It's no secret that 2020 was a rough year for so many of us. But, now 2021 is here and..well, so far things are much the same as they were last year. We're still being bombarded with bad news whenever we turn on the TV or head online.
For businesses, however, digital tools are certainly helping to ease the strain and carry us through. Business owners are finding these tools increasingly invaluable as they seek not just to weather the storm, but to keep on pushing the boundaries of what is possible and come out the other side stronger.
So, how is this possible? How are digitised solutions and platforms achieving this for businesses? Let's take a look.
If these difficult times have taught us anything, it's to not put all of our eggs in one basket. The companies that have handled market changes most effectively are the ones with diverse revenue streams and a range of different buyer personas. Digital platforms are helping to make this possible.
Businesses can deploy digital platforms and analytics tools to learn more about their current customers and about the ones they have not yet reached. They can identify trends in the market and consider how these trends can integrate with their own operations. This results in more reliable revenue and a business that is better positioned to deal with market downturns.
Customers are behaving differently -- very differently. For example, e-commerce has surged during COVID-19, and customers are more likely to make high-value bulk orders at a single time, rather than spreading these purchases out over numerous visits. Issues of sustainability have also become more important to consumers, and customers are spending more with businesses in their local area.
Other influences include increased unemployment and a higher focus on remote learning and education, as individuals work to upskill as they themselves try to improve their situation during COVID and beyond.
Adapting to these new models of behaviour has nothing to do with simply guesswork. Instead, businesses need to draw upon data from their digital channels. Which products are performing well? How can you capitalise on this? What is engaging your customers on social media? Digital tools aggregate this data to provide serious insight.
A business' brand is a property like any other, and it deserves to be protected. Unfortunately, counterfeit goods numbers have grown significantly during the COVID-19 period, highlighting just how low some people will stoop in order to take advantage of a crisis. These counterfeit goods put everyone at risk -- damaging brands, exposing consumers to harm, and funding other criminal activities that erode our society.
In fact, customers don't want to buy counterfeit products. They want to connect with the brands they know and trust. Digital tools like engage™ support this. Businesses simply register their products with the app, and customers then use the scanner function of their smartphones to immediately assess whether the product is legitimate or not.
Life is hard enough at the moment without counterfeiters further destroying public trust and business profit margins. This is a crucial tool that helps to address this issue.
Remote work has been one of the biggest areas of growth during the COVID-19 pandemic. The number of people working remotely 5+ days a week grew from 17% at the beginning of 2020 to 44% by the end of the year, while the number of people who said they never worked remotely fell from 47% to 34% over the same period.
This revolutionary shift in business structure looks likely to stick around, even as we -- hopefully -- move beyond the COVID era in the not too distant future. Businesses are certainly reaping the rewards from this new way of working, but it has come with its fair share of headaches. How do you make sure that your teams are staying on track? How do you reduce miscommunication between teams and the resulting inefficiencies? How do you keep on providing "in-house" levels of support, or even exceed these?
Digital tools are the answer. There are so many different digital tools and platforms aimed at supporting businesses as they get the best out of their remote teams. These include time tracking apps that help to keep employees on track, video conferencing platforms and instant messaging tools that achieve communication in real time, collaborative working software that unifies the efforts of disparate teams, and rewards channels that recognise the results that remote teams are doing
One of the defining characteristics of the digital age is choice. Today's consumer now has access to everything they need, right at their fingertips. If they want to change a service provider or a product vendor, they don't have to hop on a bus and head to the next town. They don't even need to walk down the street. They just type what they need into Google and away they go.
This makes engagement crucial. Businesses need to foster brand loyalty and long-term relationships in an age seemingly dedicated to destroying this. A successful business is a business that can lock in that all-important interest and attract new customers while keeping hold of existing ones.
Knowledge is vital here -- knowledge of who customers are, what they need, and how this can be provided to them. In this sense, the content that a business posts online is as important as the products they sell, and the support that companies offer to their customers becomes just as crucial as the services they provide.
Business owners are increasingly turning to digital assets to achieve this knowledge and act upon it. Platforms such as engage™ help businesses get a better idea of customer motivations, pain points, and desires. They then feed this information into the research and development of new products and services, as well as new marketing strategies and support offerings to engage their customers on an even more meaningful level.
As we've seen, digital tools are not just about helping businesses to survive. They are about giving organisations the capability they need to thrive and come back stronger after these tough times.
This is part of the ethos behind the engage™ solution. To find out more about how you can engage with your consumers, protect your brand, and provide a unique experience to your audience, reach out to our team today and get a free demo.