The COVID-19 novel Coronavirus outbreak has changed everything inside out. From the way we live, work, think, it has affected us to such an extent that the future appears to be dubious and the most concerning area is the business.
How are businesses going to survive the post-COVID-19 phase? Will it ever be back to normal? Let’s find out.
Not just us human beings, even businesses are interconnected so much that the few degrees of separation that we are undergoing now are putting many businesses into a temporary halt to even complete closure.
It is also changing consumer and seller behaviors and their interaction due to the difficulty in adapting to the next normal.
The economy is at stake, people are becoming deprived of livelihood, sales are tumbling down. In short, even after the defeat of the virus, it may take way longer than we imagined for the effect of the global pandemic to get erased from our lives forever.
So, how is it going to be post-COVID-19?
Each of us is now into imagining how life post-COVID-19 will be.
Since the current crisis will transform our social interactions, events, personal contacts, and receiving and serving of products and services, it is hard to predict the new post-COVID-19 world.
Still, we are throwing some light into how the B2B sales operations will work and move forward differently from what they were before the pandemic.
Since no one can predict the end date of the Coronavirus, it is uncertain when the world will become free from it or whether it will face it again in the future, hence; business continuity is heavily challenged and unclear.
The work culture is going to experience a major change due to the work from home and social distancing measures. People may work in odd shifts to keep large groups from forming, and certainly, people are much less likely to ‘meet up’ in person with each other.
There is going to be a significant shift to online business due to COVID-19. Therefore, B2B eCommerce has radically increased since the COVID-19 crisis began and will continue to spike.
With online businesses passing the test during such tough times, many of the offline wholesalers, manufacturers, and distributors are planning to sell to retailers, suppliers online which are in a way good for all.
So, post-COVID, B2B eCommerce software solution or multivendor eCommerce solution is going to be in demand for a long-long time.
What proactive approach can be taken for a B2B business to survive the COVID-19 pandemic and after that?
1. Start preparing.
What you knew before may not serve you well in an altered tomorrow.
Therefore to meet current and future customer needs, you need to create a response team with a supply chain leader that reports directly to the CEO, allocate financial resources, communicate top-down team responsibilities and ensure everyone understands every action needed to carry out the plan.
Also, synchronize your business systems and distribution centers for the smooth functioning of it.
2. You might or may face a shortage in your supplies due to the increased demand.
Hence, make it a habit to clearly mention out of stock items. Don’t make your customers wait during times of uncertainty if they cannot be ordered.
Customers need the reassurance that items are in stock and will be shipped if they are ordered. If items are out of stock, provide a realistic ship date since there are chances of delay.
3. Rethink and review your pricing or shipping rules
So that they don’t appear to increase profit during the pandemic because it can negatively affect your customer experience and future sales.
4. Re-plan everything.
Every single operation of your B2B business needs to be revised keeping in mind the COVID phase.
You will require forward-thinking, new strategies, and re-planning on many fronts which include manufacturing/operations, sales, marketing communications, new product development/innovation, customer service, and other areas.
5. Update your product information and content in terms of COVID.
Since B2B customers and their customers are depending on you, you need to ensure that you are taking all safety precautions to keep your employees and customers safe.
6. Reassure customers about order fulfillment and delivery.
COVID crisis has put everyone in doubting everything and has made us all become extra cautious about visiting offices and factories and monitoring workers.
Henceforth, you need to be transparent about how you are keeping employees safe and handling business operations and shipping products.
For that, you can do the following:
- Level up your communication and update about any changes in product in delivery and shipping, including changes in suppliers or logistics the very moment.
- Share new hours of operation or delivery dates so as not to break their trust.
- Explain the measures you are taking to maintain a safe work environment.
- Consider creating a portal or blog to keep customers updated as well as interact with them.
7. You never know what happens post-COVID.
The demand may rise, become stagnant, or even fall as the customer may also switch to other markets like offline again.
To avoid any fluctuation, monitor sales, and ensure product data stay discoverable through search and suggestions, add up-to-date links to relevant authorities that help explain your disruptions or shortages.
8. Experiment with innovative digital experiences.
With no physical contact and social distancing going to be the new-normal, emerging digital technologies may have even more impact on B2B than in the consumer market. And that includes augmented reality (AR) or Virtual Reality.
Think about investing in such meaningful efficiency gains or growth opportunities as well.
Bottom line: B2B business post-COVID-19
COVID-19 has given a terrific spin over our habits and practices which we will likely continue to do so due to the fear that has gripped us all.
Traditional face-to-face interactions have given way to sales and service support by videoconference, webinar, phone, human chatbot, and other means and the human touch has become risky.
Hence in order to stay safe and keep others safe as well, switching to B2B eCommerce seems to be the right plan.
This gives numerous benefits like; more online attention, huge time, money and resource-saving, more valuable business relationship, convenient mode of promotion, customized, flexible and transparent business treatment, development of the new idea for business relations, improved customer loyalty, and much more.
So, if you want to uplift your B2B business from office to online or want to step into B2B eCommerce, get the best B2B eCommerce software solution or multivendor eCommerce solution of MobiCommerce and ensure the safety of your business during and post-COVID-19.
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Rakesh Jain is CEO and Co-founder of mobicommerce, a leading e-commerce and mobile app development company offering ready-to-go grocery app development solution. With years of expertise in mobile app development, Mobicommerce can assist you in your grocery store app development even in the lockdown with its efficient team working from home.