In these challenging times, businesses have had to pivot to become ‘digital’ at a breakneck pace. Whether this means that your morning meetings have moved from the office to an online platform such as Zoom, or that your previously sit-in restaurant is now offering a takeaway delivery service, every business has experienced some form of change as a result of COVID-19.
By way of an example, Laynes Espresso, a marvellous coffee shop which first opened its doors to Leeds in 2011 (and counts the writer as one of its first overly enthusiastic customers. Hi Dave!) and has since expanded to offer breakfast and lunch, has, in their own words, had to “…completely flip the business model”. In order to adapt to the current climate, Laynes set up a coffee pickup point with socially distant queues and a designated spot. Since then, they have further adapted their approach to offer a delivery grocery store service, utilising the many courier options that Leeds has to offer.
Another Leeds-based example is Temple Donuts (which, being a local to our Leeds office, we can thoroughly recommend). Pursuant to the Government’s social distancing guidance, Temple Donuts ceased their collection and pre-ordering services and joined the Deliveroo community (for those of you who are not familiar with Deliveroo, they offer the delivery of food from an array of different restaurants and takeaways to your door).
Temple Donuts’ first day of deliveries via the Deliveroo service was on 20 April 2020 and it, quite literally, went down a treat, with roughly 3,500 orders placed. There was only one problem: Temple Donuts’ stock for that day was only enough to satisfy 160 orders. This means that the demand was 2,187.5% higher than the supply! This just goes to show what can be achieved when businesses are willing to keep up with the climate and look at the wider possibilities.
But what does this teach us?
Well, it demonstrates that any business can enter the digital marketplace. This has been seen across the spectrum, be it closed down pubs offering to deliver barrels of beer and other goods to residential homes to mitigate their losses, or local hairdressers offering to deliver hair and beauty products to your door, no business needs to get left behind. It also, importantly, teaches us that it in these fast-changing times, it is easy to overlook the obvious.
It also reminds us about the law of unintended consequences. The ‘unknown unknowns’, will almost always apply to any innovation. There will be things that don’t quite go to plan when you’re breaking new ground…
However, that doesn’t mean you ought to give up before you start. Nor does it mean that you can’t anticipate or mitigate some of the bigger pitfalls. Using a risk-based analysis, and asking the right questions helps. Questions like:
- Can our supply meet the demand? Whose problem is it if it can’t?
- Is the other contracting party up to this/can they meet their contractual obligations/do they reflect our brand and values?
- What is all this about the gig-economy anyway? Are our new hires contractors, employees or workers? And does it really matter?
- Can anyone nick this idea? If so, can I protect it? Do I want to protect it, or do I want to make a difference not a profit?
- Can I use some T&C’s I found on Google? I mean, what’s the worst that can happen?
So, if you’re thinking of taking your first, or next, step into the digital marketplace and would like a chat about what your risks might be and how you can reduce them please contact Ian McCann or Sarah Podesta for more information.