Michael Goetzman

Turbocharged trends amid Covid-19

Obviously, the world has changed with the arrival of Covid-19. The new-normal replaced routine activities, but how? I wanted to explore how areas are shifting: increasing, declining, and overall amplifying pre-pandemic trends. Activities once regular and often taken for granted are now considered significant and valuable today. My research begins with a question “What am I unaware of?” Every sector of life is experience volatility and attempting readjustments to adapt to these awkward conditions.

In all this, the element of chaos has risen to the peak and waves of peaks. We have a lot to consider and each moment shifts those considerations, so consider this a snapshot of today’s date. Many people are facing immense difficulties in aligning themselves with the changing situations. However, it is possible as human beings to adapt to Covid-19’s situations long-term.

This post dives in and describes the significant “turbocharged trends” and what that means for us, help us through this time, and adjust society going forward. So, without further ado, let us dive in.

Retail Businesses

Retail was already struggling. Business workflows and methodologies have faced an immense shift with Amazon eating their cake. Add the elements of COVID-19 to the mix and this trend gets turbocharged. The businesses that were once considered not too efficient are now serving as one of the main pillars of businesses failing.

Fall of office spaces and commercial buildings:

This one hits close to home for me, as I worked in commercial real estate. Brokers are greedy and full of shady deals such as valuations of real property values. Add COVID-19, when social distancing becomes a concern, and suddenly their pushes for librarying works and open spaces falls on its face. Even the norm of having business meetings and proceedings in offices has been avoided to a great extent. Almost all of the commercial white-collar businesses have either adopted the strategy of working from home or calling a few of the major employees to office spaces and allowing the rest to work from home; carrying out the activities on online platforms completely.

How do we adapt?


Ecommerce:

Ecommerce is the practical and most actionable methods of keeping the routine functionalities of life going yet maintaining distance from others. Gaining the access to people’s needs and wants of products coming straight at you to your doorsteps. Online shopping has formed the basis of ease for many individuals and saved them from possible infections struggling through large, crowded spaces. However, it holds issues for those who are not comfortable with the idea of online shopping, we want to call them “dinosaurs”. For them, the “dinosaurs”, the solution could be to reach out to the stores directly who are offering their services via a “telephone”. Should we be this harsh? No. honestly, we have third-world internet connectivity that costs a fortune. We can’t expect everyone to have this ability. We need to adapt to high-speed interest connectivity as a RIGHT, not a luxury.

Direct-to-consumer brands:

Direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands are much more common nowadays as it was a few years ago. It is one of the effective methods to cut out middlemen. It allows the customers to request goods straight from the source and gain help from brands directly without delays. DTC is a significant shift for both consumers and businesses alike. More room for flexibility and profits, while allowing businesses to set themselves apart from other brands with customer service. Will individual organizations be able to capture data from their customers directly to allow them to merge into new markets?

Better online customer experiences:

Before Covid-19, very few businesses were investing a portion of their investment in the improvement of the online experience for their customers. They stuck with their bread and butter for profits. However, due to the virus, businesses were required to innovate and adapt to stay alive and pivoted significant attention towards digitization, providing their customers with a smooth and surreal online experience. I morbidly joke, it wasn’t the CEO, wasn’t the CTO, it was the C-OVID, that pushed innovation.

Monitoring of shopping habits:

Despite the fact that majority of shopping experiences have moved to online platforms, it is still necessary for customers to monitor their shopping habits. Online shopping without monitoring prices and delivery times can lead wasted cash. In addition, uncontrollable addiction of buying items as you can easily click the ‘buy it now’ button, making the whole process guilt-free. I predict more third-party plugins such as Chrome’s ‘camel camel camel’/camelizer will become more popular.

Manufacturing

Since the beginning of Covid-19 the fight between China and United States manufacturing was turbocharged. China serves as the major portion of the world's manufacturing industries, taking the rest of the world’s intellectual property and applying it hands-on with cheap labor. Add the virus and both countries’ lockdowns caused immense consequences and it became clear two styles emerged. United States ideals, politics, and culture allowed partial functioning factories however the virus was able to claim many deaths. China came in forcefully and strong and locked down regions, this allowed them to climb out of lockdowns faster and run at full force. Nevertheless, The virus led to a drastic decline in this industry of the world, with China’s forcefulness able to capture market share.

According to Cision PR Newswire:

As per the estimation by United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the COVID-19 outbreak could cause global FDI to shrink by 5%-15%, due to the downfall in manufacturing sector coupled with factory shutdown. 

It highlights the effect of this pandemic on the manufacturing industry that forms a significant percentage of the world's economy. One last thing to note before we discuss how the industry should adapt, is shipping costs have skyrocketed. Sometimes 5x previous costs!!

How do we adapt?


Controlled Environments:

The best way to deal with the decline of the manufacturing industry is to set up controlled environment for operations. A complete shutdown of the facilities has proven to be of no benefit to anyone. However, the idea of executing manufacturing activities under proper protections and isolation is the key. Some of the industries have already heavily adapted and a few more are on the way to execute this method properly. Even post Covid, expect further separation and better technology to protect workers.

Collaboration and Digitization:

Another fruitful method for the manufacturing industries is to collaborate through execute of broad activities without building the pressure on a single area. Some of the industries avoided the methodology of collaboration instead of aiming for independence. Along with that, having a reliable and robust online platform for all the manufacturing industries of the world to consult and build up each other during these times is the key. Expect supply chains to turbocharge their partnerships.

Shipping:

Shipping costs may never come back down to previous levels, as demand skyrockets, there is only so much space to move cargo. Expect technology advances, AI-driven vehicles, lower cost ways to get product from overseas. Hopefully localization as well, instead of getting raw materials and partial supply chains overseas, perhaps right over the border makes more sense.

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