It is true that the federal government’s restrictions on companies were relaxed on April 15, so, for example, shops with a sales area of up to 800 m² are allowed to reopen under certain conditions. Many other decisions, such as banning major events or services where physical proximity is essential, will remain with us for a while. We can therefore assume that “physical distancing” changes our behavior permanently.
More and more people avoid contact with others and withdraw because they are afraid of infecting themselves or other people. Others spend more time in their own four walls because their own business is idle or because they are on short-time work. The more people withdraw into the physical world,
Awareness Of Digital Technology Is Increasing
It is above all the digital possibilities that keep our economic and social life going in the Corona period and that are gaining in importance. Here a small virus has done what management was unable to do in many places: Corona acts like a digitization accelerator. Companies use digital tools such as WhatsApp or video chat, and where possible, marketplaces or online shops so as not to lose their customers.
Work is done in the home office, provided that the employees are equipped with VPN computers and have stable internet. People learn to appreciate the advantages of digital living and working and the exceptional situation becomes normal. Nine out of ten companies now recommend working from home, and two thirds of them even order it. The previous motto “We want someone who sits here in the office” seems obsolete.
What had been fraught with concerns in management for years is now becoming a reality: remote working or flexible working is establishing itself as the standard. According to the online platform t3n, there is currently a broad awareness of the advantages of digital technology.
Missing Digitization Strategy
However, the low level of digital maturity is the undoing of many companies. Corona uncovers the weaknesses of those who have so far refused the digital transformation: Dusty websites, lack of social media communication and no online sales opportunity.
Remain Visible During The Corona Period
The company’s website is the most important sales employee in the Corona era, the company’s figurehead and the central point of contact for interested parties, customers and partners. As the linchpin of numerous processes, it is used to communicate, buy, subscribe and be amazed. Websites have long been more than just “another channel”. In short: the website is now more than ever at the heart of your digital strategy.
But the best website is of little use if it is not found. Make sure that you remain visible during the Corona period! There are many platforms and options for this, above all the Google search service, closely followed by the video platform YouTube and the social web. The former still smuggles the majority of visitors to websites.
The quality and quantity of your content scales the ranking in the Google hit list. On the one hand, this gives your website a weighting in terms of content, which pleases the visitor who wants to find out more about its topics, but also Google, which soaks up data like a dry sponge. On the other hand, you get natural backlinks that are links from other websites to your site.
But in times of “content shock”, a lot of content is just a drop in the ocean. It is therefore important to differentiate yourself: rely on quality and do not limit yourself to texts, but keep up with the times and offer your topics in imagery and in videos.
Set Scent Brands Beyond Google
In addition to Google, there are a number of other search services that gain in importance depending on the product, service or target group. One platform for “visual discovery” is Pinterest. Many know the platform as a social media service, but strictly speaking it is a user-generated search engine that can be used to save content.
The predominantly young and female users search for topics instead of individual keywords and collect the content they find on appropriate “pinboards”. the platform has six to seven million active users, so it offers companies enormous potential for setting their scent brands.
The super department store Amazon is the first address when looking for products. The many reviews are useful for the customer in his research, which give him security in making a purchase decision, as well as the ingenious cross-selling mechanisms such as “Compare with similar products” or “Customers who bought this item also bought”. Next to Google’s search service, YouTube is the second largest search engine and the most visited site after Google.
77 percent of Internet users watch videos on YouTube every month, for entertainment, to learn something or for inspiration. For example, over 17 million people watched the “Destruction of the CDU”. A nearly one-hour, well-made video by YouTuber Rezo, who apparently hit a nerve with it. This case showed impressively how digital change is changing our world. Brands and opinions are formed online these days.
TV, print and radio are yesterday’s zombies at least for Generation Z, the users born after 1995. They use platforms such as YouTube, Instagram and Twitter, through which stories are transported faster, more widely, but also more uncontrollably than via traditional media. Here companies have the chance to become visible with their stories, topics or products and to tap into new target groups.
This list of alternative search services can be continued indefinitely: If a suitable doctor is needed, the jameda service comes first. Employees can be found on XING and LinkedIn, on MyHammer craft services and on review platforms such as Check24, Trustpilot or Yelp Products, Shops or Finance. Despite all these offers, Google is still the top dog among search services and this is where companies should start in order to develop better digital visibility.
Entry Into E-commerce
For many people, secure, contactless shopping on the Internet is another personal protective measure against the coronavirus. Due to short-time working, quarantine and other precautionary measures, there is also plenty of time to shop in the vastness of the digital world without limits. It is foreseeable that e-commerce will benefit from the Corona crisis in the long term. Here the virus also acts as a digitization accelerator. Those people who are now forced to shop online will not want to give up the benefits and conveniences after the Corona period.
However, it is also true that, according to the Federal Association of E-Commerce and Mail Order (bevh), e-commerce collapsed by almost 20 percent in March 2020 compared to the same period in the previous year. The consumer sentiment, clouded by the crisis, does not stop at the digital shop counter. Services relating to bookings for travel, events or flight tickets were particularly hard hit. According to bevh, they fell by more than 75 percent in sales in March compared to the same period of the previous year. Still, now may be the right time to move business to online sales or even start a whole new business in e-commerce to attract new customer groups
Marketplace Or Your Own Online Shop?
There are basically two options for getting started in digital trade, which are not mutually exclusive: Participation in an online marketplace and / or your own online shop. In my opinion, having their own shop is not a realistic option for the vast majority of small retailers. Your own shop offers significantly more options than a marketplace, but it is also associated with high investments, especially if the launch is to be carried out quickly.
In addition, there are around 500,000 shops in e-commerce – the majority of them small garage shops. Many of these shops, which hardly differ from one another, will not survive the surplus of supply on the Internet in the next few years. The pressure of comparability, prices, availability and delivery speed is too great.
Marketplaces, on the other hand, continue to gain in importance and account for the lion’s share of sales in e-commerce: 70 percent alone are generated by Amazon. Super department stores like this one offer the technological prerequisites so that the customer can search and shop comfortably.
Basically, a similar development is taking place in e-commerce as in stationary trade: increasing concentration on shopping streets and shopping malls. Marketplaces are the fastest way to start selling online, offer more legal security and simple fulfillment processes. This makes them an interesting option, especially for small traders in the Corona period.
Take advantage of opportunities now!
Regardless of which path you choose, take the opportunity to advance your digitization strategy now. Free yourself from the attitude “we have always done it this way” and check your digital options: From home office for your team, through digital communication and sales channels, to the digitization of other stages of the value chain and processes. Digitization is now the new standard!
Also Read: E-commerce In Times Of Corona