Covid-19 continues to spread rapidly worldwide. Each country is dealing with the pandemic at various stages with some reporting a drop in confirmed cases and are debating to the correct approach to reopening their economies. While others are at the peak of the infection which is taking a toll on healthcare workers and other front-liners.
Nations are not only burdened by surge of capacity on their healthcare systems but there are harsh economic implications that is the domino effect of the virus. Entire industries have come to a screeching halt as their employees are in lock-down. Although companies have shifted to remote working, others just cannot operate virtually which has led to a rise of unemployment rates.
Safe practices such as social distancing and travel bans put in place to mitigate the spread of the disease. However, the implication of this on business is damaging to say the least. Consumer behaviour has also changed with how we go about our daily lives and make our purchases. The silver lining for businesses is that of fast growing industries that are not exactly new to us, but have become essential while citizens are lock-down and they are definitely here to stay.
Many are unable to shop in physical stores and ordering items online is the perfect way to still purchase necessities. Smaller players have also entered the game, with local stores offering delivery options for products. Though its not all rosy as supply chains and stock levels could be affected due to lock-downs in various countries, particularly if you outsource manufacturing abroad or import products. Adapting to current situation, companies have been collaborating with local suppliers to ensure that customer demand is met. Some stores have begun stocking new items and featuring collections of existing products that are more relevant to many people’s day-to-day lives now — specifically, staying at home. With the influx of online sales, e-commerce sites are set to deliver.
It's still business as usual for courier services and they’ve carried out the necessary safety measures like temperature checks on all drivers as well as briefing their drivers and riders on hygiene after contact with customers. As more people are purchasing items online, there is a growing need for fast and reliable delivery services. Consumers also have the choice to pick door-to-door delivery if they were to send items to each other while being in the comfort of their homes. Most services offer an express, same-day delivery service with affordable rates.
As the outbreak has completely eliminated dine-in options for restaurants, people are now relying on food delivery apps as they stay home. Food delivery apps are focusing on meeting the demands of consumers that want some variety for their meals. There has also been an increase in hiring as companies scramble to find more delivery drivers and other staff. Although, the unavailability of some items and a long wait time can be a pain in the neck for some consumers. But on a positive note, the small players have also entered the game. With some grocery stores, butchers and fishmongers opting to hire their own drivers. For the home cooks, this has given them options to purchase fresh goods online instead of going to the store.
Most companies are required to allow employees to work from home to curb the disease and ensure employees are practicing physical distancing. A plethora of tools are at our disposal whether its free options like WhatsApp, Skype and Notion or paid tools like Slack or Zoom that helps ease communication barriers for work to be done systematically. But as more people feel increasingly isolated in their homes, social apps like Houseparty have gained popularity in recent times. Houseparty has been installed by over 35 million users via App Store and Google Play, to use the app itself is free but there are in-app purchases for certain games. We will continue see a rise in new apps as more people are connected online.
It is certain that the coronavirus pandemic has activated a new wave of commerce innovation. As these businesses continue to thrive in this current times, it begs the question: how will the pandemic affect consumer behaviour in the long run? This impact requires companies to move at an unprecedented speed and that means re-evaluating how contact centers are leveraged, how their employees deliver customer experiences, where they work, and how digital channels can be used to support the increase in contact center volume. New business models will emerge, and this environment will create adaptive businesses with more variable costs and with better risk management.