For over 12 years I’ve been talking about the necessity of the online business model for all businesses.
The remarkable new COVID19 World is here, and it is going to remain until a vaccine is found for the virus. How to adapt a business is going to the be the key to survival for many businesses around the World, let alone any business growth for small businesses which have been badly affected.
Here in the UK we’ve just surpassed our tenth week in lockdown following the onset of the global pandemic of Coronavirus COVID19, with a death toll exceeding 50,000 people.
From the moment the lockdown was brought in by the UK government, the most notable thing to me for most businesses, was the need to adapt, and quickly. Whether that was to adapt their service offerings for more services to be delivered following a purchase online, or to the extreme addition of a debut online service to cater for COVID-19.
There have been plenty of ‘key’ businesses like supermarkets and hardware shops that have remained open during the pandemic after following government guidance with a set of rules in place. Mostly social distancing at all times of 2 meters, and limiting numbers of people in the store were the key rules.
Delivery drivers have been one set of the key workers that have enabled online sales to continue and even increase in certain niche sectors. Some local takeaway’s and pubs have also offered a twist of local delivery or even collection from their car park premises.
Grasping e-commerce for your business, or even the emerging social commerce niche, is absolutely vital to sustain any sales during the COVID19 pandemic. Even today as the emergence of open air markets are starting to open, the amount of customers getting back to ‘normal’ life is non-existent with the simple example of one market stall selling just one pair of socks all morning.
The worst example I’ve seen of how not to provide an online shopping cart for your customers despite having an existing web presence has been Primark.
In the space of a month, they went from £650m/month to ZERO. What is bizarre, is that Primark have all their products on their website for sale, but no checkout.
The business decision for no checkout, which I can only assume is to ensure customer foot fall at all their stores, has been a very costly decision since the pandemic for them.
At Cosmik Carrot HQ it has been business as normal as we operate from home, and something that we’ve done since day one of business, and for over 12 years now.
If the fast pace of changes during the COVID-19 were already sweeping in many sectors, then Facebook just accelerated that with its new Facebook Shops announcement. See – Facebook Shops.
This new change will allow e-commerce stores to now sell directly through Facebook and Instagram. You will also be able to advertise through all of its platforms like, Messenger, Marketplace, & WhatsApp, etc. Using social media apps for electronic commerce is now defined by Facebook as “Social Commerce”
For those clients using the likes of WooCommerce, you’ll be able to link up directly into your new Facebook Shop and sell your products or services. This is going to be a great extension of your online store to add to any business growth strategy.
This will be great for ensuring the product and stock level remains consistent and leads back to the main store on your website to control sales orders.
Online retailing of buying and selling any goods and services is going to increase as individuals want to avoid testing positive or adding to the coronavirus deaths.
High street decline
The UK high street has been in decline for many years, and the COVID-19 pandemic might be like petrol on a fire to accelerate that decline. I see this occurring due to the amount of social distancing required, and the lengthy timespan for a possible vaccine to be developed.
Businesses can combat this decline with a move to an online format to accept payment for items, followed by either collection or delivery.
Restaurants and Pubs
It is still unclear as to when any restaurants can fully open. There have been certain fast food services offering delivery services during the lockdown. As well as particular independent pubs offering collection from an online menu.
For all food restaurants and pub chains, the concept of disposable menu’s has been muted. Personally I think this is going to be such an environmental waste in the long-term.
As a society we need to embrace behavioural change when required to do so, combined with new technology. This is why I think contactless solutions is going to be a key innovative area for most businesses.
An example where you can adopt a new contactless solution for your food service business is a QR Code to Food Menu. By having a new permanent QR code on restaurant tables, users can scan the code with their smart phone. Once the QR code is recognised, the customer can then go through the interactive menu in their phone and place an order including payment.
For more information, check out our Conversational Marketing with further details.
Stay safe and well!