May 11

4 ways businesses can adapt effectively during the COVID-19 outbreak.

4 ways

businesses can adapt effectively during the

COVID-19 outbreak.

With the human touch in short supply these days, everything from buying groceries to paying bills, from office meetings to celebrating birthdays are all online and through an array of apps that has made us face to face with technology. So the natural rise in E-commerce was also expected, especially now.You may have taken to an online store yourself, to order the necessities, perhaps a few puzzles to keep you occupied or to search for essentials like hand sanitizers or toilet paper. But which areas are performing better than the others? We spent some time distilling the data and put it all into this handy infographic

Let’s look at it from a business perspective shall we? Especially businesses that have, in a span of a few days or weeks, rapidly adapted to this new normal, simultaneously satisfying evolving customer demands and delivering tremendous sales growth.

In this article, we’ll run you through 4 real-world tips that might just inspire the change within your business that you need to overcome during these challenging times. We know that not every business can implement these changes but we’ve also included a number of thought-starters so you can explore and leave no stone unturned in finding what is best suited for your business.

1. Be quick in responding to new demands.

Let’s start with BinSina Pharmacy, a stellar example of a fast mover during the COVID-19 outbreak. Their first step was to implement a WhatsApp ordering system, complemented by a call centre staffed with their Pharmacists. Initially, after putting in place a partnership with InstaShop, the company offered customers a limited range of products for delivery. This proved to be an effective step in the company’s adaptation, yet there was much demand for many products beyond the physical stores’ portfolios. They continued to listen and respond to consumer demands and now have a full E-commerce website with over 9,000 products.

Even existing delivery services have adapted to re-assure customers. Like Chinese delivery giant Ele.me, who are now recording temperatures of all staff at each link in the food production and delivery process in order to re-assure customers.

These changes extend beyond hospitality too. We’ve seen a number of companies in clothing and cosmetics increasingly pivot towards comfort and self-care. That means lots of loungewear, work-from-home attire and other isolation essentials are on offer. You’ve probably seen for yourself that e-commerce businesses of all stripes have started adding soaps and other hygiene products to their portfolio.

What we’ve done at Chain Reaction:

These changes extend beyond hospitality too. We’ve seen a number of companies in clothing and cosmetics increasingly pivot towards comfort and self-care. That means lots of loungewear, work-from-home attire and other isolation essentials are on offer. You’ve probably seen for yourself that e-commerce businesses of all stripes have started adding soaps and other hygiene products to their portfolio.

A Question to start with:

How can your business move quickly towards meeting the ever-changing consumer demands?

2. Get flexible with your workforce.

Across the world, we’ve seen a number of businesses put on their thinking caps and get creative with how they put to use their most valuable asset – their staff. Going back to China again, we’ve actually seen a number of companies sharing employees. Like hotels, restaurants and others in hospitality sharing employees with Hema (an online supermarket owned by Alibaba). In the hard-hit hospitality trade, this has kept many thousands of employees in work.

We also know of one cosmetics brand who, when forced to close over 60% of its stores, didn’t just let go all of their store workers. Rather their beauty advisors, typically based in-store, were redeployed as online influencers. The result? 200% growth compared to the previous year. Now that’s a perfect example of a win-win scenario.

What we’ve done at Chain Reaction:

We did everything in our power to ensure everyone at the company kept their job. Senior management took pay cuts and any wage reductions were done as fairly as possible based on earnings.

A Question to start with:

In what creative ways can you solve a surplus or deficit of manpower?

3. Use technology to your benefit.

Before you think this means you need to develop the next Facebook, read on. It could be as easy as simply utilising an amazing tool that already exists. Take Cosmo Lady for example, the largest undergarment and lingerie company in China. Once the virus hit, they acted quickly and switched their focus to online selling through the popular WeChat platform. They even implemented a sales ranking for every employee in the company, including the CEO!

Yes, it’s true, some brands have gone a step further. Italian luxury brand Les Petits Joueurs is launching a full-on virtual showroom where visitors can try on every single product in augmented reality. With real-world try-ons impossible, what better innovation to help customers feel more assured of their purchases.

What we’ve done at Chain Reaction:

Like many companies, we’ve turned to great, free software like Zoom, Slack and Skype. However, a member of our team also helped implement software that has allowed everyone to use their office landlines and extensions from home, as well as connect seamlessly to the company server. And yes, we also do celebrate birthdays over Zoom as well.

A Question to start with:

In what ways can we use new or existing technology to the benefit of your business?

4. Pivot to a new way of connecting.

Everyone is stuck at home. That means they are not coming to you. But with more time spent browsing online, there’s no shortage of ways for you to reach out to customers new and old – but only if you’re smart. One major global confectionary company made the decision to use this period to speed up its digital transformation. Offline marketing events originally scheduled for Valentine’s Day were cancelled. Instead, all resources were ploughed into digital marketing initiatives.

With days spent at home, people are more receptive to digital communication than normal. For example, one report recently noted that email open rates were increasing 5-10% every week. Now is a great time to reassess your communication plans or even to explore channels that you weren’t previously utilising. Just look at the boom in TikTok as a great example!

What we’ve done at Chain Reaction:

Thankfully, here at Chain Reaction we were already well-positioned for working from home. It’s long been an option for employees. Sure, this time it is a little longer than we’d normally be used to – but we’re getting on just fine.

A Question to start with:

How can you shift your communications to take advantage of the situation?

So, there we have it – 4 ways to get thinking about how your business can thrive in this difficult time. We hope these, along with our thought-starters, can help your business survive and thrive. If you’ve seen any exemplary cases or have any tips of your own, feel free to comment below!

Firas Shahin

Regional Digital Accounts Director

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