Digital acceleration through the pandemic

As we shift towards recovering from a pandemic that took everyone by surprise, it is essential to look at how it has changed industry practices and how we, as a global community, have evolved and adapted to the changes brought forth by it. The pandemic in itself has certainly given all of us, whether individually or as an organization, a company or a business, small and big, an opportunity to view things with a new outlook. Amidst all of it, we cannot ignore how the digital transformation has seen exceptional growth. As we underwent lockdowns, most physical shops shutting down, and life coming to a standstill, our attention shifted to online services. The quickest to adapt to this challenge were educational institutions that never stopped imparting knowledge to their students by swiftly adjusting to digital methods to communicate and teach, with such success that we could not have imagined before.

As much as the pandemic wounded several big and small companies and businesses, many of them prospered and thrived in an undefeated sense. The pandemic triggered e-commerce to accelerate at a radically high speed. As people got used to the pandemic, businesses and consumers increasingly transferred themselves into digital platforms and went online. According to the Global Review published by UNCTAD, e-commerce’s share of global retail trade increased from 14% in 2019 to 17% in 2020, marking a steep 3% increase within a year. In the event where the mentioned report was released, the UNCTAD Acting Secretary-General Isabelle Durant said: “Businesses and consumers who were able to ‘go digital’ have helped mitigate the economic downturn caused by the pandemic. “But they have also sped up a digital transition that will have a lasting impact on our societies and daily lives – for which not everyone is yet prepared,” she said, adding: “Developing countries should be not only consumers but also active players and thus producers of the digital economy.”

For instance, as seen in the digital advertising firm Brill Media, built with work from home employees, the agency growth accelerated during the pandemic making it California’s 7th fastest-growing private company. During the recent crisis hit, Robert Brill, the CEO of Brillmedia. co was presented with the dilemma of whether to advise their clients to keep advertising themselves during the pandemic or not. He finally turned this question into a research project – a 70-page guide to marketing during a recession. “Looking back to major downturns like the Great Depression, the dot-com bubble and the Great Recession of 2008, we found that companies that increased their marketing expenditures saw profits ranging from 4 to 340 per cent above those of competitors who maintained or decreased marketing spend.” He advised his clients to continue advertising irrespective of the pandemic and did so for his own company. This contributed to dramatically expanding its internal marketing infrastructure through 200 new inquiries within two months.

Another such case is that of Triangle Home Fashions, founded by Jenny Zhu in 2008 when she decided to be a game-changer when the ECommerce market was still in its dawn. Leadership, innovation and service were the core qualities she focused on. Triangle Home Fashions, aimed at being not just a retailer of impeccable and comprehensive accessible home fashions for every room but also managed global production, complete warehousing and a direct distribution network for the speedy delivery of the goods. Jenny credits the company’s success to five factors:

  1. To stay agile and flexible.
  2. Diversification of the supply chain.
  3. Offering employees work flexibility.
  4. Focusing on customers. “We tend towards making life easier for our customers by giving them the tools to create their personal designer looks. Adding to it, she says, “We also help our retail partners everywhere with a collection of products that are designed to work together.”
  5. Her fifth factor, which served as a critical point during the pandemic, was “Think Digital First”!
  6. She says that by shifting their focus on technology and e-commerce, Triangle seamlessly responded to the increasing online demands whereas, on the other hand, traditional stores kept losing traffic over time.

It was a nightmare for Marcus Gillam, CEO of a Toronto-based construction management firm, when the Ontario Provincial Government ordered shut down of non-essential construction works. The company immediately suffered an 80 per cent decrease in its revenue. But Gilliam kept his head high and continued to have utter confidence over his company and his employees. Coming into the workforce back in the 1990s when they were coming out of a deep recession, he says, “I have learned from that experience, and this one, that going forward, we need to keep our powder dry and manage the balance sheet.” Keeping cautions and adapting to new tools for tackling the challenges during an emergency will keep your company running.  He adds, “Much of our operations can be done online, but we still use paper in some cases. We have a strong impetus to move processes online.” His move to digitalize his processes saved his company. It allowed him to rebound to about 95 per cent of capacity within a short span of the US Government reopening all services during the first lockdown.

Digital transformation during the crisis that arose from the Covid Pandemic helped several companies to keep their head above the sea of uncertainty and downfall. Overtaking E-bay to become the second-biggest e-commerce company after Amazon by US market share in 2020, Shopify processed $64 billion worth of merchandise worldwide which demanded creating 64 per cent more new stores than the past six weeks from March 13 to April 24 2020. The need to increase the stores resulted from business to consumer company retailers who rushed online during the pandemic.

We at CANIT Solutions ensured our clients could experience uncomplicated and swift digital transformation by working ceaselessly towards the same. We kept our digital marketing services persistent to the growing needs of the market. The consistency with which we worked enabled businesses to engage with their customers seamlessly. Ask our clients!