It’s no stretch to say that while business practices tend to change with time as a general rule, the last few years have brought drastic change at an unprecedented pace. The recent technological revolution has brought with it new levels of interconnectivity, rising implementation of machine-learning technology, cloud storage, and the creation of a vast digital marketplace whereby consumers can browse and shop at different businesses at will. And all of this was before the coronavirus pandemic swept the nation and took the world by storm, necessitating a widespread shifting to digital platforms in all areas of our lives to stay safe.
Even though vaccinations against coronavirus are now widely available, the Delta variant continues to spread and wreak havoc across the US, ensuring that this tech-centric COVID-proof lifestyle will stick around for a while longer.
Automation and increased integration with digital spaces appear to be the trend, and it isn’t going away anytime soon. Unfortunately, while younger generations are being raised on this new tech and know how to navigate the internet and social media flawlessly, many businesses that weren’t built with digital integration in mind are now struggling to find ways to pull ahead of their competition.
One such industry that has been dramatically impacted is the retail industry, with megacorporations like Walmart struggling to compete with its black-mirror-spawned counterpart Amazon. With Amazon’s internet-friendly infrastructure, Walmart has been vigorously striving (and ultimately failing) to catch up. With a multi-billion dollar corporation that has been widely panned for monopolizing the grocery industry struggling to adapt to the new tech-friendly world, how much more normal does it seem that your business might be struggling?
Fortunately, a few testable, tried-and-true methods can be prescribed to help your company become more internet-friendly.
1. Social Media Is Your Friend – Use It
Social media platforms aren’t just for bragging about vacations and posting funny videos of cats acting up; they are one of the most effective modern marketing tools that any company can have at its disposal. With features varying from platform to platform that allow marketing strategists to create an array of potentially potent content, like Instagram live or TikTok’s easy video-producing software, creative marketing is often rewarded with interaction and brand awareness on these sites.
Take a look at Duolingo or Wendy’s, whose risky social media management has led to both companies achieving the kind of virality that most envy. Whatever types of content you post and however you choose to draw an audience, corporate accounts on all the major social media sites are an absolute must, the foundation of any transition to a more digitally-friendly operation.
2. Provide Online-Friendly Options for Your Industry
While the above is a rather broad statement, generally, it means that you should be searching for ways to make your business more convenient and internet accessible for your customer base for whatever industry your company works in. Fortunately, COVID guidelines have given many companies a head start. Many fast-food franchises have created apps that allow for orders to be completed via mobile, realtors have allowed for digital walkthroughs of their properties, and retail giants like Walmart have created entire divisions dedicated to pickup orders where associates shop in place of customers.
All of these are new, digitally friendly meetings of the worlds, ways where these companies have adapted their current practices to reflect new trends. Seek out ways to do similar things with your industry, and use your current COVID guidelines as a potential jumpstart if needed.
3. Purchase Third-Party Management Software
While not an absolute necessity for every company, sometimes a software upgrade can do wonders for your IT department’s efficiency, as well as your company’s overall operations and customer retention. JDE Software provides one outstanding program called Enterprise One that bundles up around 80 different application modules, ranging from basic financials to human capital management and sales and order management. Sometimes, before you can reach out to the outside world through the incorporation and use of digital platforms in your business model, you’ve got to take a hard look at what needs fixing at home; perhaps third-party business management software might give you the upgrade you need to compete with newer businesses.
Unstable Todays, Uncertain Tomorrows
While the COVID crisis is reportedly near an end, the changes that it has wrought to how we do business are likely to stick with us for a long, long time. Moreover, as technology evolves, companies will have to continue to adapt to stay relevant and survive increasingly deadly competition from new up-and-comers. Playing catch-up now might be troublesome, but it will likely prepare you for whatever comes next as time goes on and things continue to change.