[COVID-19] What impact will COVID-19 have on the digital community

How will the industry survive the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown?

Here in the UK, at the start of the lockdown when things were first starting to look back I sat down with my team and told them something I thought to be (and still think to be) true. I didn’t want to focus on the lockdown, the likely spike of deaths and the personal risk to each of them and their families that would come over the following month and likely years. Instead, I wanted to talk to them about the future of the digital development and creative industry. My production in March was that this was going to be (however Morbid) the thing that would give a big boom to our industry. With many shops and organisations closing (some for good) those that remained needed to sell online (or to make their service accessible online). Not only that their websites had to be easier to use than the competition, have more features than the competition and give them the confidence to part with their cash. Organisations that could afford it, or handle the risk that didn’t double down on their digital strategy (and potentially the spend), are going to be at the back of the digital race for (in my opinion) at least the next year, some may never recover and those smaller unknown companies now have a chance to spring forward and grab a demographic.

Time for disrupters

Examples here are around the home gardening sector. Suddenly hundreds (if not thousands) of Garden Centers that didn’t have websites before (or very basic ones from the 90s) suddenly had websites selling plants, compost and over products. Another example is Primark – Known for its low-cost clothing. Primark didn’t and still don’t have an online store. There are many online clothing retailers around but none that compare the low-cost and range that Primark offers. When Primark reopened around the country queues formed the length of highstreets for people to catch-up on what they’d missed. Now imagine at the start of the lockdown that they had the means to go online (granted they would have needed a huge logistics system)… or imagine that an ‘unknown’ supplier of Primark or another ‘unknown’ low-cost clothing retailer launched their e-commerce business and managed to ‘steal’ all of those Primark customers before they had the chance the queue down the street. The COVID-19 Pandemic and the general effect it’s having on all of our lives, our mental wellbeing, the economy is .. well it’s hard to find the words that would give justice to how bad, how stressful and how much of an unknown it is to us.

Now is the time to be brave

But I believe now is the time to be brave when it comes to digital presence, marketing and strategy. It’ll change our high streets forever but for web developers, UI designers and for all the digital and creative agencies… I think and certainly hope that out of the recession that must be coming we will find the next round of disrupters to every industry and that it will be the start of another dot com like boom we saw in the late 90s.