What Does the New (or should we say 'Next'?) Normal Mean to Your Business?

Change is the only constant in life. – Heraclitus

So much has happened! So very much has happened! It’s hard to grasp the changes that have forced us to work differently and think differently—never mind try to predict what’s coming around the bend.

One thing we do know… the COVID-19 pandemic has permanently altered our behaviour.

According to a recent study carried out by IBM, consumer and employee behaviour will look very different going forward, and companies will have to adapt their business models if they hope to survive, never mind thrive.

Let’s look at some of the changes we can probably expect:

  • People don’t want to use public transit. If they’re going anywhere, it’s in their own vehicle. They don’t even want to use ride share vehicles. This might be good news for car sellers, except for the fact that one third of respondents say their personal finances will influence if they can buy a new vehicle. Most don’t have enough confidence in their jobs to make a major purchase, like a new car. Which brings us to…

  • Remote work has really grown on people. More than 75% of respondents would like to work remotely at least some of the time, while 54% would like to work remotely all the time. In the past, employers had the excuse of not being set up to allow for a remote workforce. Now, however, the pandemic has forced organizations to figure out a remote working solution, and employees won’t easily accept a return to the old ways of in-office work.

  • Customers are also on board with online, or at least arms-length purchasing. 75% of those surveyed say they will visit stores to buy essential goods. What this means in terms of the overall retail industry will be up in the air since most people still prefer to buy from brick and mortar retailers. The pandemic has people prioritizing shopping at local stores and buying more locally made, grown, or sourced products. They now order online, in many cases, and go pick up their purchases through a drive-through or take contactless delivery. They’re also using contactless purchasing options like credit cards and mobile devices.

  • Sales has also had to make a shift. Although businesses are re-opening and starting to, again, make some money, they still have significant financial concerns weighing them down. The role of sales as a partner and supportive in the business efforts of customers will take centre stage now. Sales professionals will find the questions they ask their customers need to change and listening carefully to responses is tantamount. What was important to customers before may very well be different now. This doesn’t mean Sales should do nothing. Their customers still need them to be available—just maybe, now, in a different way.