Software Ideas for Offline To Online: Response to the Coronavirus Outbreak

The COVID-19 outbreak shut the world down for high-contact businesses and forced them to rethink their development strategies and business plans, take decisive actions depending on the industry they are in. Classical offline businesses are aware they have to learn how to shift to online to stay afloat during these uncertain times. 

According to McKinsey & Company’s study, market capitalization has lessened across many sectors. There is a significant variety of the amount of the decline. 

On the diagram below you can see the decline of market capitalization in various business areas. (Weighted average to date local currency whole shareholder returns by industry in percent. Width of bars is beginning market cap in $).

 Decline of market capitalization in various business areas

Today’s events are unpredictable. Actually, there is little chance the coronavirus will be eradicated soon. No one can predict the second wave of the pandemic. 

This is the moment you must take specific actions and rebuild your company to survive an economic downturn. 

There is a wide array of ways businesses can respond to the current COVID-19 horror story, yet the best one is to move online and cogitate about developing an appropriate solution. 

This article focuses on some of the most effective and lucrative ideas to shift diverse offline businesses online. It contains plenty of examples to prove these ideas really work. In addition, it describes the cases of our clients, whose situations we know firsthand.

If you are interested in this topic, you may also like to read about Business Opportunities During the COVID-19 Outbreak

Peter ShubenokFounder and CEO

Education Courses: make a switchover to online learning

The coronavirus outbreak led to the near-total closure of educational institutions all over the world. At the same time, there has been a huge increase in the popularity of online learning.

Ideas

  • Educational web portals for shifting training online, uploading and selling video lectures and courses.
  • Applications with live streaming technologies for live lecture broadcasting.
  • EdTech – concentrate on brand-new technologies in education that combine advanced technologies, methods of creating and delivering new knowledge, analytics, and learning effectiveness measurement.

Examples

Moving online within a couple of days. The vivid example of cost-effective going online is a Spanish language school. The quarantine-related school closure made the staff seriously wonder what they would do next. To be honest, none of the teachers have ever heard of Zoom or had online teaching experience.

Nevertheless, in a couple of days, the school started with online classes and so far, they are going pretty well. The school did not lose a single student; on the contrary, it attracted new ones from other cities.

Now the language school is working on its educational portal and is actively creating an online learning environment.

Own Zoom. Programming & Web Developing Courses took a very serious approach to arrange online classes. The company has already had its educational platform but did not want to restrict in-person training to using only Zoom technology. In fact, recognizing the value of owning its platform, the company would like to receive data that helps to increase product success.

Within three weeks, the company developed Zoom analog right in its training platform. Thanks to the quick transition to online, none of the students quitted learning and the company gained its reputation as an academic innovator by developing and selling a number of new online courses.

Sport and Fitness: offline to online shift

For gyms, fitness studios, and private trainers, switching to the online workout isn’t easy. Since social distancing is crucial during the coronavirus time, many fitness studios hosted free live workouts on Instagram: business owners hoped quarantine would not last long. But it turned out that measures to tackle the pandemic were much more serious. 

It became obvious that businesses must be quick to adapt to survive, as the world most likely will not go back to as it was before.

Ideas

  • A mobile app or web platform for the online workout. You can lower the price to keep up and maintain the customer base. Even after quarantine, you can offer online workout options to help everyone stay fit across the globe. 
  • Selling video records of workout training. 
  • Live streaming apps for workout broadcasting. 
  • Website for booking online workouts.

Examples

Be a cut above the competitors. One of the gym owners admits that he did not believe that anybody could buy his video content since many trainers stream for free. But soon he realized that he should be a cut above to compete. The trainers of his gym created video content to get people motivated, to give health and nutrition tips, and to cheer clients up. The team launched online marathons in Zoom. Despite it being the team’s first experience, it led to business success and recouped initial investment. 

All ingenious is simple and sometimes is cheap. Another gym owner mentioned that he created video content with added value for customers. Being an amateur shutterbug, he just used an iPhone, a microphone, and a tripod to shoot videos for YouTube. Access to the videos was given only to the gym clients. Now the owner is slogging on creating a portal with registration-to-gym procedures, online training sessions, and other business ideas.

