If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that we’re pretty good at pivoting. The pandemic sent us all indoors, but somehow we still managed to order meals, get work done and conduct all sorts of business.
We’ve heard about businesses making a “digital transformation” for years now, but this new normal really forced the issue. For some brick-and-mortar businesses, going digital or online seemed like an impossible way to do the job.
However, others embraced technology and created a whole new reality for themselves and their customers. (Guess who’s winning now?)
The Change Was Coming
Some of the infrastructure was already in place — take Zoom, for example. This isn’t a tool just for office workers. Tutors, art teachers, musicians, yoga studios and dance instructors quickly figured out that their once in-person-only classes could be conducted online.
With a little trial-and-error, (and help from Square and PayPal) they’ve created a whole new way of interacting with — and keeping — their customers.
In efforts to stay safe, customers also quickly adapted to other new realities, like contactless meal delivery and remote payments. Thanks, technology gurus!
There’s Just One Caveat …
Now that customers have had a taste of this online/digital existence, they may never want to go back! That’s where a hybrid mindset comes in.
While this change came fast and furious, it’s not a new concept. In fact, VISA surveyed consumers in 2018 and asked about the preferences that motivated their decisions, and they were already there:
- 91% of consumers prefer stores that offered both in-store and online shopping
- 89% prefer stores that respond quickly to inquiries
- 93% prefer restaurants with online menus
- 78% prefer a service business with online appointment scheduling
Now, Fast-forward to Post-COVID Days
Some of your customers can’t wait to grace your doorway once again, yet many others will keep their distance. Do you have a long-range, sustainable online plan for your business?
Those businesses that have already adopted an online/digitized process are the ones with a major head start because they have put in place things that allow them to:
- Get paid faster with contactless services, deliveries and payments
- Stay organized with online scheduling that’s available 24/7
- Generate more positive reviews with real-time responsiveness to requests or complaints
- Reach more customers with constant communication through automated marketing and social media
- Utilize upgraded communication tools that allow them to meet customers where they are (think: texting and email)
These capabilities allow businesses to create a strong online and social presence. Plus, with constantly updated business listings, they come out on top when consumers are searching for the nearest plumber … or florist … or pharmacy.
Are you getting into that hybrid state of mind? Stay tuned for our next post. We’ll discuss how to get it done!