Social distancing could accelerate business growth

Understanding the impact of social, economic and world conditions to your customers’ behaviors is important to your success. This is obvious to many marketers, businesses, and corporations. But planning  and taking proper action in the right moments at the correct magnitude and pace are even more crucial.

The shift to virtual was a long time coming

Let’s take a scenario which every company faces sooner or later. The scenario is bridging the gap between the physical nature of how customers interact with companies today and how they will virtually consume in the future. This was bound to occur one way or another. It looks different for various industries, but the concept is the same.

For many this scenario has been sped up by the latest COVID pandemic. It has forced companies’ hands to adapt and innovate to the changing conditions. For some, it has required guiding consumers on new channels and methods to buy and experience the products they depend on and love. But have not wanted to risk changing in the hopes that things would go back to the way they were. They have missed out on an opportunity to adapt their business. Time will tell, but I would have taken my chances on the former rather than the latter.

Customers will embrace the virtual experience

Many businesses will need to be creative in approaching their virtual experience. They will need to leverage technologies and channels never explored. They will need to use business models so foreign they may completely change the landscape of their industry. Moving forward, future generations may not step foot into a brick and mortar establishment. The only experience they may understand is virtual.

With technology like virtual and augmented reality, tactical and sensory tech and artificial intelligence, a customer can experience so much. They can see, hear, touch, feeling and customize a product virtually. They can get advice from a virtual helper and make their purchase from the comfort of their couch. Imagine buying a brand new car to your specs without sitting in the seat and feeling the rush of the road. And then your car is built and shipped to your home in a week. By today’s standards that’s science fiction. But it could be upon us sooner rather than later, whether we like it or not.

The value of a virtual experience for businesses

Manufacturers can leverage these technologies to gather data on customers. They can identify options they prefer to zero in on what works and what doesn’t to improve the online experience. From an operations point of view, this may help deliver products without waste by producing the right offerings at the right time. Using our example of car manufacturers, this can help new car model development and streamline production on a just in time ordering basis. In the long run, it may improve relationships with car customers, increase loyalty to the brand, and reduce overhead and cost.

The road ahead

Today, we may need to speed into the future. Embracing the virtual can be a potential strategy for maintaining and growing businesses. We must keep an eye on the conditions that impact everyday business, plan for the future, and consider building new capabilities and models to implement and execute.