COVID-19 Thoughts and Insights from Highlands Point of View

During this unprecedented time, everyone at Highlands has adapted our working practices and are staying focused on our commitment to our clients. We’ve adhered to government guidelines, closing our offices and social distancing since mid-March, keeping the health and safety of our employees, our communities and our business partners as our top priority.   

It’s no secret that coronavirus has changed the world forever:

  • Societal functions halted from sports to concerts to conferences 
  • People hoarding supplies 
  • Working, learning and socializing remotely 
  • Content consumption has shifted (streaming services, social media) 
  • Businesses making financial and operational decisions amidst rapidly evolving market conditions 

We have predictions for the post COVID-19 world as it relates to our industry: 

  1. Working practices will change

We anticipate that the steady increase of people working from home will increase much more rapidly and more people will work remotely more often.

Before COVID-19 versus After COVID-19

We anticipate that creating a productive home office will become a much bigger market for the foreseeable future. Do you have products and services that are targeted to and can fulfill these new work-from-home demands? 

  1. eCommerce will continue to accelerate – only faster

We already know that all of our digital touch points have been important to customers on their path to purchase.

igital touchpoints have been important to customers on their path to purchase

The magnifying lens of worldwide stay at home orders has accelerated many businesses shift toward digital.

Based on Cleveland Research Company’s benchmark results, manufacturers expect eCommerce to reach 21% of their U.S. retail sales in 2021, up from 15% seen in 2019. These results are consistent across essential and non-essential categories and this amounts to four-plus years of mix shift compared to the trajectory the US was in pre-crisis, making 2021 now look like what 2025 was expected to look like pre-crisis.

This means that companies need to re-evaluate personnel, technology and capabilities investments to support the business coming out of the crisis.

3. The new economic norm

We’ve seen the global economy take a big hit over the last two months. Now that the world is slowly starting to reopen, we are just beginning to see what the New Normal will look like. Our third prediction is that there will be a heavy focus on health, safety and wellness for the imminent future. Many government guidelines for businesses already include limiting the number of people in groups, how close they can sit near each other and adding in new safety measures like dividers, additional cleaning procedures and more rules around staying home when you’re feeling under the weather.

We think it will be increasingly important to communicate how your business is implementing new safety measures and how you are keeping your employees and your customers safe. This can be any number of things from reducing the number of hands that touch a product, to sanitizing it before it’s shipped, to sharing best practices on how to disinfect items without damaging them.

Plan now for recovery

Here is a quick checklist to consider and help get you started:

  1. Take a deeper look at the resiliency of your production and transportation networks
  2. Consider expanding your online presence as this will be a key step in preparing for the post-pandemic marketplace
  3. Adjust your planning to take stark marketplace disruptions more seriously
  4. Make disruption planning part of your overall strategy

Highlands is here for you as you continue to work through this journey. We will continue to maintain high contact levels, execute virtual product training and create immediate opportunities for our clients where we can.

Stay safe, we will get through this, together.