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The pandemic one year on: How has Covid-19 defined the modern company?

The coronavirus pandemic has changed much about modern life. How have businesses had to adapt to the new landscape?

Changing Times

It’s been over a year since the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared COVID-19 to be a pandemic. During that time we’ve seen lockdowns, quarantines, the development of vaccines, and a massive change our behaviour. From more concern over personal hygiene to an increased reliance on online stores, our behaviour has changed massively over the last year.

This hasn’t just affected individuals, of course; businesses have needed to adapt and change. Here’s how the modern company has become defined by COVID-19.

Consumer lifestyle changes

Perhaps the biggest area in which COVID-19 has affected business is the behaviour of customers. In the UK, as many as 37 per cent of the workforce ended up on furlough. This meant a lower income, and less money to spend on luxuries. However, the biggest change has come from the rise of home working and lockdowns.

Being stuck at home has meant some necessary changes, including in how we shop. Alongside baking sourdough and taking up home workouts, we have been shopping online at a much greater rate. This means bricks-and-mortar companies have had to move themselves online to avoid losing business.

The advantage of this has been that consumers are becoming more loyal to these new shopping methods as a result. According to McKinsey, 63 per cent of UK consumers have tried out a new shopping behaviour as a result of the pandemic. What’s more, up to 88 per cent are likely to continue using this method, so this isn’t just a short-term thing. Businesses should then consider offering online shopping in the long run. 

New business concerns

While physical health is a significant concern, businesses need to pay attention to the mental health of their employees. People are just as afraid about their job security as they are about their health during the pandemic. This can then lead to increased stress. 

Unless businesses are ready to take necessary steps, this could lead to a large amount of staff absences. Stress is responsible for more than half of all days off due to illness, and 37 per cent of businesses expect this to increase due to COVID-19.

Many business have invested to become more adaptable and agile in order to become better prepared. COVID-19 has shown that major issues can strike at any time, and companies need to be ready to make quick changes. The most resilient organisations are good communicators and make sure staff are empowered to lead wherever needed. 

Marketing and advertising

So, how do businesses go about marketing with all these changes? First of all, with everyone used to shopping online, digital advertising is a must. It’s thought it will be responsible for the majority of ad spend in 2021. The reason for this is clear: your customers are more online than ever, so you need to be as well.

There’s also been a rise in direct-to-consumer (DTC) businesses, as well as companies modifying the way they work in order to be more DTC. The move online has helped many with this, and made things simpler for consumers in the process. It’s also thought that DTC businesses are able to inspire more brand loyalty.

What’s clear is that businesses can’t afford to cut ad spending and go quiet. Instead, they will need to make sure their customers know they still exist. Indeed reflecting that they’re still providing the same great products and services despite the pandemic. Take a look at our previous Lockdown Marketing Lessons blog post for a more in depth look. 

We hope that this article has provided insight into how businesses have felt the impact of Covid-19, if you want to find out more about how a loyalty solution could help your company in these challenging times contact us here.

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