negatively impacted. Everybody. Well, unless you are Zoom. Even ecommerce companies who saw demand shooting through the ceiling were unable to fulfil their orders because of lack of delivery options. Short term is bad. Period.
The world tomorrow will increasingly go online. It helped that the last five years, consumers shifted online. That was an evolutionary process. We expect a revolution. If it can be done online, it will be done online. We believe this to be the most significant change post COVID.
At least in the medium term. This means that businesses will need to implement measures that make them COVID proof. Or COVID compliant. These are likely to be terms that get stamped onto all products and services in the future.
We spoke to a founder who has created an anti-bacterial apparel range that keeps his product odour-free. He is now working on an expanded application of his core anti-bacterial tech.
Or rather, the definition of a core need will change. The world will not go back to how it was. Consumer preferences will be dynamic and, in many cases, surprising too. For instance, one of the recent studies indicates that physical and mental health is currently highest on many people’s priorities. We believe ‘essentials’ and ‘discretionary’ may not the same buckets that they are today.
Dumbells & home workouts
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If ever there was a time to define/redefine your core business, then this is that time. Knowing what you are and what you are not – and then relooking at those thoughts and beliefs in the light of the current situation is mandatory for all of us. It will be a very rare business indeed that will pick up from where they left it on the first day of the first lockdown.
Always a truism. Never more valid. Postpone, defer, getout of commitments that don’t seem to make sense in the medium term. Most investors fear that the funding tap will slow down to a trickle so running out of money may be a prelude to shutting down.
A follow on to the earlier conclusion. We will all have to work in a resource constrained environment and will have to take decisions that are suboptimal. We will be forced to operate frugally, forced to make tough choices. As is often said by the many VC firms, the best companies are usually formed during times of crisis.
With customers, partners, teams. This is the time to show that you care, that you are willing to invest in learning and becoming better. The brands that survive this crisis will be infinitely stronger and more valuable in the future.
Even when the world comes back, consumers may have become more comfortable online. This is the time to re-negotiate rents , get rid of unprofitable stores, make your business more efficient. And go online. As much as you can. Going where the consumer is will become the core strength of all businesses tomorrow.
Think of the community you operate in. Give something back during this time. The good that brands will do will be remembered.
We all complain about lack of time on a daily basis. We have the time now. To think about strategy, about the future, that experimental project that nobody in the team ever got around to doing – now you have the time to do it.
The optimistic among the surveyed spoke about a ‘consumpt ion spike’ post the virus dying down. Consumers who flock to buy products and services that they did not have access to.
Taking on from our understanding that all companies are impacted in the short term, what happens in the medium term and long term? When the world starts coming back, when lockdowns start getting lifted, when the consumer starts shopping again, when supply chains start getting restored, delivery of most products resume – how do different categories get impacted?
We realised that the answer to this question actually lies in the answers to a whole bunch of other questions that will need to be applied to the category you operate in
While every category will have nuances that impact how the business comes back, the 2 biggest factors that impact this are:
While the answer to ‘A’ is obvious to each of you, we double clicked on what ‘essential’ products and services would look like in a post COVID world.
The lockdown has forced all of us to go back to things that matter. In a recent survey conducted across 3 cities and 200 respondents, many of the respondents we spoke to echoed this sentiment, with some even confessing that this was a blessing in disguise. Some picked up new hobbies, while others have reconnected with forgotten passions.
We believe that habits that have been formed or rekindled during the isolation phase, will influence the new normal definitions of essential and discretionary.