As we all know from personal experience Covid 19 has severely impacted business across the entire globe. In some instances, whole industries have been destroyed – from their retail stores to their production capabilities everywhere you look industries are in turmoil. Some are slowly getting back on their feet whilst others still lay prostrate on the canvass wondering ‘what the hell just happened?’.
But it is not just the business community that has been wounded, Covid has stopped people in their tracks too and confined many to their community bubble. When it comes to the business community we are reminded of the ancient city of Pompeii where the entire town to this day lays frozen in time when the inhabitants were blind-sided by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79AD and were cut down by the pyroclastic debris that rained down on the city and deadly gases finished off anyone with ideas of escape. Bodies lay where they fell 2,000 year ago. And walking down high streets across the country there is an eerily similar feeling. Drinks still in darkened refrigerators, tables and chairs stacked up in doorways, winter 2020 promotions still on display. And it is a grim, yet realistic prediction that we have not seen the last of the Covid 19 business casualties.
Airport duty-free is 90% less than average with some international terminals like Gatwick South terminal closed for business entirely. It is not just the airports that have no humans. The world’s leading cities for entertainment, accustomed to welcoming millions of excited tourists with cash burning holes in their pockets are like ghost towns too. Theatre stages are deathly silent and even the City That Never Sleeps is in a coma and Times Square totally deserted even on New Year’s Eve.
Brands are in a state of paralysis. Many caught between a rock and a hard place with so many things once taken for granted now being pined for – many bereaved business owners painfully working through the five stage of grief with the final cruel twist being that acceptance is of their own unavoidable demise.
Will customers ever return, will shops ever reopen? Surely yes. Will it be this year, or will it be next year? One of the biggest losers in all the Covid chaos is the events industry. The first to be closed and probably, and in my view unfairly, the last to reopen. Not only are the millions of people that work on events now without employment they have also fallen through the net of government support. The events that once were their burning passion and livelihoods have been banished into the darkness with only memories of a happier time as scant comfort. Many events will not return.
Some industries once reliant on an industry trade show to launch their latest and greatest product, inform journalists about their strategic objectives and speak with their most loyal customers have been DE platformed and their microphones unceremoniously confiscated by Covid 19. Many trade shows, expos and conferences are already off the agenda again in 2021. It predicted there will be some high-profile casualties with some events facing bankruptcy squarely in the face.
Many companies have turned to the internet as their salvation. Brands that have been traditionally cautious when it comes to online have gone ‘all in’ since March.
Digital investments have been fast-tracked and prioritised to try and cultivate online revenues. For some companies already dominant online, like online car portals, their share prices have rocketed and for the rest it is a game of catch up.
But no matter how hard brands try to cultivate online sales, the simple fact of the matter is that for some industries customer experience is still key and nothing can replace the physical experience of touching or feeling a product. For many luxury brands there were multiple opportunities to engage their VIP customers – if you didn’t catch them at the airport as they were rushing for their flight you could surely tempt them to your boutique before their Mediterranean Michelin-starred degustation. But this is no longer the case. These once assured revenue streams are but a trickle. The boutiques have their shutters down, footfall at the mall is small and a brand’s most discerning VIPs can no longer be wined and dined at a private industry after-party.
For many brands, the challenges are too many, too great and time is against them and they will be another fatality on the Covid death register.
But all hope is not lost. What if there was another way?
With the danger and fear of the Covid 19 virus customers will select personal interactions very carefully in the future. Whilst consumers are purchasing more and more online, there is still a desire to touch and feel products.
Brands still need to showcase and demonstrate latest product innovations, educate and offer bespoke products and interface with their most valued customers.
With brands suffering from a loss of footfall in the ‘traditional’ retail environments mentioned above, a mobile experience centre allows customer experiences to continue in the safety of the playground of the consumer.
A well-designed mobile experience centre can feature everything customers would expect to find in a traditional store. The mobile suite also acts as a differentiator and complements online sales activities with a superior yet exclusive experience which is unrivalled in the premium segment.
Rather than waiting for this awful situation to pass, brands can now take proactive steps in re-engaging with customers in a safe, controlled environment with their own ‘invite only’ channel.
Our pop-up space can also facilitate transactions, offer refreshments and host your most valued clients and at their total convenience.
We are here to help make your life easier, your clients’ lives easier and your staff’s lives easier by creating beautiful world-class mobile boutiques that deploy with a push of a button wherever you need it. If that sounds like something you and your customers would welcome, please let me know.