To say that what we’ve experienced this spring is ‘unprecedented’ is already fast becoming a cliche. Our working lives, personal relationships and freedoms have all been upturned in the fight to suppress the spread of coronavirus.
With businesses reopening only in batches and physical distancing rules likely to affect trade for some time, there are challenging times ahead. But the pandemic will doubtless have other effects on how we do business, catalysing pre-existing trends and throwing up new challenges.
While conditions remain volatile and prone to unexpected turns, we’ve identified 6 trends in the world of business that we think will result from the coronavirus pandemic.
Show, don’t tell (but do it virtually)
This one is particularly important for estate agents and schools, plus anyone who previously relied on door-to-door selling. While physical demonstrations of properties, premises and products may well decline even after formal lockdown ends, businesses can still give prospective buyers a proper look at what they’re selling using product demo videos and virtual tours.
Both methods of marketing were growing in use before all this; 84% of people surveyed in 2019 said that they’d been convinced to make a purchase after watching a branded video. Now, social distancing has made it near essential that your business has some kind of audiovisual aspect.
JPIMedia Local's video advertising experts can work with you to create a demo video that will show your customers exactly what you sell in persuasive detail.
Remote working is here to stay
When lockdown ends, employers might find that workspaces aren’t quite as full as they once were. Remote working can polarise employees; while some are pining for the chatter and camaraderie of days in the office, many others are quite enjoying getting the job done from the comfort of their living rooms.
A study in April showed 41% of workers feel that they’re likely to continue working from home at least some of the time once restrictions are lifted. With this in mind, it’s worth investing in digital infrastructure to make remote working as seamless as possible: a functioning remote desktop that employees can log on from anywhere, cloud file storage and a business subscription to a tool like Zoom or Microsoft Teams.
Virtual events will bring people together online
2020 may well go down as the worst year of all time for the events industry. With everything from Glastonbury to the British Insurance Brokers’ Association conference cancelled, we can be reasonably confident that people won’t be convening en masse anytime soon.
But there’s nothing stopping enterprising event organisers from moving their get-togethers online. With just a webcam and internet connection, you can host an enlightening, interactive collective event that attendees can join from their own devices, wherever they are.
You’ll probably be using intermediary video conferencing software like Zoom. Many of these programmes do offer free models, but we’d strongly suggest paying for a business-ready subscription; your audience won’t be very impressed if your scrimping results in a glitchy stream or unrealistic capacity limits on your flagship event!
Ecommerce will continue its rise
Even when shops throw open their doors again, many people will still think twice before taking to narrow high streets or crowding into indoor shopping malls.
Naturally, this means businesses will want to take every opportunity to sell to wary customers from the safety of their own homes. In March, ecommerce took its highest ever share of retail spending, accounting for 22.3% of all sales.
What does this mean for your business? Well, if you don’t want to get left behind by more convenient competitors, you’ll need to have a functional business website that works intuitively and, above all, can securely process payments. JPIMedia Local's web design experts can build you a highly secure site that handles all your ecommerce needs. Get in touch to find out more.
Trust disparities between media formats are widening
As you might expect in a period where a huge, fast-moving global event is forcing people to spend most of their time at home, consumption of news has skyrocketed in recent months. 92% of people are looking at news about Covid-19 daily, meaning they’re exposed to any advertising accompanying these stories.
At the same time as the audience for news grows, pre-existing trust issues for some other types of media are becoming more acute. While 57% of people rate news organisations as trustworthy sources of information on coronavirus, that figure drops to 13% for social media sites.
With social platforms acting as incubators for conspiracy theories and other forms of misinformation, businesses are understandably anxious about their ‘brand safety’ - in this context, preventing their reputation from being blemished by appearing alongside bogus or misleading content.
The best way to dodge this problem is to advertise in quality news outlets with strong editorial firewalls against bad information.
The experience economy will shift outdoors
The shift in consumer spending away from material goods and services towards events and experiences has been a dominant trend of the last few years. Big ticket fixtures like live music events have broken records while smaller experiences like escape rooms and Secret Cinema events have proved impressively lucrative.
Sadly there is very little clarity on when we’ll be able to get back into sports stadiums and festival fields. However, given evidence that it is much harder for coronavirus to spread outdoors than indoors, some familiar days out may well become feasible again soon, as long as social distancing is feasible. Golf courses have already reopened in England and Wales, and it can only be a matter of time before activities like paintball can resume.
If organisers of such activities can adapt their offering this summer to accommodate a greater physical distance, they might just be able to attract people bored by the general lack of things to do.
There will be many other byproducts of this pandemic, and some of them may upturn how we do business forever. JPIMedia Local can support your business through the twists and turns of the coming months with their special advertising packages, so you can come out the other side with your brand status intact.