Gearing up the home office – When B2B becomes B2C
Many aspects of our lives have been affected by the unprecedented disruption of COVID-19. Government regulations are keeping us in our homes, forcing the closure of offices all over the world. Just like that, our homes have become more than just a place to sleep, eat, and relax.
In the past few months, sales for office equipment and consumables have plummeted, and the road to recovery is going to be a challenge. With so much face-to-face interaction gone by the wayside, selling a product or a service requires a major shift in sales strategy.
The rise of remote working and learning has had a significant impact on the types of office supplies people are using. At the same time, digital channels have transformed the way people browse, compare, and purchase products. These profound shifts are creating new challenges for retailers and manufacturers trying to keep ahead.
But there are still many opportunities emerging from this situation.
Re-formatted office setup
Working from home effectively can be challenging for those who do not have the proper equipment for their home office. What we see right now is that most office equipment is being re-formatted for home use. Sales of larger PC screens for the home have never been so high.
Also, some companies sell and service a large range of office supplies, such as multi-function printing, document management solutions, and office furniture. Needless to say, for them, 2020 sales have been quite devastating. And what has been hit very hard, very dramatically, is the service revenue.
That has forced companies to change their entire B2B sales approach. They have become creative with contracts and lease terms and offered product flexibility to support their clients.
No client visits? Sales teams are now more focused on engagement with clients via phone or email to let them know they are fully operational and ready to be helpful in the new virtual world of business, offering a new large range of cloud services. Many today provide new machines and furniture adapted for home use, teaching clients how to apply them in the new business environment.
And although working from home can support employees’ work-life balance, it presents a danger for the company’s IT infrastructure, if it’s not well protected. Threats from external parties can increase due to the use of unsecured personal devices instead of the well-protected devices from employers, and the lack of secure connections may increase the risk of cyber-attacks.
Back to the office
To support the WFH policy, many businesses are forced to adopt new technologies and digital services. As they begin to realize the benefits, many of these technologies and services will remain integrated into their day-to-day operations.
Eventually, when we are finally allowed back into our offices, things won’t be the same as before. The office function may change as a flexible working culture becomes the norm. The focus might shift to making the office to home experience seamless.
And let’s not forget – we might be working from home, but the industry is not giving up on actual offices.
Yes, it is unclear how long the slump in re-occupying the workplace and building new offices will continue. But product designers are already working on concepts for a new style of office working, including smaller capsule/satellite offices that they believe companies will want to set up to serve workers more widely dispersed than in the past.
There will always be the need for a physical workplace – places where you go for collaboration and bring to life the corporate culture.
How can we help?
Understanding how office environments have changed due to COVID-19 can provide businesses with better use of resources and more intelligent targeting, more impactful messaging content and tonality, and leverage competitive advantage.
At ADK Insights, we continue to monitor trends emerging in the workspace and translate their impact on consumer behaviours, providing insights to help businesses future-proof their innovation.
To find out more about our dialogue with consumers worldwide and how we help our clients navigate these challenging times, please contact Nimrod.