Many businesses that are shutting down their brick and mortar operations are re-opening with new virtual storefronts and business practices supported by technology. According to a study by McKinsey & Company, 72 percent of businesses that experimented with new technology early on during COVID say it has provided them with a successful response to the pandemic. As digital and ecommerce power new business models, perhaps there might even be a silver lining in the global crisis. By going digital, local businesses are setting themselves up to survive and thrive by pivoting toward automation, ecommerce, and online marketing.
Three groups of business
Greg Sterling, vice-president of Market Insights with Uberall explains that businesses fall into three groups as a result of COVID, including those who are struggling, meeting expectations, and have successfully shifted to online.
Group one: struggling and on the verge of disappearing
Sterling lumps the air travel industry into this group. According to a study by Statistica, the airline industry in North America was projected to generate US$22 billion in business 2020, whereas an estimated US$12 billion was earned in 2020. According to a survey by JP Morgan Chase & Co., average small businesses typically have two weeks of cash reserves on hand to stay afloat during a revenue disruption.
Group two: meeting expectations to stay open
Businesses in this category scrape by to make ends meet. Armed with a website and limited use of social media, these businesses are simply trying to manage through the disruption in order to keep their doors open, but is that enough? Sterling predicts that up to 15 percent of local businesses will fail as a result of lockdowns imposed by COVID-19, mainly because they are unable to pivot and go digital.
Group three: successful in shifting to online
According to a study by PWC, 52 percent of companies plan to cut or defer investments because of COVID-19. Of that 52 percent, only 9 percent of respondents say they will make cuts in digital transformation and the majority understand the significance of going digital. This group has taken online diversification to the next level. Some of the digital solutions they use include marketing automation, reputation management, and fully equipped ecommerce websites. They have embraced digital transformation and use online tools to transition and support a remote workforce.
With her original VHS series, actress and political activist Jane Fonda revolutionized at-home workouts in 1982. This was a catalyst for thousands of other at-home workout trends meant to feed the fitness craze of the eighties. Just as pop-culture does, historical events likewise drive change that alters our perceptions and day-to-day lives. Similar to how Fonda transformed how society exercises, COVID-19 is the catalyst transforming how society interacts with businesses. According to an article by Acquire, 45 percent of companies report a positive business impact of digital transformation and higher net revenue growth. Although the conversation around digital transformation has been slowly growing for over a decade, the pandemic intensifies the immediate need for it.
How local businesses can win
As Sterling says, it’s become a matter of survival for businesses to take the plunge and get set up online. He emphasizes the importance of tighter integration between on and offline business components such as online payments or bookings for in-person services. According to an article on Fundera only 64 percent of small businesses have a website, while 35 percent say they think they’re too small to have a website. There are trusted local experts all over the world who can guide small businesses through a digital transformation and set them up for success.
“Businesses more inclined to move toward digital transformation are going to win.” George Leith
Nurture existing customers
At this time, success will be more easily found by focusing on the existing customer rather than acquiring new customers. According to an article by Business2Community, nurturing current customers will boost conversion rates, decrease marketing costs, and increase profits. A FIVESTARS blog states that 61 percent of small and medium businesses report more than half of their revenue comes from repeat customers. Instead of going for the initial sales pitch, use technology to communicate with existing customers and strengthen those relationships.
Reopen with ease
Reopening won’t be as uniform as the pandemic induced shut-down, but there are ways to ensure the process goes smoothly. Reopening can be facilitated by adopting digital platforms and tools such as those found in Vendasta’s Marketplace into everyday business use. Help small businesses adjust to the new normal as they reopen. This platform allows users to launch multimillion-dollar revenue streams and scale up quickly. Go to market within hours, all under your own branding and at your own price-point.
Featuring more than 200 products and services, the Vendasta Marketplace offers curated solutions matched to the world’s most common small and medium business needs. Featured are world-class software and service fulfillment. There are no technical integrations, complex contracts or RFPs required. Vendasta’s curated vendor selection ensures you get the best price, are privy to promotions, SLA adherence, and more. Build a store with the products you see fit for your clients.
Pay only for products sold to clients—there are no upfront costs and no monthly minimums. Without the risk of a financial commitment, it’s easier to experiment and discover what products best fit the needs of clients plus provide solutions before clients realize they need them.
By browsing through Marketplace, you can select what you want to sell and stock your catalog of chosen products. It’s easy to build your customized, white-label, store. As a place for your clients to explore everything you have to offer, you’ll be notified when they’re browsing and know what product they’re interested in.
Take everything you sell and funnel it through the Vendasta Marketplace. Integrate your own products and services in one place for all your deals to come through, and use the free ordering system. You can bundle traditional and digital services to fit the needs of your clients. Sell more of what you already sell or combine your offerings with anything in the Vendasta Marketplace.
Simplify your relationship with existing vendors by inviting them to join Vendasta Marketplace. It’s one login, one dashboard, one bill, and all housed under one roof.
By implementing digital transformation, businesses stay up to date and have the agility to shift as the world changes around them. Online marketing tactics will set up businesses for success and new business models will continue to best serve customers. Be a part of the third group, and thrive as business practices are updated using the best digital tools available today.