With budgets frozen, storefronts closing, and events canceling, the COVID-19 pandemic changed the business and marketing landscape almost beyond recognition. Consumer behavior has also significantly adjusted, with almost 90% of consumers reporting that they have made changes to their shopping behavior due to the pandemic. Here are some of the main ways that COVID-19 changed business.
1. Digital-First Businesses:
While being a digital-first brand might not have been a brand-new concept at the beginning of the pandemic, it quickly became very important for companies of all sizes and all industries. With non-essential stores and businesses closing in many parts of the world, consumers could no longer go out for several different products and instead had to get them online.
As a result, one of the main lessons learned by businesses during COVID-19 was that having a strong online presence is crucial to every company today. Those who had already invested a lot into building a strong online side of their business typically did better, especially during the height of the pandemic.
2. New Ways to Work:
Throughout the pandemic, many employees found themselves working from home, furloughed until further notice, or working on reduced pay, which gave many the chance to reflect on how work got done before COVID-19.
And it has proven that long days in the office and commuting to the workplace were not essential for office workers. Throughout the pandemic, businesses that embraced change began to see the many benefits of a remote workforce and the freedom to hire from anywhere they liked.
3. Improved Cyber Security:
Working from home threw the spotlight onto cybersecurity for many businesses during the pandemic, leading to the realization that perhaps they were not as secure as they thought. Remote workers face unique challenges compared to office-based workers when it comes to protecting themselves from cybercrime.
4. Sustainable Growth:
COVID-19 had other ideas for many budgets, and as a result, marketers needed to quickly rethink their strategies for customer acquisition and retention. And marketing ROI has had more scrutiny on it than ever before, with expensive marketing strategies no longer an option for a lot of businesses. Instead, this has led companies to consider alternative, less traditional channels such as referral programs.
5. Brand Values:
The importance of brand values soared during the pandemic, and customers are becoming even pickier when it comes to where they will shop. Brands have gotten away with simply saying all the right things for a long time, but this is no longer the case since COVID-19.
During the crisis, businesses quickly learned that doing the right thing and sticking by their brand values got them noticed much more, with more attention on social media and the press than anything that a marketing strategy could achieve. In addition, consumers have upped their support for local businesses massively, with a strong focus on local companies that positively impacted the community.
COVID-19 has changed a lot of things about life as we knew it, and many business processes are unlikely to be the same again.