Retail: how to start your own online business

Retail has been hit particularly hard, as the COVID-19 pandemic forced retail stores, malls, and shopping centers to close. However, the crisis provoked many creative ideas of developing software to attract and retain new customers.

Ideas

  • Own online store.

Examples

How to keep income at the pre-crisis level. This is the story about business, whose development is taking place before our eyes. Earlier, we assisted the retail chain owner in creating an online store. At the beginning of the quarantine lockdown, he agreed to partner with a delivery service. Thanks to this, he was able to keep his sales humming. 

By the way, it wasn’t enough for him, so at the moment we are developing a number of applications to support his own delivery service.

Do what you never dreamed of before. According to the insider information, in March, the offline sales of the on-trend clothing boutique plummeted nearly 50%. In April, there were no sales at all. At the same time, online sales witnessed growth by at least 60%. 

The owner wrapped his mind around increasing online sales. Now his team is actively collecting customer feedback, offering repair services, providing a comprehensive policy for returns and exchanges, and selecting items based on purchasing-history data. 

Moreover, the store started selling internationally, which the owner had not even dreamed of before.

Leisure: how to get online in such a business

In light of coronavirus disease, it would seem that leisure-related businesses are suffering the most immediate repercussions. In fact, the leisure industry is able to adapt to challenging conditions and find a way out with recently-developed software.

Ideas

  • Web portals to which you can upload your online courses or transfer the theoretical parts of training courses.
  • Web sites, where you can talk about your services and value proposition, share your ideas and experiences, place your blog.

Example

Lucky Strike. Do you have a suggestion on how to switch the yacht club online? During the coronavirus outbreak, the club owner had to close the office and cancel all public events.

At the same time, the company launched highly informative online yacht training courses with a theoretical part. It was an incredible success: everyone who wanted to learn sailing, but did not have time or lived in another city, could study the theoretical section of the course. 

Besides, the company created a number of sports courses, started a blog, translated several sailing movies, and launched the online store with the club’s merchandise.

If you are interested in this topic, you may also read Coronavirus lands an uppercut. Can business recover from a knockdown?

Viktor ProlutskiyLead Customer Success

Catering Business: working offline and online

Many restaurants, cafes, and bars had to close during the coronavirus outbreak. Restaurant business owners understood they had to find new ways to get customers. Therefore, many restaurants offer takeout and delivery options. 

Ideas

  • Online food ordering apps and websites.
  • Mobile self-service or contactless service apps.

Example

100% Contactless. Here we would like to share the story of our client. He asked us to develop a contactless dining app to maintain adequate social distancing and minimal contact between visitors and staff at a restaurant. 

The app works like this: the user sits at the table, scans the QR code on the table, and downloads the app. Then he places an order by indicating his table number. Payments are fully digital through smartphones. Thus, the entire dining out process is completely contactless.

Entertainment: the show must stream online

Cinemas, amusement parks, theaters, and other cultural venues like concert halls and museums were closed worldwide due to COVID-19. However, it is the entertainment industry that helps people to amuse themselves in their leisure time and distract from heavy thoughts during unprecedented health and economic crises.

Ideas

  • Live streaming event apps for concert and performance video broadcasting. 
  • Applications and websites for professional virtual tours.

Example

Consider tech issues and do not forget about donations. Some theaters have already begun streaming their pre-recorded or live performances online. Fine-tuning, high-quality sound, and image are the keys to success. 

You can arrange a symbolic cost per view to keep the business afloat. Some theaters and cinemas sell access to online videos to a worldwide audience, others accept online donations, so anyone can thank for watching a movie or performance by donating any amount of money.

If you are interested in this topic, also read about Business Risk Assessment: Certainty Amid Uncertainty

Elizabeth SkrobatClient Happiness Manager

Conclusion

The world will never be the same. A business won’t be the same.

We tried our best to give you the tools to improve your business. With them, you can endure this crisis and all subsequent ones.

Here, we accumulated ideas and examples of bridging the gap between offline and online business. We are sure that the list is not complete. The world is full of incredibly talented and creative people, whose desire for growth and development never goes away. 

These days are times of radical changes. Gain momentum – think about a good idea you can quickly turn into profitable business even during a crisis.

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