A worldwide breakdown which stopped the whole economy
The worldwide pandemic of Covid-19 impacted the lives of billions of individuals by keeping them at home to limit the propagation of the virus, by respecting social distancing, and therefore emphasizing the use of digital technology, online, and connected devices.
In a world where everyone and everything is physically or digitally connected, the system had to adapt at every scale, especially the brands, for their customers and employees.
In that sense, we could see that the adaptation was occurring online and thanks to digital services, on many aspects
- food & grocery delivery (daily life)
- online classes (education)
- streaming platform (entertainment)
- social media (to keep contact & interaction with friends and families)
- video call platforms (professional & personal use)
- working platform: drives, agendas, organization tools (professional use)
Digital innovation tools in the companies’ organization
Use of digital: the solution to the social distancing
In the professional context, digital helped in many ways. As mentioned earlier, the companies used video call platforms (Zoom, Teams, Skype,…) to connect with their colleagues and keep working together even though they were all out of the workplace. Before the virus, many of them were already very familiar with this kind of platform and used to use it when some of the employees or the suppliers were abroad, but very rarely at the scale of the overall company.
Therefore, this new way of working digitally was very new for many of the brands, and it would have been very difficult to deal with this kind of situation 10 years ago.
The use of digital platforms exploded during the breakdown because it helped many brands to keep their employees connected and able to work despite the lockdown and the fact that they had to work remotely. It helped them to continue their activities, prepare projects for the post-crisis, and maintain the ongoing business.
The positive impact of the use of digital tools
Some employees have been even more productive during the breakdown because they were not disturbed by parasites’ demands, and since they were able to manage their time as they wanted, they could decide to make the same amount of work in a small amount of time.
Added to that, the use of drive platforms and organization tools, which most of the brands were already using, increased and showed how useful they were. Therefore, many companies might keep remoted work in their way of doing, in order to reduce costs and gain efficiency and employees’ well-being.
On other aspects, we could clearly see the increase in the use of e-commerce platforms since physical stores were closed. Ten years ago, e-commerce was not that developed and that popular but nowadays it is part of millions of people’s daily life, they use e-commerce platforms for any type of purchase (fashion, electronics, food, hygiene, …).
Brands still have to adapt and make concessions to maintain their activities
However, even though many brands could maintain some sales thanks to e-commerce, the clients had to accept delivery delays most of the time due to the breakdown, the fact that staffing has been reduced and transportation were focused on first-need products.
They used online marketing through social media to keep communicating with their clients and stay in their minds. This is why many brands focused on their website or on e-commerce retailers to maintain their sales and revenues and adapted their offers to fit this new environment, as we can see in the following concrete cases.
This eco-friendly shoes’ start-up is one of the best examples to show the adaptation of a brand to the situation. They realized that technology could be a great tool to improve customer experience and engage the customer in the purchasing process such as “What do I wear Allbirds shoes with?” which would connect the customer with the staff member who could give fashion advice.
They also realized thanks to digital analytical tools that their shoes could fit perfectly with the medical staff’s use and need, so they decided to make a move by setting up a “buy-one-give-one” option which would allow a customer to purchase a second pair which would be donated to a medical staff member, despite the distance, thanks to digital innovation.
The famous bag and luggage’ brand Michael Kors has decided to try live streaming and short videos to present their new bags and stay connected to customers. The use of live streaming is very popular in China because Chinese customers can see the product without having to go physically to the store, they trust the one presenting the product (often KOLs), and they can easily ask questions on the chat to interact with the person presenting.
This is a key event in the Chinese fashion industry so they could hardly think about canceling it completely, and thanks to digital innovation the event got maintained…online.
This year, Shanghai fashion week completely moved online by making a partnership with Tmall (Alibaba), and using mainly live streaming, allowing the “See Now, Buy Now”, as a new way of selling and making shopping. It was a great success, and both Tmall and fashion brands are thinking about keeping this technology in their business strategy.
Digital innovation helped brands during the breakdown
To sum up, the Covid-19 outbreak was a hard time for everyone but thanks to digital technologies and innovations, many brands found a way to overcome the crisis:
- remoted work: a way to reduce costs while gaining efficiency
- focus on e-commerce platforms
- importance of digital marketing
- think about solidarity options
- use of live streaming