April 13, 20200
Will there be a paradigm shift in business because of innovation derived from necessity? We know how business is conducted as a standard, set aside the anomalies. But, in these trying times, what if the 'anomalies' start to become 'normalized'? What if the innovations created in a time of necessity become the standard? Or in how customers want to engage with businesses? Let’s explore for a moment.
First, what is a paradigm shift? American philosopher Thomas Kuhn, first coined the phrase ‘paradigm shift’ in the book ‘Structure of Scientific Revolutions’ in 1962. This refers to an important change that occurred when the usual way of thinking about (or doing) something, is replaced by a new or different way.
Businesses that implement telecommuting/working remotely, may find increased employee satisfaction while still maintaining (or increasing) productivity. For this reason, businesses could notice a decrease in overhead costs and increased profits. Will this now become the new business normal instead of the anomalies? It is a proven fact that the more engaged and satisfied employees are, the more your customers and clients will be engaged.
Restaurants that did not offer delivery or take-out and have since started, may find that this is a great revenue generator for them. Consequently, businesses may start to find ways to create this as a usual service they offer. From there, they can see how they can carve their niche out in this competitive market. The ability (in Canada) to offer alcohol with food delivery is a game-changer! Will this continue to be a service businesses’ can offer? What kind of compliance will be in place to enforce laws and rules if this becomes the standard?
Retail stores are now offering curbside pick-up by calling or ordering online. Some have even created infrastructure like lockers for this process. Will this continue to be a viable business option going forward?
The digital landscape has seen a drastic increase in online shopping in the past months. Due to this, businesses that previously did not offer e-commerce are beginning to develop/roll-out plans for their online shop. However, what is the customer experiencing? If the first interaction with the online shop is frustrating or lacks and ease of use, the customer will abandon the cart. Therefore, it might cause retailors to feel frustrated and abandon the idea. Of course, this is counter-intuitive to the way the market is evolving.
Financial stress by a lack of business from either being laid off, reduced hours or their place of work closing is affecting people's buying power. Therefore, consumers are in a position where they must be critical of where they are going to spend what money they do have. Maybe the competition for those dollars fierce? Can you do anything to ensure the value of your brand?
Online conversations note that people are using their time to declutter as they are feeling surrounded by excess possessions. Consumers are vowing to not give in to excessive consumerism as they had in the past. How can your business overcome this social trend? Does it need to?
Similarly, though most consumers are complying with social distancing rules, many are excitedly chatting and looking forward to where they will meet friends and family for a night out once it is advisable. Are you first on their list?
Keeping an eye on the ever-evolving landscape that has become the ‘new normal’ way of conducting business is essential. It seems like now is the time to connect with your customers through social media, or reach out and ask your customers what is valuable to them. Engage with your customers. Ask them how they are doing, what they have learned, what they miss, and how you can be there for them now and in the future. Inviting your customers to engage with your brand will increase brand loyalty and offer your business a chance to innovate.
There will be changes in the way the world works. There will be innovations that totally re-think the way things are done. Will it be a shift in paradigms? Above all, let’s be ahead of that curve by making a plan to engage now.