Adversity is the foundation of success. Natsune Oki, Founder of ForeignConnect.org
When an adversity hits, you have two options.
1) To look at it and be a victim and lose.
2) To look at it as an exciting challenge that grow us and find a way to turn it into an opportunity. Today, we will talk about how we can use this time to grow your business. First of all, this is not disaster for ALL businesses because there are actually a handful of sectors who benefitted from this pandemic. Here are some examples.
1. Ten industries that grew because of corona virus
1. Cleaning services With the spread of coronavirus fears around the country, it should come as no surprise that professional cleaning services that sanitize offices, restaurants and homes are in high demand.
2. Delivery services / Meal prep delivery services / Grocery stores /Canned and jarred goods companies Many of the top brands for meal preparation and delivery are skyrocketing due to people spending more time at home and less at restaurants.
3. Game makers and sellers With the novel coronavirus forcing many people to stay at home instead of going out, businesses that create board games, video games, online games and puzzles are popular since they help entertain families & individuals, home parties.
4. Drive-in movie theaters People still need entertainment during pandemic. Drive-in theaters allow people to take in a show from their own car and provide a way for families to get out of the house.
5. Liquor and wine stores With many bars closed around the United States due to COVID-19, local liquor and wine stores have dramatically increased sales.
6. Fitness equipment companies With many gyms closed across the U.S., Americans have turned to home gyms in order to help them stay fit during the coronavirus crisis. While yoga mat purchases are likely the number one purchase for many working out at home, other fitness products are seeing success.
7. Coffee subscription companies With many consumers unable to buy coffee in person because shops are closed or they are hesitant to leave their homes, coffee companies that offer home delivery are seeing increased demand.
8. Online education services Even before COVID-19, there was already high growth and adoption in education technology, with global EdTech investments reaching US$18.66 billion in 2019 and the overall market for online education projected to reach $350 Billion by 2025. Education has changed dramatically, with the distinctive rise of e-learning, whereby teaching is undertaken remotely and on digital platforms. Research suggests that online learning has been shown to increase retention of information, and take less time, meaning the changes coronavirus have caused might be here to stay.
9. Furniture sellers With more people spending time at home seemingly than ever due to COVD-19, furniture sales have increased to help people make living rooms, patios, and home offices more comfortable.
10. Mask makers People wear masks all the time everywhere!
There is a reason why there industries are doing good. Why? because people's behavior change and hence there a new willingness is born for people to spend money on. Just like mask consumption like who in the world did you guess that people would be ok to wear a mask outside of Asia!? So now, let's talk about consumer behavior change that can be used by wider industry.
2. What changed in consumer behavior ?
1. People are spending more time on screen & between entertainment and education
The coronavirus changed how much time people spent in front of screens over the last six months. And with winter approaching and many states reinstating restrictions, Americans will likely be stuck at home again – and living more of their lives through screens once more.
Data from YouGov shows that throughout the course of the pandemic, people of all age groups have increased time with TV, Youtube and Facebook.
A permanent shift has taken place across the industry from a linear platform to a digital platform. - Alexia Quadrani JP Morgan Head of U.S. Media Equity Research
Regardless of corona, people moving digital platforms including live streaming and social media for their media consumption is no longer a news! Regardless the pandemic, this is a phenomena that is ALREADY HAPPENING. On top of the media consumption moving to digital, the way people shop was also moving to digital. What happen during the pandemic is that even people who had never bought online started shopping online.
3. People are shopping online
Site visits to the Top 2000 North American e-commerce sites collectively increased 18.7% year over year during the three-month period from March to June 2020—the peak of the coronavirus pandemic and store closures in the U.S. On average, the Top 2000 online retailers grew traffic 125% year over year, getting a bump from fast-growing categories like office supplies and sporting goods, - the latest Digital Commerce 360 analysis shows.
4. What is the long term effect of this change in the economy and the way people shop?
Will this last? According to McKinsey, yes. This "corona effect on people's shopping behavior" looks like something that will stay with us after the COVID-19.
So basically COVID-19 just speeded up what was about to happen by force.
5. What can YOU do as a business?
What does this all mean?
There are three things we can say about the customers' behaviors today.
Make Your Online Store
First, it is no surprise to say that you need to make your business stoppable online. In this new era, having an online store will become like having a social media account. It is a must item for businesses today adjusting to the new customers' shopping behavior and preferences.
Secondly, look at another survey from McKinsey! This is a data from October 2020 - it shows that people are less willing to spend money. So what does this lead to? Well, this data can be out of date as it is 3-4 month old by now, but if we assume that this is the new normal then one thing that is for sure is that
NOW, more than ever, branding is so important - Natsune Oki, founder foreignconnect.org
Why? Because think about it, if people's wallets are tight, that means they are selective. How can you still be a brand that's chosen by customers? Now let's look at another survey from McKinsey again! They asked online shoppers what make them to buy and here is their answer.
What this graph clearly show is that you need to triple down your efforts in branding.
I repeat! Now more than ever BRANDING is the king. How can you create a great brand? I have put together the ultimate branding guide here.
The bottom line is contents, contents and contents!!!! Why does creating contents work? Because each content adds context in who you are that becomes your brand equity.
We broke down what branding is in 3 foundations.
1. Humanizing the brand.
2. Building trustworthy relationship with customers
which essentially leads to creating a deep and important relationship with your audience and
3. Doing 1 and 2 at scale.
How do we do this? 1 and 2, you can do this by engaging with your customers, story telling to customers in different ways, relating with them in the way they want you to relate to you, creating contents that resonate with or help your customers, collaborating with influencers ( who by the way, with the pandemic, there should be some influencers who are available at cheaper cost than usual). Finally, you can do 3 with massive contents creation and distribution. As I mentioned, 80% of going viral is about odd and chances. So the more contents you make and the more contents you distribute, the better chance you have to reach more audience.
Another powerful thing e-commerce unlocks is it removes the borders between countries. Now, you can sell your product to international audiences. So you don't have to stay within your country. In fact,
Last year, there was an estimated 82.59 million e-commerce users in Japan. It has been forecasted that this number will increase by 6.33 million users in 2021. By that time, it has been projected that users will spend an average of $1,257.37 online. - Japanese government.
Your Next Step is: 1. In order to enter the Japanese market, we will research the local market and make marketing, branding strategies and plans. 2. Clarify the brand position and message based on the planned strategy. 2. Create and operate online shops and websites in Japanese based on the brand value. 3. Create massive amount of contents in Japanese based on marketing and branding strategies. 4. Distribute the created content from all mediums. 5. Create a brand culture and gain awareness through working with Japanese influencers.
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