Looking at “The Now” but Thinking of Tomorrow
Back in March, when the nationwide quarantine first took place, no one would have expected that several months later, our daily and normal activities would soon be reshaped with some permanence. This reshaping, given the pandemic, was abrupt. Institutions, such as the education sector, had to overhaul the way things were done. Imagine an elementary teacher talking to a laptop, eyes towards a webcam. Young students in their uniforms sitting in a chair at home, headsets around their faces, a parent somewhere in the background, watching over. The experience must be different.
Meanwhile, for the everyday working class Filipino, their favorite social spaces have had to take concrete steps in handling the pandemic. Implementing social distancing measures, which encouraged staying at home, reduced foot traffic by as much as 90 percent. Malls across the metro have had to make adjustments to stay operational, but compliant with the government’s health protocols. After all, Pinoys are known for their mall culture.
The impact of these changes in malls and businesses is most evident in how we are seeing the rapid shift towards digital. While digitization is still underway for many small- and micro-sized businesses looking to move forward, the transition had to be fast for most. Larger businesses pivoted and reduced manpower, while others closed down physical stores to reallocate resources towards online platforms. Fast Food chains, for example, would require a skeletal workforce, with the expectation of the low volume in both demand and dine-in customers. Others would target take-out and deliveries instead, which prompted many a home cook to start their food business.
That being said, these shifts were primarily due to businesses needing to adapt to the “New Normal.” In the outside world, apart from demanding the basic requirements such as face masks and face shields, enabling cashless transactions, utilizing QR codes and online contact tracing forms, among others, business owners should be rethinking their marketing strategies. These are some examples of simple yet cost-efficient, tech-empowered solutions, but going digital is key to making it to the other side.
If You’re Not Online, Where Are You?
Working with a digital marketing agency in the Philippines is one way to be part of the online shopping boom. Whether your base of operations is located in the country or elsewhere abroad, having an online platform for your brand, such as a website, can transform your business. Accessibility is the first thing that digitization enables. With a value proposition of comfort and convenience, online shopping carries more than just that now.
In Q4 of 2017, Statista, a pioneering database company, projected that eCommerce in the Philippines would have had a 16.2 percent annual growth rate. With a revenue amounting to 1.24 million USD in 2017, projections on the industry’s market volume in five years was at 2.62 million USD by the end of 2022. Note that these numbers were done at a time Pre-Covid. With the pandemic, however, we can expect this projection to change. Today, consumers are choosing their health and safety. Shopping via an app on their smartphones, while in the sanctuary of their homes, is the best available option. Comparing the data between the first and second quarters of this year reveals that the use of online shopping apps increased by 53 percent — the highest in Southeast Asia. If this mode of shopping keeps up, the initial projection is likely to shoot up.
As a business owner, you have to keep in mind that this shift is tethered, albeit loosely, to the quarantine measures set in place, such as mall restrictions grounded on social distancing. And while it is true that shopping online has been growing with such haste, the growth does not apply to all the industries. Take, for instance, how iPrice, an online shopping aggregator, cites that web traffic to retail and fashion websites have gone down by 30 percent annualized. Of course, with the pandemic giving people a valid reason to stay at home and not go out, there has been less demand for new clothes.
That being said, regardless of industry growth or decline, the nation’s economy will have to get back up on its feet. This means that the reshaping of what we have come to know as normal into a new normal can either stay that way or revert, depending on how the country responds to the covid-19 pandemic. The real question here is time. How long before the return to normalcy? And is it ever going to happen? Otherwise, how can your business survive until then?
A New Age in Digital Marketing
Online shopping is only going to thrive in the coming years, and we have witnessed how the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated its growth, but this was bound to happen. Whether you are a business owner or the market, the growth of online selling has already made an impact on your life in one way or another. The convenience is of necessary value.
Business owners should take the opportunity to learn and adapt if they have any intention of staying competitive. Would people want to go out and risk getting sick? Going digital is the way forward. Embrace innovation.
As a business owner, here are a few things to consider:
- Partner up with apps, like couriers and logistics firms, in creating a seamless and hassle-free online shopping experience
- Be present on social media, especially with a surge in usage, it is a platform to engage your target audience
- Fight to stay afloat, as we are experiencing some economic decline and increased unemployment rates, consumer spending has been dampened, but as of June 2020, OFW remittances have been on the recover, as other countries have “flattened the curve”
- Ramp up in online activities, such as brand communication, where there is freedom to be creative and innovative in reaching out to customers
- Sanitize and let your clients know; especially those with physical stores, using photos and videos highlighting these sanitation efforts will increase consumer confidence
For business owners who thought that the day would never come — maybe it’s about time to realize and accept that the digital space has grown to become a real part of our lives. Build your online presence and meet all these people who want to know your brand.