How Covid-19 and Circuit Breaker Have Changed The Flow of Economy
In one of the worst pandemics to plague the economy, Covid-19 and circuit breaker measures have taken a tough toll on businesses, revealing a huge decline in customer spending and patronage, as well as manpower operations. Just this Tuesday, PM Lee announced the extension of CB to June 1 2020.
Instead of dining at restaurants or shopping at marketplaces, consumer patterns are rapidly taking a sharp turn towards digital consumption. Food delivery apps and eCommerce websites are seeing spikes in traffic. With the current trend of consumer activities, it’s not only the F&B industry and retailers that are experiencing change.
The main point here is, as we undergo the circuit breaker, your customers will shun public places and avoid any physical contact with your business. Non-essential brick-and-mortar businesses depending on customer touchpoints, such as theatres, hair salons and event management will not survive without revamping themselves.
But this will make us grow. In a way, the novel coronavirus has become a driving force for businesses to overhaul themselves and join an upward digital demand curve that has already been there for a long time.
No matter what the climate, the right growth strategies will propel the economy forward.
Grow Beyond Covid-19 And Circuit Breaker, Reach Your Customers
The surge in solutions to bypass physical contact, such as office meetings and points of sale that might otherwise be done in person, stems from the need for ‘contactless’ environments.
With these solutions, the most important concern is addressed – cutting off the risks of Covid-19 for staff and customers – freeing up opportunities to safely reach your customers.
As business owners, changing tides are our new reality, which will more than likely leave lingering effects for years to come. Every service and product needs to be designed as an essential need that customers can access remotely.
Specifically, there are certain strategies we can learn from different markets which have thrived together in a new ecosystem born from the Covid-19 crisis, ensuring business sustainability without slowing down.
Groceries, ranging from perishable consumables to necessities with a long shelf life, have obviously flown off the shelves from panic buying. More people have started shopping online as a result. As compared to other eCommerce, groceries eCommerce peaked by as much as 150%.
Whether you’re selling day-to-day consumption of food or preserved supplies over a prolonged period of isolation, this is an avenue where more stores, not just major ones like FairPrice, can create online platforms with the guarantee of sales.
Takeaway for businesses:
Build online platforms for your customers to engage you. With a bulk of consumers redirected to online stores, your traffic will be highly concentrated there. Therefore, it makes sense that you may even need to channel resources and additional manpower to manage the boom in online demand. Not sure where to start? Talk to us here!
Amazon is a prime example of this, having made available 100,000 positions within its fulfillment centres and delivery infrastructure. Papa John announced that it would increase working capacity by 20,000 employees with the surge in online demands. It will also provide contactless delivery as well as tracking functions via Papa Track.
Healthcare and Sanitation
While masks and sanitisers have taken the brunt of the public’s fears and anxieties, hygiene products have seen sharp increases in sales by up to an exceptional 300%. This includes self-care supplies such as thermometers, toilet paper, toothbrushes, detergent, medicines, medical test kits.
Convenient stores that are licensed distributors of these supplies can bring attention to their eCommerce platforms which will be assured of a steady flow of traffic.
Takeaway for businesses:
It’s important to understand how your business can contribute to the provision of healthcare and self-care supplies, even if you’re not in the industry. In doing so, you stand out from your competitors in terms of both corporate social responsibility and you secure a stable source of returns.
Let’s look at Armani, a luxury fashion brand with no relation to the healthcare sector. They have recently dedicated their manufacturing facilities in Italy to produce medical overalls in light of the deteriorating Covid-19 situation. Bacardi, a spirits company, has adapted its resources across the world to create hand sanitisers.
Food And Beverages
Much like the above two markets, consumers are turning to eCommerce platforms to have their food delivered to them. The average monthly sales in online food and beverage orders for over 3,000 merchants has been consistently increasing by over 15% since news of the novel coronavirus came about.
To help lesser known food stalls and outlets tap into online delivery models, Enterprise Singapore is offering a scheme to reduce costs of technology adoption. Due to the jump in delivery orders, many restaurants are also hiring more manpower to keep up with the demand.
Takeaway for businesses:
An economic downturn doesn’t mean business has to follow suit. There will always be customers; you just have to know where to find them. By pre-empting your markets and customers, you can turn this into an opportunity to grow your business in ways that would not have had such a large outreach before.
The Singapore government has been efficient in handing out helpful schemes, funds and grants to support businesses in adopting technology into their network of operations. These key government assistance schemes can help digitalise your business and even award you with a payoff for upgrading skill sets.
Seeing Covid-19 and Circuit Breaker As Catalysts For Growth
Covid-19 has even become a leverage point for businesses to differentiate themselves in a stalling economy. As the world evolves, consumer preferences evolve, and so too must your business. Evolution is also a way of breaking past limits and growing new attributes to survive in harsh economic climates.
As these markets and sectors have shown us, technology adoption and investment in the right manpower have become the vehicles for businesses to move forward, refresh KPIs, and restructure their touchpoints.
Adaptability as a core principle of long-standing business success is weighing on us more heavily by the second. In the face of hardships, can we only grow ever more resilient against unforeseen impacts and emerge as the lifeblood of a renewed economy.
Turn Covid-19 into an opportunity to grow. Get insights on more strategies to take advantage of Covid-19 for your business in Part 2 of this article, coming soon! For more on consumer activities, check out our Covid-19 survival guide here.
Have your own leadership insights or want to ask us how we’re applying these concepts to our business? Comment below!