How Does A Pandemic (Currently Covid-19) Affect Businesses?
The Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted all aspects of the business chain from the ability to continue manufacturing and producing goods to delivering products and services to consumers. Many companies will close their doors and jobs will be lost be it temporarily or permanently.
- Most businesses for non-essential items have to be fully halted during the lockdown/ MCO period which could last up to a month or longer.
- Employees are barred from getting back to office to work.
- Millions of people are forced to stay at home and are not allowed to go outside unless with valid reason.
- Important meetings and gatherings are banned to uphold social distancing and prevent sporadic spread of Covid19
- Festivals and international conferences have to be cancelled due to restriction from traveling.
- The 2020 Summer Olympics in Japan have to be postponed.
- Certain essential items are being manufactured at maximum capacity but still unable to provide to the whole nation at once.
- If the pandemic continues for several more months, the World Travel and Tourism Council (the trade group representing major global travel companies) projects a global loss of 75 million jobs and $2.1 trillion in revenue
While it remains to be seen how this crisis will impact all sorts of businesses in the long term, it is interesting to explore changes and opportunities in the online and technology industry.
“The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word ‘crisis.’ One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger- but recognize the opportunity.” John F. Kennedy, who lived through the Bay of Pigs (1961-62) crisis.
The Covid-19 pandemic has changed many of our daily activities as consumers and restricted how businesses operate. For individuals, the Movement Control Order (MCO) requires all except those in essential services to work from home. Keeping our social distances and limited trips for essential groceries or health appointments have altered consumer’s behaviours.
All businesses are also affected by these changes in government restrictions and consumer consumption behaviour. Across different sectors, we can see huge varying impacts from buying fresh produce from the morning market to ordering it online and meetings are done online.
INFLICTING TECHNOLOGY OVER REGULAR BUSINESS OPERATIONS
Being barred from going to the office has led millions of people working from home. Communication methods have changed from physical to virtual and through a screen via online communication tools such as Google Hangout, Microsoft Team and Zoom. Watch how we worked from home and fought through all the distractions on the below video;
While that’s for communication, the real estate industry has taken it to another level by offering property visits without leaving your house through Augmented Reality technology. Not only that, you can also visit Central Park of New York and Le Musee du Louvre of Paris from your seat at home. You could also visit Van Gogh’s museum, visit Prague’s castle or even take a stroll through the Vatican.
Meanwhile, the growing need and demand for remote interactions during this pandemic has highlighted and potentially accelerated earlier adoption for a faster, better technology; 5G. Two key areas in need of the lightning-fast speeds, increased connection density and near-instantaneous communication are teleconferencing and telehealth. These two sectors have become critical for enterprise operations during this pandemic.
While 5G might largely change the way we live and do things, people and businesses must first be willing to adapt to newer, more reliable technology. For instance, QR codes were introduced years back but people in Malaysia are just beginning to pick that up and implement them into their businesses. As such, Packtica provides a wide range of solutions from variable data printing to online authentication systems where it will be able to help you slowly transform your traditional operations to a more trendy and secured business.
A CATALYST FOR ONLINE BUSINESSES
Social distancing has led to a massive growth in consumers taking up the online shopping on various e-commerce sites. There has been a clear evidence of drastic sales drop in physical stores but maybe not so for online businesses. The consumer’s buying behaviours are also likely impacted by the panic buying trends and changing perceptions of what purchases are necessary during this hard time.
In the aspect of panic buying, prices have surged to more than 100% for 3-ply surgical masks in Malaysia from RM45 to RM120 per box of 50pcs. Low availability in physical stores and fears around the virus have also sent consumers flocking to the internet to find extortionate priced hand sanitisers and infrared thermometers.
What’s worse is the scammers are working 24/7 and grabbing the opportunity to cheat consumers out of their anxiousness. That’s a down point for buying online but there’s always a solution to it. Hologram stickers/ labels may be the basic protection against fake products but for Packtica, we do not stop there. Our QR codes are complemented with our in-house online verification system for ultra-protection on your goods and brand reputation against fraudulent activities.
On the other hand, it is interesting to see consumers continuing to purchase what may be classified as non-essentials through e-commerce sites. DPD noted growth in online shopping deliveries in Ireland with increases of 45% in clothing, 45% in cosmetics and hygiene products, 200% in electronic goods and others.
Relatively, usage on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and TikTok has largely increased and longer screen time. Online streaming services such as Zulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime have also seen a surge in subscriptions as consumers are spending more time at home.
With higher screen time, does this lead to a golden opportunity for the online marketing industry?
On the other hand, being able to analyse and manage the threats posed by a pandemic is critical for your business survival. A business continuity plan can help you handle the impacts of a pandemic. A comprehensive business continuity plan shall detail your business’s risk management strategies and business impact analysis. It shall describe how your business intends to respond to an incident, specification of a recovery plan and defined policies and procedures for managing staff and communication during the crisis.