To say that the Coronavirus pandemic has influenced the business world would be a massive understatement. It has caused unprecedented levels of change in the economic world, and nowhere is this more apparent than digital transformation. While the world was headed in the direction of digital integration, the pandemic accelerated this process significantly. It has had a surprising effect on small businesses in particular, which is something that we’ll cover today.
Evolving to meet customer demands
The way consumers shop is constantly evolving. Nowhere was this more apparent than since the start of the pandemic. Due to lockdown measures and isolation, consumer eCommerce purchases increased by 33%, and that number is only projected to increase.
Even after the pandemic settles, it’s clear that eCommerce will become even more relevant as people get accustomed to shopping online. Small and medium-sized businesses that are slow to adopt eCommerce technology are poised to lose a significant chunk of their customers. At the same time, writing effective digital marketing strategies to fit eCommerce business needs has also become a priority.
When it comes to payment options, the pandemic has also accelerated contactless payment significantly. For obvious reasons, consumers were hesitant to use cash and credit cards, which is why contactless solutions became the go-to option.
Adapting to new working conditions
With new pandemic measures in place, many businesses had to bring down the number of employees in the workplace. Others had to shut down completely, as employees and customers being present was integral to the business. Those that could adapt used digital technology to allow for more remote work, often allowing employees to work from home entirely.
While remote work was touted as a temporary solution, a great many employees would prefer to remain in these kinds of working conditions. In fact, a large percentage would not return to their place of work if they can complete their work from home without issue. As a result, work-from-home solutions are here to stay.
Modern businesses that can offer the potential for working from home are now an incredibly attractive prospect for employees. For the transition to remote work, digital communication and productivity tracking tools are an absolute necessity.
Utilizing data to improve performance
One of the greatest benefits of digital transformation is the unprecedented level of information that a business can utilize. If you’re looking to maximize business performance, using data to understand customer wants, needs, and habits can be a tremendous advantage. Though there is a lot more information that can be used to benefit a company.
With today’s technological advancements in data collection and processing, it’s possible to use the information to automate business processes and drive innovation. It should come as no surprise that the progress of digital transformation benefits small businesses. Many of these innovative tools are scalable and allow companies that follow metrics for just about anything that can influence their business practices. During the Coronavirus pandemic, many businesses had to use this kind of data to better gauge the interests of consumers, as well as keep their business afloat.
Processes such as accounting are made much easier for smaller businesses, as cloud-based accounting tools make it easier to keep track of expenses and cash flow. As a result, small businesses don’t have to invest as much into their accounting.
Simplifying digital aspects of a business
In the modern business world, every company uses at least some form of digital technology. Whether you’re talking about digital payment methods for consumers or website and social media management, it’s clear that there are few businesses that can avoid digital integration.
An interesting thing to note is that digital transformation helps improve the way we manage other digital parts of a business, especially on a smaller scale. Consider IT for example, which most companies require to do safe and reliable business with their clients. With remote work and accounting becoming so crucial during the pandemic, it’s clear that quality IT services are needed more than ever before. While having a dedicated team of IT experts is helpful, it’s not something that smaller businesses can always afford. As a result, their IT performance metrics may suffer and they can be vulnerable to cyber-attacks.
The good news is that it’s now possible to outsource information technology services. Small companies enlist the help of managed IT services to handle all of their digital needs. If you need to build, design, operate or maintain a network, this can be done from a distance by qualified experts. Not only does this reduce operating costs, but it also helps small businesses get the best quality IT help on the market without additional investment.
Another great part of digital transformation is that it can level the playing field for small and medium-sized businesses. Digital technology acts as a great equalizer for companies in a competitive market. The fact that most of the technology can be scaled down as well as up means that small businesses don’t have to rely on outdated methods to perform accounting, IT management, or many other tasks.
Many services offer affordable and reliable digital integration for smaller businesses, which means that they can benefit from the same technology without investing more than they need. Starting a website is easier than ever, which means smaller businesses can benefit from it much earlier than before. The end result is that small businesses can be more resilient and stay competitive in the modern business world.
The writing was always on the walls for digital transformation, and the Coronavirus pandemic has simply accelerated this process. Small and medium-sized businesses must adapt to new technology to stay relevant in today’s competitive business world. Not only can this technology keep them in the game, but it can also provide countless benefits if utilized properly.
Nick is a blogger and a marketing expert currently engaged on projects for Platform 24. He is an aspiring street artist and does Audio/Video editing as a hobby.