A new Gartner report analyzes the business impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, and we believe, concludes that ecommerce offers the only practical and effective means for negotiating the crisis. It also provides detailed strategies for upgrading and deploying digital assets.
Mitigate Coronavirus (COVID-19) Business Impacts with Digital Commerce by Gartner Analysts Sandy Shen and Jason Daigler reviews the economic pain points of the pandemic, noting both consumers and companies are struggling with COVID-19’s retail fallout.
Still, the virus has created opportunities as well as inflicted harm. While many businesses suffered wholesale cancellation of event-based orders, they’ve also seen a boom in online commerce.
Few companies have been immune to COVID-19’s ecommerce impacts, the authors find, but the situation is far from hopeless. Shen and Daigler detail effective ways to counter COVID-19’s economic blows while using the lessons of the pandemic to prepare for a future economy that we believe will be predicated on ecommerce.
The report examines all aspects of COVID-19’s business impacts, from supply chain and delivery bottlenecks to digital network breakdown and B2B paralysis. Our take is that an effective response must be a multipronged one, incorporating consumer outreach, staff training, and a wholehearted commitment to bleeding-edge digital technology.
Issues covered by the report include:
- The role of chatbots in augmenting customer service
- Training service reps for coronavirus inquiries
- Why and when to revisit refund policies
- Employing live streaming and video conferencing to boost sales while avoiding scalability and bandwidth limitations
- The necessity of digital product extensions in enhancing customer value and experience
- Drafting effective checklists for systems, supplies, and delivery
- Employing customer journey maps to identify critical steps for digitization
- The advantages of digitizing offline channels and in-person interactions for customer engagement and sales
- Streamlining authentication and login through biometrics
- Managing usage and maintenance through IoT-based services
- Techniques for supporting online document submission and processing
We believe in the report’s message that a major vulnerability for many ecommerce systems is an overreliance on one or two product types, and the authors explain the advantages of a wider portfolio. The report’s underlying theme is the inevitability of ecommerce dominance in the retail sphere—and the fact that companies must respond now to both endure the current crisis and prosper in the post-pandemic economy.“By 2021, organizations with robust, scalable digital commerce will outperform noncommerce organizations by 30 percentage points in sales growth by better using digital channels during the COVID-19 outbreak,” the authors conclude.