As we continue to navigate the Covid-19 global pandemic, a couple of things have been made clear. One, there is a need to shift and adapt our current system, and two, the importance of access to innovative technology and resources that make this shift possible. One of the major shifts we have seen is the move to online. Many, if not all, businesses have had to move either partially or completely online. As we all continue to flatten the curve while attempting to maintain productivity and a level of normalcy, online has become the safest place to conduct business. Perhaps you’ve taken this as an opportunity to finally update your website and broaden your services, or maybe you’ve been forced to re-think your whole business model, either way, the shift online is possible and worth it! Who knew Covid-19 would help improve online businesses? Below are 9 ways businesses have been pushed online and how they’re not just surviving, but thriving!
1. Use online shopping to improve online businesses
Online shopping and e-commerce businesses are not new, however, these industries have boomed over the past 6 months. Stores that were already offering online options have increased their inventories and streamlined their services. Online stores allow shoppers to get all their essential and non-essentials quickly, and easily, and often delivered right to their door! Anything from clothing to groceries, to electronics, online stores have thrived during this time. There has also been an influx of new online shopping trends that go above and beyond the typical buy and sell model.
More restaurants offer home delivery, and take-out orders can be placed online or through apps, with many spots offering discounts to encourage you to stay home. Curbside pick-up has been introduced, where patrons can now buy online and pick up without having to enter the store, or if they do, the interaction is quick and minimal.
2. Virtual fitness classes
One of the many devastating effects of Covid-19 is the bi-product of becoming more sedentary. While being encouraged to stay home is necessary, it often means less physical activity or activity in general. Most people today opt for out-of-home exercise options, like going to the gym or a yoga studio. That has either become a non-option through facility closure, restrictions, or personal choice. Going back into a gym and exercising using shared equipment doesn’t appeal to most people, and can you blame them? Fitness facilities know this and as a result, have adapted their model to help support their clients to stay in shape from home. Yoga, barre, personal trainers, and even spin studios are offering in-home workout options, all online! They usually require you to have at least some equipment, but otherwise, all you need is a bit of floor space and an internet connection. Offering a variety of live and pre-recorded classes, virtual gyms are an awesome way to keep your fitness business afloat. Providing added benefits to your virtual gym website like a store to buy equipment, a blog to learn about pre and post-workout stretching, and access to personal trainers are all ways to help provide added value and maximize the online model.
3. Mindfulness, mediation, and spiritual practices online
Did you know you can join meditation and prayer groups online? Small businesses that previously offered in-person meditation and mindfulness practices or other types of worship have been drastically affected by the pandemic. These businesses relied on people coming together, and often providing cash donations, but now that’s not an option. As you do your part to stay apart and limit interactions, businesses that relied on community have suffered. By moving online and using platforms such as Zoom, you can shift the community online as well and accept payments and donations ahead of time.
4. Improve online businesses through conferences and seminars
Much like online shopping, webinars have been a popular way to connect online and host events, but now we’re seeing conferences and seminars all held online. Meetings that would otherwise have to be canceled are being moved to the internet, which is another reason functioning websites and video-chat options are so valuable right now!
5. Coaching and consulting
All sorts of coaching and consulting practices are being done online, whether it’s through email, online messaging, or video calling. Life, career, and relationship coaching are offered online, as well as nutritional, financial, and business consulting, and more! Practices that were centered around in-person models have now shifted and investing in the best web design, SEO friendly blogs, video-chatting, and other features for your website are paramount to staying competitive in your industry.
6. Therapy and counseling
Both one-on-one and group therapy and counseling have moved online. This is great news for both practitioners and patients because it ensures counselors can continue to work and it means those in need have better access to care. There are no longer limitations based on location, now the best care can happen over the computer. Make sure your website is capable of connecting with clients online!
7. Online Medicine
Although there are some aspects of medicine that cannot be done online or over the computer, we’re learning that many others can be! Certain online features such as clinic wait times, telemedicine, and video chatting, as well as symptom checking features on websites, are all awesome features to come out of the pandemic. There are even refillable prescription options and delivery options being done online so you don’t have to leave the house to get taken care of. Another type of medicine that has moved online is physiotherapy, where physiotherapists instruct patients over the computer. Now is definitely the time to invest in healthcare web design to ensure you can offer the best care to your patients and clients.
One of the most controversial industries to move online is education. Although online classes have always been an option, now we’re seeing it as less of an option and more mandatory. There has certainly been an increase in what’s being offered over the internet. Previously, online courses were often pre-recorded, or otherwise designed as distanced learning, but recently educators around the globe have had to troubleshoot new ways of teaching. Websites that offer secure test-taking, video chats, and more have become crucial for both educators and students.
9. Events and entertainment
Who misses parties, concerts, social events, and entertainment? We know we do! The entertainment industry also misses it greatly. Seemingly overnight, an entire industry that was centered around bringing people together went silent. Having to move parties and events online has been a huge learning curve. Unlike many other industries, entertainment relies on bringing strangers together to create a unique experience, in person. This industry was so in-person in fact that many venues had basic and minimal websites. Imagination and innovative web design have been leaders in making sure the entertainment industry does not die. Online concerts now have live chat functions so attendees can share the experience, live dance parties allow you to share playlists, and social mixers and speed daters can relocate to online breakout rooms. This allows people to meet and connect without having to share a physical bubble.
The move to online has not been a seamless one, but it’s been monumental at ensuring the survival of so many businesses and industries as well as the satisfaction of users and patrons. Things like functional web design, state of the art websites, integrative online platforms, and collaborations between experts across fields are what have made this shift possible. Not only have businesses had to change their whole model in a matter of months, but many are also better off for it. We’ll say it again, who knew Covid-19 would help improve online businesses? Now companies can offer both in-person and online options, satisfying more people than before! This shift to online also safeguards businesses, ensuring they can withstand anything, even a global pandemic.
Stay safe, move online!