Covid-19 has impacted nearly every industry, business and individual. It has forced large and small organizations alike to question how their businesses survive. And if we survive, what is the long-term impact? We’ve seen some organizations shift and adapt, meeting the moment, transforming their business and even thriving in this challenging year.
How did they do it?
Much of this transformation has been expedited and enabled by technology. Curbside pickup. Contactless delivery. These services that were rare outliers in retail one year ago are now mainstream, all made possible by technology. Online shopping was a growing trend, until suddenly it was the only way to shop.
Digital Transformation is Accelerating
In 2020, many brands were already working on some form of digital transformation, and Covid-19 has only accelerated those plans, and reinforced the importance of digital for the future. IBM estimates the online shopping behaviors were accelerated five years because of the pandemic. Retailers with a good e-commerce experience like Amazon, Wal-mart, and Instacart thrived. Others rushed to stand up some form of e-commerce–GoDaddy reported a 48% increase in customers using ecommerce products this year. And while there’s finally an end to the pandemic in sight, it’s clear that digital transformation is here to stay. The traditional brick-and-mortar retailer HomeGoods has announced it will open an ecommerce store to stay relevant and competitive going forward, but how will it stay true to the ‘joy of the find’ that’s central to its brand? We can’t wait to see.
What’s the impact of rapid transformation on brands?
Transformation has opened up new opportunities for businesses. It has allowed them to engage with their customers in completely new ways; as well as attract customers that may not have previously been within their target segment or market. An art museum gift shop isn’t just for people exiting the museum, now it can reach people researching art around the world. You don’t need a makeup counter to sell millions of tubes of mascara, you just need an instagram account. When we think about this kind of change we need to consider how this reflects and lifts the brand. There is a unique opportunity for businesses to ride this wave of change to drive a transformation of their brand experience. But if brand impact is not carefully considered, there’s a risk of falling into a sea of sameness as offerings and experiences become standardized.