The COVID-19 pandemic is resulting in lasting changes for businesses. Many companies have to alter how they operate long-term to keep customers—and employees—safe while staying competitive in this new normal. This task has implications for all functional departments and teams within businesses. You may—or soon could be— facing some decisions that you may have never encountered before. What could some of these decisions be, and how should you handle them?
Putting More Resources in Your Digital Marketing Tools
According to HubSpot’s report, in February and March, when most states shut down, average monthly website traffic increased 13 percent. People stuck at home could only visit grocery stores for essential goods or shop online. Additionally, product shortages caused even more people to start shopping online. With more people becoming comfortable taking their business to online marketplaces, e-commerce is expected to increase by 18 percent this year.
As a result, you and your marketing team want to put more of your time and resources into building your digital presence. Today, as a result of COVID-19, your audience may only be able to find you online. This new normal means that you have to ensure you have a responsive website, a solid SEO strategy, investment in ad spending, and a plan to incorporate robust plans to attract your target audience online. Even when things return to a recognizable normal, individuals may still want to take advantage of the convenience of shopping online, so it is worth it to invest in your digital presence now.
Investing in a Hybrid Work Environment
In May, a Gallup study revealed that half of the individuals working outside of the office prefer to continue working remotely. The study also revealed that 25 percent of workers would return to the office once the coronavirus pandemic subsides. This will likely create an environment where companies have to invest in tools and infrastructure that promotes either remote work or a hybrid remote work arrangement. This step will mean investing in project collaboration, communication, and cloud storage tools that allow individuals to work where they are.
If you are planning to have employees return to a physical location, you may have to consider having employees alternate days they come into the office. Additionally, the goal of many companies will shift from promoting employee visibility to focusing on results. If remote work or hybrid remote work arrangements become the norm for your company, downsizing your space or switching to working online will be a decision you will have to face.
EMarketer forecasts that brick-and-mortar businesses as a whole can expect to lose 14 percent of retail revenue. Also, retail sales in total are expected to decrease by 10.5 percent. Many companies are already feeling these pain points. One of HubSpot’s customers responded to a recent study by acknowledging that they were reducing their monthly spending by 70 percent. The goal for most businesses is to figure out how to retain customers efficiently and affordably. This step could mean letting go of physical storefronts or only focusing on proven marketing plans that have worked in the past. Your company may not have the time or resources to experiment, so developing metrics and conducting analysis to determine revenue strategies that work will become a more significant priority.
Changing the Tone of Brand Messaging
Today, the stakes are higher. Most of your customers are trying to reckon with a new world. From job losses to public health concerns, the situations are serious. Your marketing team must develop strategies with this lens. Every message that comes from your brand needs to acknowledge the challenges customers may be facing and be empathetic to the difficulties they are managing. Showing how your product solves a problem will be even more important, and your marketing messaging should convey this. The easier you can make the lives of your customers, the more effective your marketing will be. Determining how your company and your product fit into this new normal will be a primary objective for your company.
Prepare Your Supply Chains
It’s no secret that stores have experienced a variety of food and product shortages. COVID-19 is making it challenging for warehouses to prepare and send out goods. Additionally, this pandemic is causing disruptions to a variety of supply chains around the country. As a result, it is essential that you begin to identify alternative supply chain options, invest in material substitutions, and become more dynamic in determining the product supplies you should invest in. Having a plan for managing logistical disruptions will keep you agile in the event of another possible disaster and sharpen your inventory management long-term.
Preparing for the Future is Essential
Even when a vaccine becomes available, many of the changes that have occurred as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak may be here to stay. Embracing remote work, tailoring your brand messaging for your audience, and creating alternatives for supply chains will likely become the norm. The COVID-19 pandemic is teaching many that disruption can happen at any time. Implementing crisis management plans for each of your departments will become essential as you move forward. The more agile and dynamic your company is, the more prepared you will be to meet new challenges—COVID-19 related or not.
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