2020 has been a massively disruptive year for most businesses and consumers around the world. With less social contact and increased safety measures, employee and consumer patterns are shifting, and some businesses are struggling to keep up. But what are the largest ways in which these new habits will affect businesses? Here are some new trends that we think are having the biggest impact.
More remote work
Since March 2020 many of us have gotten used to working from home, and work plans have adjusted to fit this. This new working style has revealed many benefits for employers, such as the decreased costs of physical infrastructure (with a lot of customers downscaling on office space), as well as the increased comfort and lowered commuting costs for employees. To remain competitive, companies will have to take full advantage, and ensure that their employees have everything they need to work efficiently and effectively from home. This involves the costs of investing in assets that will enable employee’s productivity wherever they chose to work. Doing this right could present long-term cost decreases and opportunities for company growth.
More online shopping
Social distancing means less in-person shopping, which has resulted in increase in first-time online buyers. Businesses that have always focused on their brick-and-mortar shops will now be at a disadvantage compared to companies that already have a strong online presence. To catch up, companies should make sure that their website and social media are up to scratch, as this is how customers will find and engage with your products and services. Having a strong online brand is no longer a ‘nice to have’ reserved for big companies, it is an essential asset for most businesses going forward.
Consumer trust is key
Tensions are high in the world, and the public is increasingly looking for security and confidence. Now, more than ever, it is important for companies to solidify their consumers’ faith in their reliability and trustworthiness. Transparency and responsibility are the keys to creating loyal long-term relationships with customers. If your company doesn’t have a clear set of values, a transparent process, and a positive social impact, it is unlikely to fare well in the coming years. Social outreach programs and clear impact statements are one way to increase your competitiveness.
Better financial planning
The COVID-19 crisis has had an impact on more than just global health. National and local economies are struggling to recover from the decrease in work and consumption, and individuals are more aware of the precarity of their finances. This is likely to make people want to better understand and plan their finances. This presents an opportunity for companies related to finance to meet this increased demand, as long as they are able to move quickly and effectively. Companies that can offer people a better sense of financial safety are likely to have an advantage in staying afloat, and even companies that do not specialize in finance can prepare more repayment programs for emergency situations.
Though the global crisis seems to be abating, it is still far from over. The next few months will be a turbulent time for companies that are recovering from everything that has happened. The changing situation is also an opportunity to find the silver lining, and for companies to stand out in how they adapt. Knowing what might happen is the first step to being prepared, which will be critical for staying competitive in a post-COVID environment.