Digital Transformation in a COVID-19 World
Many businesses that were rock-solid before COVID-19 are now facing a dilemma. Pivot with a Digital Transformation strategy or close what’s left of their proverbial doors. No entrepreneur wants to be backed into a corner on a decision that changes the very nature of the way she or he does business. Yet, we are here all the same. The good news is that we’re all in this together. We’ve all been backed into the same corner.
Respected health and administrative officials in North America are talking about this spring as the half-way point in our battle against COVID-19. Will your business be ready to meet new guidelines and regulations in order to successfully re-open?
Stambol is ready to help you with the digital solutions you need. So, today we’re reviewing what transformation looks like during the middle of a pandemic.
Digital Transformation Basics
Using digital tools to re-organize, re-structure, and re-imagine the way you do business can take many paths. It all depends on the product you make or the service you offer. How were you finding and communicating with your customers? How did you meet their needs? Were you able to adapt when you had to stop meeting in person?
Now is the time to think about your pain points as well. Was there any change you’d been putting off because you couldn’t afford the downtime? Or maybe you just didn’t know what the solution could look like? Remember, you don’t have to know what the answer is to ask for help with a problem.
If you’re the sort of entrepreneur who likes to turn lemons into lemonade, you’ll already be looking for these opportunities to change. Where can you invest in procedural or technological upgrades now that will help you re-open, and down the road, begin to thrive again?
Learn to Swim in Digital Water or Sink in 2020
Before the year is over, an unfairly large number of businesses will succumb to the pressure of operating under social distancing restrictions. The capacity to transform quickly and re-imagining the structure of a business is just not something every entrepreneur can achieve.
The good news – for you – is that by reading this post and doing your research on Digital Transformation, you’ve taken the first few steps towards ensuring that you aren’t one of the economic casualties of COVID-19.
5 Reasons Digital Transformation is Viable
If you’re not motivated to adopt new tech during this downtime and you’re not sure a wave of digital changes will help, consider the reasons below to take the plunge.
- Customers & Markets Will Retain Changes
Think about all the changes that have sprouted up within businesses still operating during this pandemic. A boom in online grocery orders and video conference calls are the kinds of changes we think will be here to stay. Because a measure that keeps us safe today – and doesn’t interfere with operations – will be hard to justify discontinuing tomorrow.
- Starting Small is Still Possible
Your re-opening plan probably has a checklist you need to complete before you can slam that big red button. Like any to-do, you have to start somewhere. And think of your Digital Transformation as a journey, one that will shift and evolve over the years. It doesn’t have to be one single action that sets it all in motion. A little change can lead to a bigger one, and so on.
- Results Will be Measurable
One of the most demonstrable benefits of Digital Transformation is the inherent accountability of data-driven products. Reporting and recording of ROI will be next-level effective for businesses just incorporating digital solutions now. And if your storefront or office is already digital to some degree, you’re that much more aware of how tech and numbers go hand in hand.
- Upgrade Costs Can be Subsidized
Governments around the world are offering unprecedented support for businesses suffering and adapting during COVID-19. The logic once reserved for environmental benefits or fostering new niche technology is being applied broadly and generously to structural and procedural changes. It may take the form of a loan instead of a grant, but you may be shocked at the funding options available to a business like yours that needs to spend money to bring staff and spaces up to new standards.
- Expert Help is Out There
Many business owners feel like they’re now playing a game with new rules, except that no one person can tell them what the rules are and why. Does that sound familiar? Well, you’re not alone. Figuring out what to change, how, and why – all with shrinking budgets – is the best reason to invest in the assistance a technology partner can provide. Before you spend even more on a solution you didn’t really need and you’re still faced with more expenses.
Business Recovery Via Digital Transformation
If your business hits the pause button and you’re planning a joint re-entry and recovery plan, we’re here to gently remind you that digital tools will be required. Depending on your industry and region, restoration of in-person operations could still be months away. Consider these strategies to help you bridge between Day 1 and your new operations model.
- Make Appointments Online
You’ve already seen prompts on social media to convert comments to private conversations, and to convert message exchanges to appointments. This trend will continue and we recommend taking tools into your own hands. Don’t rely on social media profiles to provide technology solutions for you. Add it to your website and/or app on your own terms for a solution that truly meets your needs.
- Use New Sanitation Technology
How will you reassure your customers that every counter and utensil under your roof has been sanitized effectively? The days of a little hand-written card in the bathroom that tells you when the facility was last cleaned will be so far in the past it will seem quaint. We’re picturing digital displays that relate information about bacteria (or a lack of) on common surfaces. As well as touchless dispensers of all-natural hand sanitizers.
- Smart Sensors to Monitor Health
Would you feel better interacting with a retail worker, server, or bartender if their name tag was equipped with a digital readout of their body temperature? What once sounded dystopian may become commonplace. And it might be required of patrons and shoppers as well as service staff.
- Automatic Doors & Touchless Fixtures
The good news about touchless technology is that we are ready to roll this out to just about any storefront. It could be the low-hanging-fruit of upgrades to your business. And existing touchless devices are just the beginning. Click on the video below for a look at how touch screens could become touchless as well.
- Third-party Inspections & Approvals
Have you ever casually noticed a business license or approval from a health inspector? Something behind a counter or bar that blended right into the scenery? We think those little pieces of paper will fade into history, replaced by digital, real-time reports from trusted sources regarding a business’ proven cleanliness track record.
Accepting that we all had to close our doors – not for days, not for weeks, but for months – was a tough pill to swallow for every business owner. The casualties of this downtime have already started.
Your Business WILL Look Different
Restoration of brick-and-mortar locations requires business transformation strategies with a digital component. Not just because federal and regional governments will require change, but because the above-mentioned consumer standards will change.
This time next year, restaurant customers may refuse to enter the premises if they have to grab the door handle. Even the trendiest establishment could see a drop in patronage if guests are approached by staff members in close quarters.
This time next year, retail shops that encourage staff to physically approach customers could see massive drops in foot traffic. A once-popular boutique known for discerning style advice could be ostracised for violating shoppers’ personal space.
We’re not saying it’s going to be easy. We’re not saying there is a one-size-fits-all technology upgrade on offer. What we can tell you is that you don’t have to fumble in the dark and go it alone.
Digital Transformation Shepherds
At Stambol, we know these changes range from irritating to downright scary. Especially if you weren’t eagerly planning to change. But if you’re ready now, if you’ve taken that deep breath and you are prepared to dive back in, Stambol is the technology partner that can guide you along the rest of the way.
Contact us today for more information on what Digital Transformation can look like for your business. We are here to talk, plan, execute, and generally help in any way we can.
Feature Image Credit: metamorworks / Adobe Stock