With the testing capacity for coronavirus increasing across the globe, so too are the number of confirmed cases. This has left businesses scrambling to establish online solutions to mitigate risk to their employees and customers due to face-to-face interactions.
“Businesses need to work on modifying their store hours on their key profiles (such as Yelp and Google My Business) as well as their messaging regarding what they’re doing about COVID-19 via Posts or descriptions in their GMB profile,” Search for Local SEO Guide VP Dan Leibson says.
However, keeping your business hours to a bare minimum is only a start. COVID-19 will have long-lasting effects on how the world does business.
If you’re already feeling the squeeze due to COVID-19 precautions, you need to step back, breathe, and then make a plan.
Impacts of COVID-19 on Businesses
How COVID-19 is impacting your business will vary drastically based on the type of products or services you supply.
Most Americans have focused their purchasing power toward items deemed essential, which is a boon to B2B companies (business-to-business) who are a vital part of those supply chains.
For example, one B2B/B2C (business-to-consumer) merchant offering industrial food processing equipment saw a 20% increase in year-on-year sales. However, any growth spurred on by panic shopping (such as hoarding toilet paper) is unsustainable.
Nonetheless, there are positive long-term impacts for B2B merchants and US manufacturers, as new legislation demands local governments, hospitals, school districts, and other entities to diversify their supply chains. In the same way, it’s expected that larger corporations will review their supply-chain vulnerabilities and also look to diversify to lessen their dependencies.
All of this opens up huge opportunities for B2B companies positioned to quickly provide alternatives to current supply chains.
According to Bain’s Macro Trends Group Managing Director Karen Harris, another long-term impact will be on remote-work policies.
“Once effective work-from-home policies are established, they are likely to stick,” Harris says.
Adapting to COVID-19 Now
The short-term moves you need to make to protect your employees and business from the serious ramifications of COVID-19 also play out well for you in the long-term.
Fundamentally, it means a shift from face-to-face sales and works to an increased digital presence.
The first step to adapting to the impacts of Coronavirus is to see how much of your business can actually be moved online.
Already, B2B commerce is trending toward more buyers purchasing online. A recent survey found that 75% of businesses use eCommerce portals to make purchases, while 30% of B2B buyers prefer to purchase almost all of their products online.
By using professionally-designed, responsive designs to display a rich multimedia product catalog, you can create an online shopping experience that provides all the information a client would otherwise get from meeting in person. Additionally, it will be more convenient — and much safer in the current COVID-19 climate.
When you create an eCommerce store with advanced search capabilities, you facilitate a simpler shopping experience for your clients. Additionally, you can continue to provide your clients with flexible, multi-level pricing scaled to ensure they have an edge in the market, which is the best way to build brand loyalty.
A powerful, professional eCommerce storefront not only demonstrates your corporate responsibility in this time of increased caution and need but also positions your company toward significant growth after COVID-19.
Promote Remote-Working Positions
The shift toward a scalable, automated eCommerce setup for your business can help you maximize growth, optimize resources, and reduce your operational costs. It also positions you to offer more attractive remote-work policies to some of your employees.
Already, most companies (that can) have implemented work-at-home policies to ensure the safety of their employees. These sorts of positions (if they remain long-term) can be very attractive to the younger workforce, allowing you to scoop up top talent.
Of course, you will want to ensure that you have created remote-working policies that go beyond stop-gap measures. This means clearly outlining expectations with regard to availability, channels of communication, and security — among other factors.
Final Thoughts: Adapting Your B2B Company to Face Coronavirus
This is a challenging moment in the history of the world, with harrowing impacts on the lives of so many people and communities. This early on, it’s still hard for experts to fully predict what the ramifications of COVID-19 will be.
However, there is no doubt that the world will be different. People’s lives will be different. Business will be different.
To protect your workers now and give your business the best chance to flourish once COVID-19 is under control, it is vital to examine how your B2B company can create an eCommerce store that serves the needs of your clients.
Get in touch to tell us how you’re adapting to COVID-19.