alone, electronic payments made up 73% of all interactions while cash-only made up 21% according to Payments Canada. Needless to say, even before the crisis struck, we’ve all known that contactless payments have been on the rise. Moving forward contactless payments and scheduling will be a reality for everyone. Not just for curbside pickup but also for making purchases. Customers will want to stay as hygienic as possible, but more so, contactless offerings also meet the needs of millennials and gen Z, who make up a large part of our country’s buying power and tend to fancy paying for goods and services without having to go into a bank.
Apple, Google and Samsung Pay all allow for payments to be made directly from a smartphone and/or laptop remotely or in-person. These payment platforms not only allow you to process payment a lot faster, but they also have better security and safety which all encourage your customers to spend more! If customers don’t feel like they can get what they need fast and feel safe in the process, they’ll likely go elsewhere.