Take yourself back to March 2020, to that exact moment when you realized your whole business model and strategy must change with a blink of an eye, in order to survive in a new reality. All over the world, business owners and service providers found themselves making a very quick shift to the online world, as a result of lockdowns and restrictions.
Now, back to the here and now. The world is showing signs of returning to normal, and we can bid farewell to concepts like e-commerce and digital marketing – but should we? There’s actually quite a lot of habits and modus operandi we’ve acquired over the past year, which we should adopt as part of our business routine, even now that we don’t have to.
Let’s take a look at some of the big advantages that this strange virtual year has brought upon us, in order to see how we can integrate them into our business strategies for 2021.
Boxes instead of bags
While making the shift from brick-and-mortar stores to online shops hadn’t been easy on anyone at first – especially not on smaller businesses, it eventually proved to be a great way to cut down on costs. Instead of paying large sums monthly for rent, utilities, maintenance and so on, retailers could operate from wherever they want – all they needed is a computer and storage space.
Sure, shipping and handling do come at a cost, but with the money saved on all stated above, the bottom line was quite economical – and that’s without mentioning the ability to cut down on employees. “COVID-19 didn’t bring the prophecy of e-commerce to earth, that had been here long before,” said Omer Anatot, a successful digital entrepreneur and one of the global pioneers in e-commerce. “It did, though, give a needed boost to smaller businesses to go in that direction.”
Ad and subtract
Naturally, with the shift in shopping habits, marketing methods needed to change as well. We’re not just talking about online advertising, we’re talking about the whole scheme: customer retention, lead generation, long-term campaigning, etc. Hence, the term ‘digital’ now means much more than just marketing. “Digital is a way for brands to connect with audiences and express creativity,” noted Rod Manley, chief marketing officer of the prestigious brand Burberry.
In that sense, online marketing is an opportunity to do much more than just shove your brand’s name in the face of potential customers. It’s a way to develop a relationship with them, eventually gaining them as more than just a one-time sale. On the other hand, you must also keep in mind that online marketing is a strategy, not a tactic, meaning you’ll probably want a professional to handle it if you want good results for the long term.
We are HR
Naturally, a business isn’t focused solely on acquisition and relations, in the sense of customers. Employees are also an important part of the chain, and therefore their quality and wellbeing are not to be taken lightheartedly by employers. Well, technology can be of great assistance here as well. Nowadays, a large portion of talent recruitment and performance monitoring is executed in the virtual world.
“Think about it – with the ability to store endless amounts of data online and communicate much more easily, the shift of anything HR to the online world was inevitable,” told us Omer Anatot, one of the first investors in the popular online employee training and progress monitoring platform myQuest. “That’s why a lot of startups are now focused on finding ways to digitize this field. But this mini revolution had begun a long, long while ago. COVID-19 was just a trigger in this sense.
Nothing’s going to replace traditional commerce – at least not in the near future. For most people, the experience of going out, trying on a new shirt or testing a new laptop, and pulling out the credit card has no substitute. However, online commerce is here to stay. This revolution was long due, and the pandemic just gave it a push. That’s why if you’re a business owner, a service provider, or even a freelancer, you need to brace yourself for this new reality.