A Changing Business Landscape – Preparing for 2021

Change is the only constant.

What Heraclitus said hundreds of years ago, holds incredibly true today.

The pace of change we are experiencing today is unlike anything we have experienced in recent history. We have to think on our feet to respond to the changes around us or risk being left behind.

To help you navigate through the changes in the economic climate, technology, and consumer behaviours, we have put together a guide for preparing for 2021.

Data Will Reign Supreme

Unlocking data helps in gaining timely insights on customer behaviours which are critical to production planning, supply chain management, and sales activities.

In uncertain times, where many businesses are facing demand fluctuations and evolving customer preferences, data can come to the rescue.

This is particularly true for manufacturing companies. Data coupled with smart technologies can make factories more efficient when it comes to production and more agile in their ability to react to change.

Data can also guide manufacturers on optimal resource allocation by identifying areas of focus such as innovation and product design.

Sustainability is Here to Stay

Sustainability is steadily becoming an important consideration for many consumers across the world. They are making a conscious effort to choose green, ethical, and sustainably produced products.

A recent study from IBM and the National Retail Federation highlights that almost 70% of consumers in the U.S. and Canada feel that it is important for a brand to be sustainable or eco-friendly.

This is why brands are now reimagining their offerings, evaluating the impact of their operations on the environment, and pledging to go carbon neutral.

Microsoft, for instance, announced earlier this year that the brand will be carbon negative by 2030. Additionally, it will also work towards removing all the carbon, from the environment, that it has emitted either directly or by electrical consumption since it was founded in 1975.

Technology Enablement is Key

Technology enablement has become a necessity in today’s economic climate. Having the ‘right’ systems in place can help increase efficiency, optimize resource allocation, and reduce overall costs.

Integrating technology from end-to-end, from demand planning to retail management, and across departments, from operations and marketing to accounting and HR, can deliver multiple benefits. These include streamlining business activities, identifying efficiencies, and cross-departmental sharing of data.

Working with a strategic partner can help you review different solutions available on the market, such as back-office ERP solutions and customer-facing CRM systems, to create a technology framework that meets your needs.

Omnichannel Presence and E-commerce are the Future

This really doesn’t come as a surprise.

With widespread closures and lockdowns, across the world, online purchases saw an increase in 2020. According to Statistics Canada, retail e-commerce sales nearly doubled from February to May 2020 – witnessing an increase of +99.3%.

It’s interesting to see how the concept of retail has evolved this year.

The focus, particularly for brands in the fashion, retail, and F&B sectors, has now shifted to building better relationships with their consumers virtually. This is being done through stronger social media presence, personalization, and omnichannel support.

Many brands, in the B2C space, for instance, have realized that being less formal and more personal can help them better connect with their audiences, during these uncertain times.

So, as we welcome the new year, we need to reimagine our processes and take a critical look at our legacy systems. The world is changing and we have to embrace this change to thrive.

Not sure where to start? Connect with us to explore different solutions that you can leverage to stay competitive in today’s business landscape.