The World Health Organization has declared the coronavirus, or COVID-19, a pandemic. It’s an uncertain time with no clear direction. Being a new disease scientists are still trying to figure out the true scope of the pandemic and how to cope with it.
According to Google, “since the first week of February, search interest in coronavirus increased by +260% globally.” While spikes in search trends are common during events of this scale, there have also been surges in traffic for related products and topics as a direct response to the pandemic.
1. Fluctuation in Demand of Products.
In the business space, we have seen fluctuations in demand. Lockdown restrictions, albeit mild compared to other countries, has seen some products have huge surges in demand. These include: personal protective gear, groceries, E-Learning and E-Commerce. Others however have been either forced to pivot or close down their operations altogether . Event organising, entertainment and residential real estate have taken a hit with covid-19 eating into people’s income.
2. Reduced Foot Traffic
One of the recommended prevention protocols for stop of the spread of Covid-19 is to stay at home. The Government has also asked employers to let their employees work from home. This has led to reduced foot traffic to places of businesses including Malls and Office Blocks. Businesses are however taking advantage of this by reaching their customers online through their Websites and Social Media. Retailers are selling more online and reaching their customers from the comfort of their home.
3. Change of Business Strategy
The business environment is changing at a pace that has not been witnessed since the great depression. A good example of this is the situation in Kiambu where bar owners are staring at a possible close down after the Governor, H.E James Nyoro, ordered they shut down due to a surge in Covid-19 cases. Similar scenarios are playing out in one way or another in every industry. A great way of coming out on top of all this is with a robust online presence that is able to service customer needs without the need of a retail location.
4. Birth of New Industries
If I offered to sell you a face mask as early as February 2020 you would have summarily dismissed me as crazy. Today, you can be arrested if seen without a face mask, never-mind the bewildered glances from everyone around. Everyone is now selling face masks, sanitizers etc. Businesses that were traditionally retail eg schools have been forced to take up E-Learning as it is not feasible to have classroom classes.
5. Democratization of Service Delivery
Online trading has democratized the business space. Your customer now has the power to get services from countless other suppliers. If you own a school for example, there are numerous service providers offering E-Learning to Your students as you lament about the tough times. Restaurants have been forced to compete with average home-cooks who are eating away at their market share online. This necessitates a change in strategy from the old to the new normal. I wouldn’t want to be pessimistic but something tells me that we are with this thing for a better part of next year as well. Take action now, build your online brand and sail above the storm.