We are now three full weeks into the COVID-19 economy and businesses, regardless of industry, are trying to cope with a new reality of teams working from home or stores operating with skeleton crews. These are unique and unusual working conditions for all of us as we adjust strategy to meet unprecedented business volumes and find new ways to drive revenue despite operating restrictions.

I imagine through all of this change we are now encountering will permanently impact consumer expectations and purchasing behavior in the future. Industry experts have cited that this Coronavirus crisis will be the tipping point of success for online grocery ordering. For example, my family has gotten quite comfortable using delivery services for our groceries – will consumers no longer want to shop inside Publix, Kroger, Safeway, or Whole Foods? These brands have substantial real estate investments, in terms of both locations and square footage; will they start shutting down customer-facing aspects of these stores and turn them into fulfillment centers?

Gas stations and convenience stores are another example of potential operational shifts - will it now be a requirement that each station and every gas dispenser carry disposable gloves or risk losing business to those brands that do? How about the hardest-hit industry of them all, fine and casual dining restaurants? Once we all get back to our new normal and self-isolation orders are lifted, will tables be set further apart? With the uptick in curbside pick-up and delivery, restaurants will need less staff as in-restaurant dining is reserved for more special occasions.

As someone working across each of these industries, I can tell you that these and other impacts will affect us all! With the Coronavirus pandemic effectively shelving every single business plan created in late 2019, business operators have no choice but to design and plan for a 2020 relaunch. To get in front of this challenge and be ready when social distancing and other restrictions are lifted, you need one foot in our current reality and one stepping into the future. It will be important to consider your original plan and goals while incorporating new consumer expectations brought on by the unprecedented impact that COVID-19 will have on us all, what we buy and how we buy it.

As the business landscape changes right before our eyes, now is the time to diagnose your current business state and get ready for a 2020 brand relaunch. Click below to review the Customer Impact Study and learn what this new method looks like in practice.
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As Managing Director, Brad Christian consults multi-location businesses on optimizing the customer experience. With a focus on driving location level performance improvement in both customer loyalty and financial metrics, he helps client organizations prioritize initiatives based on their potential to deliver ROI.