Business Online Transformation
Companies from diverse industries are transitioning their business operations online using a variety of strategies. Some of these include offering online-only discounts, using platforms to provide online courses, delivering coaching services via livestream, channeling the budget usually used for in-person promotional events toward digital marketing, and making products available online at an earlier stage than usual.
- Because roughly 90% of sales in the USA are made in bricks-and-mortar stores, the retail industry has had to introduce a variety of incentives to generate sales online: Nike emailed a sitewide 25% discount code to their customers, Macy's is offering free shipping on all purchases over $25 (a benefit usually reserved for loyalty members), and American Eagle's Aerie is offering free returns for a limited time.
- Overall online sales have jumped 25% amidst the COVID-19 crisis, with health products and gym equipment being some of the most popular items purchased.
- Usually new movies are shown in cinemas for 90 days before they can be streamed, downloaded or rented online. However, studios like Universal Pictures have made their current releases available online, since major theater chains have closed their premises during the COVID-19 crisis. Viewers can rent current releases for $19.99, slightly more than the average cinema ticket price.
- One benefit of this is that it will give the film industry the opportunity to test an alternative distribution model in terms of its popularity and profitability, with the potential to extend it beyond the COVID-19 crisis.
- The B2B industry has been affected by the cancellation of large in-person events such as trade shows. This style of traditional, in-person marketing is no longer possible, and so many B2B organizations have cut back on or redirected their marketing budget.
- Many B2B companies are using this budget on digital advertising instead. An advantage of this is that it is easier to report on the return on investment in digital advertising. Through digital methods, it is possible to gain more insight into metrics like unique monthly visitors, cost per acquisition, return on ad spend, and cost per lead.
Higher Education Industry
- Just 15% of undergraduates in the U.S. did their coursework totally online in September 2019; however, in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, “schools that haven’t historically embraced online education are now being forced into it." The higher education industry in the U.S is making a fast transition to online teaching. Universities are utilizing platforms such as Canvas, where teachers can share files and set and grade assignments, and students can post questions to peers across other universities.
- Experts have said that increased online education has the potential to both reduce the cost of providing courses and to increase the accessibility of a university education.
Health and Fitness Industry
- In the health and fitness industry, fitness instructors are developing workouts that can be done at home. Programs such as Barry's Bootcamp and Blogilates have new free online options.
- The reach of online classes has the potential to greatly outnumber in-person class attendance. For example, over 18,000 people viewed an online AARMY class within 24 hours, which can be positively compared with their usual participant level of 60 people per class. However, with much of online fitness content being offered for free, benefits lie mainly in exposure rather than directly recouping the income stream from in-person class fees.
Primarily, research was undertaken regarding the initiatives taken to transition business operations online in a range of industries. Because many of these initiatives are very recent, it was not possible to directly quantify their success at this stage. However, where specific data was not available, industry-wide data was included, or research was undertaken to include the opinions of experts in each field in order to include the anticipated benefits of each transition strategy.