The Great Reopening (as we’re dubbing it), is just around the corner in most parts of the world. People are itching to get back into restaurants, street markets, nightclubs, and finally start making travel plans. Whatever your business, there is a lot of pent up demand (and unspent savings) just waiting to burst when the world reopens. Businesses have had to adapt in a big way since the pandemic first struck, but now, will things just go back to the way they were before? Read on.
1. Consumer Habits Have Changed
Prior to the pandemic, foot traffic was king. Sure, Amazon was still killing it, and online shopping was on the rise, but having a gorgeous location for your retail store in a trendy downtown neighbourhood was still one of the best ways to ensure that your business wouldn’t fall through the cracks.
Now? It matters more how your business is presented and marketed online than if your brick and mortar location is in the right spot.
People expect online shopping to be an option for every establishment they visit (whether that’s a physical goods store or online ordering for restaurants), and they want seamless, fast, Amazon-style fulfillment. Now that the expectation has been set—it likely isn’t going anywhere.
2. Some Things Will Never Be The Same
- There are people out there now who plan to get their groceries delivered to their house indefinitely, and others will continue to order takeout rather than dine in at their local restaurant.
- The business owners that dawdled on their social media presence and never had an online option for consumers have fallen behind, and need to play catch up.
- On the other hand, retailers with tiny shopfronts tucked away in a discreet location (but with thousands of Instagram followers and an online store) only ramped up their operations. The era of the small town business with an online following is here to stay.
- Online shopping has become a must for everyone—including the above mentioned grocery stores—people are going to use credit cards even more as a result. Accepting online payments will be key for new businesses.
3. Some Things Never Change
I for one think people will return in droves to the shops, pubs, restaurants, and event centres they frequented pre-Covid. Sure, businesses are online now and it makes our lives easier as a result, but people are people. We crave connection; we want to hold the product we’re going to buy, and there’s something about the personal touch that comes with walking into a store and getting a smile from an employee at the checkout that is so incredibly ancient and human that I think humans will instinctually want that again. Some things, like seeing store fronts on a busy street or a restaurant on a waterfront boardwalk—are never going to disappear as long as there are people to enjoy the in-person experiences these places offer.
4. Be A Business That Can Do Both (online and in person)
The businesses that fared best through the pandemic are the ones who were slightly ahead of the curve and already doing both online and in-person selling when Covid struck. In a post-Covid world, be the business that does both—and as long as you have the right product, you’ll always have customers calling.
5. Never Take Your Customers For Granted
Lastly, a lesson a lot of business owners have learned through the pandemic is not to take customers for granted. When times are good, it’s easy to think that your customers will always be there—some of them are dedicated regulars that order that same cup of coffee every day or get their taxes done by the same professional every year—but when things get tough, people often cut back on their spending, and even your most loyal customers may not walk through the door as often as they did before. Always take care of your current customers, and regularly think of ways to acquire and retain new ones. If you continue to innovate, to show up and wow your customers, they will want to come back and support you!
If you remember these five things, we think your business will be well positioned to take advantage of the economic boom that is sure to come. Keeping your customers happy, capitalizing on the tools available to you, and remembering the relational nature of a transaction will help your business thrive in all kinds of environments, and well into the future!