Businesses worldwide have been in a state of flux as the Covid-19 pandemic reared its ugly head. As analysts and soothsayers, traders, professionals and the average Joe predicted the end of the world, true blue businessmen and the serial entrepreneur peeped around the corner to fathom what lay ahead. And then took decisive action.
It’s true that several businesses have been hit and hit badly in the wake of Covid but those who reacted early in their endeavour to turn the tide around are slowly realising the benefits of their actions, from humble SMEs to big businesses.
The UAE has always set benchmarks in everything it has chosen to do and when it came to leading by example when tackling Covid, the UAE government and private enterprise united as one in setting the pace. Private businesses across spheres and sectors as diverse as logistics and e-commerce are seeing the silver lining as clouds dissipate and players gather to take stock on what needs to be done and done quickly to get the business, and a nation back on track.
Adapt and survive
For instance Nafisa Khokha, COO of UAE brand, Jokoka, an e-marketplace to buy and sell unique and exclusive products, says how the entity quickly adapted to the need of the hour as Covid emerged as a distinct threat to business. Quick decision making allowed e-commerce brands like Jokoka to not just withstand the storm but promote positivity by ensuring the profits continued to flow.
“The world and its perception for business has changed, the present and future is e-commerce. As Covid-19 started to spread, quick adoption of work from home took place, and online shopping for groceries to housing decorative, office equipment in short from pin to desks.” Khokha feels this change in consumer behaviour is for the long term. “We predict that this consumer behaviour will last long after the crisis ends, as relying on apps and digital platforms for shopping online becomes the new preferred way for shopping all around the globe.”
Manal Saho, Managing Director of myWorld UAE, operators of the popular global loyalty programme, Cashback World in the UAE, is in sync with Khokha’s views when she says that online is the future of business in a post-Covid world.
Seeing scope in enhancing and expanding MyWorld’s bouquet of services and products in the post-Covid phase, Saho says, “Online is the future. That’s what we saw in the time of the crisis. We have a wide range of online partners who offer a lot of products and services to our shoppers. But we want to develop our offers even further. Online shopping is the new normal and we want to support our Cashback World Partners to strengthen their qualification in this part of the business.”
And while the mantra to adapt to the needs of the new normal come through strongly, certain players are confident that age-old business practices will seize the day going forward.
With airlines being grounded and shipping going off course during the global lockdown as the pandemic raged, the logistics industry was among the hardest hit in the last few months both globally and in the UAE, but its players have been among the most tenacious, coming through with novel solutions to circumvent losses in their aim to put the sector back on track, as well as showing confidence in proven business practices to help them weather the storm.
Trust and resilience
Eugene Mayne, Founder and CEO of established UAE logistics brand, the Tristar Group, lays trust in the brand’s impeccable business model to see the group through the lows.
Reading the future of the logistics industry in the post-Covid phase, he says, “With oil prices recovering and the impact of the pandemic mostly under control we see a strong V-shaped recovery of the logistics industry in the next 12 -15 months. We have a very resilient business model that has insulated Tristar against the impact of Covid-19.”
This does not mean that Tristar is eschewing change. Much on the contrary, Eugene says it is investing in new technology to help Tristar navigate choppy waters and build a rosy future for the brand. “For the short term, we will continue to focus on strengthening our integrated logistics model by looking for key acquisitions in our areas of interest and ensuring our organic business continues to grow annually in double digits. For the future, the adoption and integration of technology is important to us and we are constantly evaluating latest technologies to lead this transformation.”
Khokha foresees challenges for the brand moving forward, but from a unique direction. “Our biggest challenges are our customers, we want to give them the best, but we do realise it takes time to build trust. At Jokoka, we strive to lead with ideas of sustainability and responsibility whose impact can reach to the happiness of our customers.
“We do not count anyone as competitors, as we have created our own unique space and we believe that e-commerce has enough room for everyone to go out there and do what they have faith in. We are constantly trying fulfill and unbox uniqueness.”