Has there been any other era since the web began its existence as a medium where a company’s website has been more critical to its survival?
Without hesitation, I say, if this pandemic happened 30 years ago, we’d be in much worse shape than we are today. While large parts of our economy are right now dramatically slowed down, we should also think of all of the businesses that are still open and operating normally thanks to digital advances, or other companies that are at least scraping by because the internet has made their products easier to distribute. Thank goodness this all happened now!
Like many others, I have had a lot of time on my hands lately to think about our industry and how things have and will change since all of this began. And, in some cases, I look back and think that for so many businesses, they have wasted time focusing on so many things that don’t matter. And now, I can’t believe those decisions have left them in the right place.
In the last few years, we’d probably speak of the economy in terms of “it being in a challenging position.” This has led to a more conservative approach to some businesses and focusing on things that were more important versus overinvesting in the bells and whistles that so many were preoccupied with.
Office space versus Digital space
Because of COVID-19, huge volumes of office space are empty. The last thing employees are racing to do is get back to the office. On that note, if I may quickly digress, I noticed another area of excess in the last few years was over-employment. I was always amazed at how fast and furious companies were hiring people, in some cases of limited experience, to bolster headcount and fill all those fancy offices. I wonder if all of those new hires can prove their value in an environment away from the office, where work product carries more weight. And, is it crazy to say that perhaps this crisis has given some companies a reason to cut back on all of that irrational hiring? Perhaps… This makes for fun fodder, but let me get back to the overall point.
So here we are, with everything turned upside down. Distribution channels are challenged, employees are home and we’re all left scrambling to adjust. It’s natural to ask – did we miss our chance to transform?
I don’t think so. In fact, now is the time to reinvest, because many people (such as your competitors) still have no idea what is going on. Too many people still believe that we’ll be back to normal sooner rather than later, and again are not taking the risk to expand their digital empire. But this is foolish, in more than a few ways.
What does the future actually look like?
I’m going to take a pessimistic yet optimistic view at the same time about what the future may look like. First, we all know this will pass, and we will all get through the outbreak of the virus. We’ll most likely have a vaccine, and we’ll most likely also have therapeutic treatments to minimise the effects if you do catch the bug. That’s me being an optimist.
But – things will change forever. And so much of that will be around consumer behavior. The direct-to-consumer model will thrive for a long time. And because of that, now is a time to invest. Because regardless of normalcy or a new normal, digital is now the most critical medium that exists.
Everything else is secondary. This goes for all businesses – even the Greggs in the high street benefits from a digital workflow that enables fast, easy, and contactless customer transactions.
Hopefully, by now, you’ve learned the key lesson here: Websites are the new mailman. Neither rain, nor shine, nor snow, nor pandemic:
Your Website Never Quits!!
That’s the first thing you must realize.
In times like this – your company’s only viable presence is its website. You haven’t got anything else. It’s all that matters. Your clients, customers, employees & prospective employees, competitors – all they can do to see what you are up to is your website. What impression does it give?
If you compare your website to the competition – who is winning the credibility game? Who is making an impression of confidence and security? Who is capturing valuable user data?
If it isn’t you, then it’s time to refocus your efforts!
Now more than ever, you need to be killing it online. It’s not too late to catch up. And it’s never too late to interrupt.