In a matter of weeks, coronavirus has changed the world of work. As businesses prioritize the safety of their communities, many in-person events and gatherings have been cancelled. This leaves people looking for ways to stay connected. We’ve heard from a lot of you as you are considering virtual alternatives.
We also know it’s important now for you to be able to create new virtual experiences to engage with your customers.
As the virus forces us indoors, we should be thinking of ways to invest in our digital spaces, and build robust virtual connections that can replace some of the physical proximity we’re losing, as well as mobilizing to support our real-world communities in a time of enormous need.
We can use technology to meet this crisis, rather than just distracting ourselves from it.
Over the coming weeks and months, few aspects of business won’t be affected to some degree by the coronavirus.
But how deep will its impact go?
Below, we break down how all those groups have been impacted, how they’re responding, and what to look out for in the coming weeks:
1. Business owners
Impact: The coronavirus is scattering workforces, straining supply chains, and diminishing demand, making it more expensive for businesses to operate and harder to sell their products.
Response: Businesses are telling their employees to work from home (if they can), adjusting their forecasts downward, and developing contingency plans to continue operating.
Businesses will develop new ways to sell… or fail. The success of these strategies — revamped online sales funnels, virtual experiences — will determine which companies survive and which don’t. Airlines, for example, are particularly vulnerable: A British airline called Flybe has already gone out of business.
Impact: The coronavirus is making it more dangerous to commute to work on public transportation and more dangerous to work in crowded places.
Response: Employees with flexible employers are working from home and trying their best to stay productive. Employees with less flexible employers — or jobs that can’t be done remotely — are attempting to stay healthy at work and demanding protections from their employers.
Impact: The coronavirus is discouraging consumers going out to buy non-essential items.
Response: A slowdown in non-essential spending has already begun, and economists estimate spending on food services, arts and accommodations will drop 80% and spending on public transportation will drop 67% if the pandemic continues. At the same time, however, consumers have increased spending on certain products (like surgical masks and other hygiene products) which has led to price gouging.
Aerial photos show that some of the world’s most popular travel destinations are nearly empty of tourists.
Desperate cruise companies and airlines are waiving change fees and offering steep discounts to attract customers.
America’s 3 major stock indexes had their worst day since 1987 yesterday.
Oil prices had their worst day since 1991 earlier this week.
Online conferencing is set to boom.
Virtual reality is about to surge. Businesses that normally require in-person visits — museums, conferences, concerts, sports games — are losing revenue, which will likely inspire investment in virtual alternatives.
E-commerce certainly may not be right for everyone, or it may not even be the right time for you, but it’s important to consider an e-commerce-based strategy if you have a retail operation or even an idea you want to put into action over the next months.