Saturday, 28 November 2020

COVID-19 has changed the way we do business

The ongoing COVID pandemic has caused fundamental changes in all spheres of life, and it is the same for businesses as well. Many sectors and industries are struggling globally, and so it is natural that companies and businesses are wondering if the ‘new normal’ is here to stay.

There may be huge shifts needed in business practices to cope and survive in the post-pandemic world.

One of the sectors that have been hit the worst by the pandemic is retail. In Costa Rica, Deloitte took out a survey to better understand this impact and the mindset of Costa Ricans regarding the economy and their own financial situation.

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The survey has shown that retail habits and spending may have been completely altered forever due to this pandemic, while Costa Ricans are also expecting their finances to worsen significantly over the next few months as the economy struggles to cope with shutdowns and restrictions.

Even if the world can recover from the pandemic in a year’s time with a vaccine in place, consumer behavior will take a much longer time to return to pre-pandemic levels, which is a worrying thought for retailers and other businesses which have seen significant hits to their revenue during this time.

However, it has also created an opportunity for retail owners to show that they care about more than just their profit margin, especially big box and high end retailers, who now need to act and show their values by providing help and support wherever possible in their communities. Doing so will only strengthen their brand value, and thus potentially improve their chances of hanging on to customers when things do improve.

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Another significant shift that we have seen is in the growing adoption of digital methods during this time. This has helped maintain business resiliency, as people have been able to work from their homes, which is especially important in the current scenario.

According to a survey by Salesforce of over 1500 respondents, including over 400 small and medium business owners, over 30% of them have said that they are unprepared to open up their business again at the moment. 44% have said that they do not have a health plan in place, while 24% are clueless on where to begin with reopening plans.

20% have struggled to adapt because they do not have the right technology in place, which just goes to show how important it is to have the right digital and online methods and strategies ready to deal with such situations.

One of the success stories in this regard has been the casino business in Costa Rica, which has admirably dealt with the various shutdowns by simply moving online. The number of people who play online casino games for real money has grown by a huge amount over the last few months, which just shows how online solutions can be found for business problems during this time.

Further, according to the Salesforce report, 64% of consumers expect that companies will use technology to improve their experience. With such a high proportion of customers changing their expectations, it is important that businesses also adopt, both in the short-term and long-term.

Over 36% of consumers believe that technology will be important in their jobs going forward, while more than 50% expect that their employers will implement and support work from home policies for the future as well.

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The impact of technology can also be seen in the fact that 60% of businesses that reopened felt that they were able to do so because of the tech solutions in place, while 83% of businesses agree that technology has allowed them to adapt to the current business environment.

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Q Costa Rica
Reports by QCR staff

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