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Digital Transformation In The Time of COVID-19

Colony Group Senior Account Manager Luisa Wilhelmi shares her thoughts on how the COVID-19 crisis is leading organisations further into digital transformation and ideas on how to establish a strong online identity.

A global pandemic is now the reason many companies worldwide rethink their digital transformation strategies and are starting to realise the immense importance of an established online presence. As much as COVID-19 has brought incredible hardship to economies worldwide, some businesses are adapting and booming.

For example, Amazon’s e-commerce demand is exploding, with the technology giant employing a further 100,000 staff to assist with fulfilment centres and delivery network demand. Nike is waiving its monthly online subscription fee, offering workouts, training and nutrition tips at no cost during COVID-19.

But it’s not just the giants of industry that are seeing record sales – even small-to-medium-sized businesses are continuing to see an increase in revenue. And not just the obvious ones like toiletpaper.com.au or gym equipment sellers.

Like many other restaurants around Australia, Cairns restaurant and locals’ favourite, Hopscotch introduced online ordering and curbside pickup, utilising the full power of social media to promote their new service. By actively engaging in local Facebook groups and Instagram, the newly opened restaurant sees record numbers in takeaway orders as well as increased awareness on their social media platforms. Another success story is the California fitness studio McAlister Training who has made all of its classes virtual and even expanded their market by offering courses for kids who are stuck at home with energy to burn.

So, what do all these businesses all have in common?

They know that now is the time to take a second look at how they are positioning themselves in the market and how their current operations and even business models can be improved or changed during these times of uncertainty. Adaptability is the new competitive advantage. They also know that being established within the digital space is now more valuable than ever.

What are some things you can do today?

There are several actions you can take right now to dive deeper into the digital transformation with your business:

1. Build a good online presence
While your business doors might be shut, you don’t have to stop your hustle. Take the time now to establish and build your online presence, for your business as well as your personal brand. Find the right social media platforms that work best for you and your customers to stay engaged. Don’t forget to explore the power of LinkedIn and Google Reviews!

2. Start a blog
It is now an excellent time to update and improve your website and post actively on social media accounts. Have you thought about starting a blog as part of your online presence? Now. Is. The. Time! People across the globe (including your customers) are online more than ever right now. Utilise this for your business, meet them online and engage.

3. Expand your market online
Find creative ways to expand your market or even partner with other businesses in your area. Running a giveaway promo with other local businesses is a good option. People want to support local businesses during this time, so give them a reason to!

4. Don’t be afraid to ask!
No one knows what your customers want better than your customers. Create polls on your Instagram, post in Facebook groups, ask for feedback via email or website – there are numerous ways to ask for feedback online, and it will not just help you to engage with customers but also help you to think about new opportunities for when business doors open again.

And if all this wasn’t enough to motivate you to establish a strong online presence, remember that we will come out of this pandemic to an entirely new world. Things will never be the same again.

Wrike founder Andrew Filev stated that previously slow-moving trends now will most definitely shape the future for the long haul.

One of these trends is telecommuting. A survey found that 49% of workers had never worked from home before the COVID-19 crisis, which is now proving to be a challenge for companies that haven’t invested in telecommuting. “Those who have already build a culture around virtual collaboration are now well-positioned to execute and keep employees engaged and productive,” says Andrew Filev.

The on-demand food and services industry is another economy that is now booming. As Filev stated, we may see new adoption of drive-up or on-demand local delivery of essential goods as a result. Consumers are becoming more and more demanding and we are already living in an on-demand economy. Some businesses might even find this model is lower cost, helps manage inventory, and makes revenue more predictable.

The events industry, along with the travel and hospitality industry is another sector that saw the immediate repercussion of the crisis. With concerts, global conferences, trade shows as well as sporting events – including the Olympics – cancelled, many organisers are turning to the new avenue of virtual events. Whether this format sticks is not yet known, but it may become a new standard for experiences as organisers have the opportunity to be more flexible in content formats.

The current situation is unknown territory for us all. It is stressful for employers and employees alike and proven to be difficult for many businesses across the globe. Fact is, we should all be ready for our normal to look very different from what we are used to before this public health crisis began.

The digital transformation is evolving rapidly and if you don’t want to be left behind, now is the time to jump on board. Colony Group can help you through the process, no matter what stage of the digital transformation you are.

To find out more about the Colony Group Limited process and how we can help, visit colonygroupltd.com/strategic-advisory

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