Are traditional business practices making a shift? 90% of leadership believe yes, the pandemic will dramatically change business operations over the next five years.1 Business models that once guaranteed a level of success may no longer work. Discovering innovative strategies to stand out in the market will be key to future growth. Indeed, the full impact of the pandemic is still unknown. However, companies who recognise emerging trends and adapt accordingly will not only survive but thrive post-pandemic. Businesses worldwide need to rethink innovation outside the realm of normal and focus on changes in consumer behaviour.

Consumer Behaviour Shift

The eCommerce industry experienced ten years’ worth of growth in three months by April of 2020 due to shifting consumer spending habits.3 As consumers spend more time at home, businesses need to accept that brick and mortar retail may never return to its original popularity.2 The mighty retail outlets that we once knew have gone extinct. Therefore, to effectively reach as many potential customers as possible, businesses must strengthen their online presence. This level of growth without leveraging digitalisation is impossible and includes developing strategic decision making, using a robust OMS, building out partnerships and offering innovative payment solutions. 

Strategic Decision Making

New decisions need to be made as the world grapples with pandemic fallout. Corporate boardrooms are questioning, "where do I go from here?" It's been customary to look at the past for trends that can provide insights into how the next fiscal year may pan out. However, these past trends need to be looked at strategically. This isn't the first time a worldwide crisis has occurred, and instead of just looking at the most recent years of trends, it is also beneficial to consider trends from past crises. For instance, businesses that focused on innovation during the 2009 recession outperformed the market by 30% in subsequent years.1 Fast forward to now and using the same innovation strategy, how might businesses move forward? Looking at a more recent trend, 70% of Chinese consumers' offline consumption dropped during lockdown orders, and only about half of that percentage returned to normal after lockdown.1 Therefore, businesses could use this information to strategically focus on online innovation during and post-pandemic.

Order Management Systems (OMS)

As the online shopping trend continues, competition among retailers has never been greater. This requires flexibility and resilience to compete against giants like Amazon. Companies should consider adopting an OMS to facilitate multi-channel retail to keep business operations running smoothly while creating a larger digital footprint.3 OMS allows eCommerce brands to manage the order fulfilment process more effectively from start to finish. OMS streamlines the supply chain process, reduces human error, enhances delivery speed, simplifies multi-sales management and forecasts future trends.5 There are many different systems available, so it's essential to shop around. Platforms, including BigCommerce, offer an extensive OMS marketplace that can assist businesses with finding the right solution.4 An effective OMS ensures sustainable growth and a smooth customer experience.

Flexible Payment Methods

As online shopping continues to flourish, buy now, pay later (BNPL) platforms are a popular way for businesses to offer flexible payment options to their customers. By integrating BNPL platforms, companies can attract new shoppers, improve customer relations and increase sales. BNPL is gaining popularity with businesses as they are paid in full immediately, while the customer has the instant gratification of receiving an item for a low upfront cost. By providing a greater variety of flexible online payment options, consumers are more likely to make significant purchases and become repeat customers.6 Consumer demand for this payment method is high, and BNPL platforms can drive sales and increase income.

Digital Payment Platforms 

Businesses once centred their payment strategy around relationships with traditional banks. However, the disruption presented by COVID-19 forced companies to rely on integrated and digital payment platforms to safely and efficiently continue their operations. Integrated payments provide an accurate and lower risk process that allows large amounts of money to be moved securely. Transactions are encrypted and tokenised, along with multi-factor user logins, annual PCI certifications, continuous vulnerability testing and firewall limits to access applications.7 This also reduces the amount of paper and personnel necessary for the reconciliation process. Integrated software and digital payment platforms are crucial as businesses contend with tighter revenue margins.

Cryptocurrencies

An increasing number of businesses are using Bitcoin and other digital currencies for an array of operational, transactional and investment purposes. Some view crypto as a crucial part of the evolution of finance.8 Crypto has performed exceedingly well over the past few years. However, volatility risks are not non-existent and require careful consideration. Though the use of crypto presents challenges, it also offers many opportunities by providing a global currency that's more secure and harder to falsify. Companies are discovering that clients and vendors want to do business with crypto, which may eventually serve as an alternative asset to cash.

Next Steps

It's not too late for innovation and creating a business model to better suit the current global climate. Business leaders need to think strategically by looking at recent trends and past global crises. It's not always about reinventing the wheel, and learning from past trends can assist with finding the right solutions. The joy of shopping in person has diminished for consumers, and eCommerce is now preferred. Advancements in safer, more secure payment options make online transactions easily accessible. Although supply chain issues aren't showing signs of letting up, utilising an OMS to facilitate multi-channel retail can help alleviate some of the frustration. Making the right business decisions today can make all the difference tomorrow.

The BIO Agency can help mitigate uncertain risk and advise the best step forward. Contact us at makesomething@thebioagency.com

Footnotes

1)https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/strategy-and-corporate-finance/our-insights/innovation-in-a-crisis-why-it-is-more-critical-than-ever

2)https://hbr.org/2020/09/adapt-your-business-to-the-new-reality

3)https://www.bigcommerce.com/blog/order-management/#what-is-ecommerce-order-management

4)https://www.bigcommerce.com/apps/search/

5)https://paperform.co/blog/order-management/

6)https://www.paymentsjournal.com/buy-now-pay-later-what-businesses-need-to-know/

7)https://www.paymentsjournal.com/covid-has-changed-business-payments-forever/amp/

8)https://oxfordbusinessgroup.com/news/can-cryptocurrencies-drive-covid-19-recovery-emerging-markets

Related Articles_

Events

BIO / October 21, 2020
From idea to impact

BIO Breakfast Event- How to structure innovation that works for your boardroom as well as your customers Innovation is the ...

Blog

BIO / August 2, 2021
How digital innovation can help people make better pension decisions

The pension industry is facing tough challenges. People are living longer and have more potential retirement years to finance. Traditional ...

Blog

BIO / October 9, 2019
Would wrapping up online entertainment services create customer loyalty to telcos?

These days it can be very hard to keep track of all our subscription services. £7.99 here, £8.99 there, Netflix, ...