Going digital key to business survival

More entrepreneurs are advised to go digital to survive this pandemic and adjust business to changing consumer behaviors that are here to stay.

Citing some research, Rebecca Ricalde, marketing and operations professor in the Asian Institute of Management, said there is a consumer shift to value and essentials.

“It doesn’t mean that people stop buying and in fact, while a lot of people are trying to move or at least they are shifting to probably brands that are more affordable, there are still things, there are opportunities for us to really connect with them,” she said in a

Ricalde said small and medium enterprises should focus on how their products and services “connect” to what is important to the customers.

“For example, some trends, everyone is working from home so making sure that a lot of sellers are now focusing on making that work from home set-up better. Children distance learning, how could we help parents manage children learning online. Celebrating milestones while away from family, giving healthier alternatives because a lot of people are still health conscious and of course giving that convenience. So again, shifting to value and essential so it’s not just this is my product, (but) really try to connect them with how it relieves their pain points or how that could make them happy,” she added.

As more firms shift to digital, Ricalde urged firms to have an “experimental mindset” by creating strategies for products and services that have worked, and investing more on these.

She said they can apply the “80-20 rule”, noting “the 20 percent is for you to try new things and 80 percent is the things you have been doing before. But whatever 20 percent here that works, you have to kind of put it already into the 80 percent and invest in it. And focus on the new 20 percent.”

To those which are intimated by selling online, Ricalde encouraged them to take advantage of platforms like Shopee, Lazada, and LalaFood “because they have customer reach and you actually can see how others are doing it.”

She said business-to-business (B2B) companies need to invest in creating their own website to build credibility.

“There are actually a lot of what we call off-the-shelf –some things that are already readily available online that you could tweak to create your own and explore those options first before fully investing in sophisticated things,” she added.

Ricalde said firms can also invest in resources that they are selling online and to turn these resources to enable their ecommerce or online presence.

“For example, a lot of stores have now turned their physical stores into an ecommerce fulfillment center -they actually process orders from there. Whenever they receive orders, instead of having a warehouse, they actually use their stores and their store attendants to process these orders, enabling pickup services or actually coordinating deliveries from this store. These are things wherein you have to be resourceful about how you are going to go about your online presence,” she said.

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