The covid 19 pandemic has impacted economies all over the world. The pandemic has been challenging for everyone, from lockdowns to production halts to people losing their jobs, and many even their lives.
The past two years taught the world that nothing is inevitable, and business especially should always be prepared to cope with unprecedented changes.
Most businesses faced a considerable amount of loss in sales, especially during the initial months of covid 19. Business sales in many companies dropped by more than 15%, and losses for “non-essential” products were even more substantial. For example, clothing sales dropped by 52%, accommodation sales by 92%, and bars by 86%.
The challenges faced by small businesses were even more unprecedented. In the state of Florida, over 60% of jobs in the past ten years were created by small businesses. Due to forced or voluntary shutdowns, significant losses were incurred by these small businesses. The majority of the loss was from the arts, entertainment, and recreation sector, followed by the transportation & warehouse sector, accommodation & foodservice sector, education services, real estate sector, and other industrial sectors.
The small business faced a significant decrease in gross revenue, especially from the arts, entertainment, and recreation sectors. People were less likely to use their disposable incomes on leisure and entertainment. This shows that the business was making losses, but people lost jobs, and the quality of life for the community was also affected.
The business had to lay off approximately 13% of their employees to reduce expenses; many had to face supply chain issues, which added to their expenses reducing gross income. Almost 40% of small business owners who could not cope with the fast changes in consumer behavior and lockdowns had to close their business due to the losses and next to no income or sales.
What Kept Businesses Afloat?
In contrast to the above details, online sales grew by 180%! The covid-19 pandemic forced everyone to go digital. Buyers, sellers, workers, with everyone staying at home due to lockdowns, working from home has become the new normal.
Decision-makers have embraced the change to digital and remote involvement in all countries examined worldwide, indicating that it is far from a local phenomenon. B2B sales leaders have progressed from being “forced” to adopt digital to a growing belief that digital is the way to go.
The ease with which B2B purchasers make substantial new purchases and reorders online is the most telling evidence that digital sales have matured. E-commerce was once thought to be primarily for fast-moving parts and low-ticket items, according to conventional opinion. That is no longer the case. Interestingly, 70% of B2B decision-makers indicate they are willing to spend more than $50,000 on new products or remote purchases, while 27% say they would be willing to spend more than $500,000.
Furthermore, B2B stakeholders worldwide think that remote and online selling is as effective as, if not more, than in-person interactions. Sellers believe that digital marketing is just as effective as in-person meetings to interact with clients.
This massive shift to digital marketing has also increased video and live chat as the primary medium for connecting with closing sales with clients. At the same time, in-person sales and meetings have relatively plummeted.
The New Normal
Since the pandemic’s beginning, revenue produced from video-related interactions has increased by 69%. More than any other channel, video conferencing and e-commerce now contribute 43% of total B2B revenue.
This isn’t only true for B2B sellers and buyers, but also consumers are buying increasingly more through online platforms.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, people all over the world have relied heavily on e-commerce to buy everything from necessities to holiday gifts. These changes in consumer behavior will likely remain the same, and the use of e-commerce will stay for a long time. Ecommerce has also revolutionized convenience, with classic tactile purchasing experiences like grocery shopping seeing a significant increase.
This type of change in consumer behavior usually takes decades, but due to the pandemic, almost ten years of e-commerce adoption was compressed into 100 days.
The move to an e-commerce-first mindset occurred in nations where online buying was already widely accepted and in societies where in-person, local, cash-based, and daily purchasing is the norm.
In this era of digital marketing, we have created a number of challenges, possibilities, and conventions that will determine how we buy and sell in the near future. But as of now, sales in both B2C and B2B businesses will be majorly through online channels.