Change is a motivator for innovation, becoming an omnipresent theme for the global marketplace as social distancing, working from home, and e-commerce have revolutionized the economy. Crucial changes are needed to keep companies operating, people employed, and consumers contributing to the economy.
The New Digital Economy
Enterprises around the world are making significant investments into their digital-strategy frameworks as they seek a competitive edge, subsequently increasing user optionality and shifting consumer expectations.
And as the digital economy continues to evolve and reinvent itself, there has been a profound change in the strategic context of what it means to grow effectively and perform successfully, and traditional businesses preparing for a digital future must focus beyond simply how they market and distribute their products and services during and after Coronavirus. From enacting new strategies to instill loyalty in existing and new consumers, surviving a post-pandemic marketplace takes ingenuity, and flexibility.
Digitizing Avenues of Innovation
Physically distancing from products or services poses an innate challenge to business owners dependent on tangible connection and engagement with consumers. Business must now not only adjust but commit to digital marketplace solutions. Switching to a “digital-first perspective” within your consumer’s journey, experience, and loyalty provides flexibility within the current and future economy.
Evaluate what is meaningful to your business.
First step is to evaluate what you already have and already offer to your consumer. Rather than relying solely on the playbook of your business’s past successes from the last ten years, determining what aspects of your business model are amenable to the further digitization of the marketplace will set you up for current and future gains.
The examples within telemedicine are indicative of these changes to the consumer journey. The American Medical Association is utilizing remote medicine to connect patients with chronic illnesses to their healthcare providers without having to step foot in the office. Their Digital Heath Implementation Playbook outlines for patients a step-by-step approach to the new digital solutions such as virtual check-ins and messaging, remote patient-monitoring of blood pressure and other biometrics, and real-time audio-visual communication. From beginning to end, when consumers better understand their digital journey with you, the more amenable they are to converting to a total digital consumer experience.
Make strategic bets where you can impact experience.
A departure from traditional business practices means evaluating where your organization can have the most impact. Where can your business leveraging digital technology to heighten and broaden the consumer experience? In a period of social distancing, leveraging digital technology will heighten and broaden the consumer experience.
As fast-casual, fine dining, and hospitality-focused industries feel the direct impact of stay-at-home protocols, restaurants like Nick Kokonas’s, Alinea, are adopting digital strategies to supplement losses from lack of in-person revenue. Kokonas, also the founder and CEO of the Tock reservation system, modified the technology to operate as a takeout ordering system, now adopted by hundreds of restaurants across the country. The strategy of adapting digitally to the new demand of his business allowed Kokonas to bring back furloughed employees as orders increased, driving growth in a capital efficient way. Leveraging tech to fit a new business model demonstrates how successful business metrics aren’t measured by circumstance, but rather by creative problem-solving and statistical proof.
Other industries, such as travel, have also been faced with economic upheaval as consumers cancel and refund their flights and hotel reservations. Airbnb’s calculated move towards virtual experiences back in 2016 opened a new channel for consumers looking to explore and travel that is paying off amidst the recent despite the restrictive circumstances. Airbnb’s Experiences platform hosts thousands of events and experiences users can engage with from afar; including Japanese meditation, cooking classes in Morocco, and even dog-lead tours of Chernobyl in the Ukraine. Stating its dedication to human connection on a global scale, Airbnb has redefined what its consumers can experience with their services. A decisive pivot to digital consumer engagement allows for proactive, rather than reactive business strategies. These aggressive moves into an all-digital landscape allow business to take control of their economic narrative and formulate how to reprioritize or create new, profitable metrics.
Know your metrics, know your consumers.
Getting ahead of the digital economic curve relies on a fundamental understanding of your business’s metrics and consumer’s relationship to those metrics. In other words, how your consumers influence your current metrics will be a key indicator of how far you need to move the needle in the future. Identify your current core users and invest your resources by those existing relationships.
As state-wide closures bound many employees to home work spaces, the office fruit and snack delivery service, The FruitGuys, adjusted its business model to promote remote staff home delivery, better servicing their core clientele. Home delivery became the new B2B. By appealing to existing consumers, The FruitGuys invests in their core users to maximize profits and discerns the appropriate resources distributed between existing and new consumers. One thing is clear: as you chart your path forward, a steady eye on consumer-driven insights is paramount. Engaging with your core users and measuring your successful relationships, you can better find speed to value when it comes to the return on your investment.
Innovation will be a key indicator in a business’s resiliency towards an ever-changing and uncertain marketplace. Companies utilizing consumer-driven insights and foresight in their navigation of a current and post-pandemic economy will emerge healthier and more flexible and in touch with their consumers' oscillating needs.