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Welcome back to our series on modeling innovation in your crisis response plan. At this point in the process, you should have come up with an idea or several, and have determined that the benefits they provide significantly outweigh the potential cons. With smaller-scale optimization in place for mitigation, now is the time to focus on larger transformations that position your brand and offerings in a better place in terms of crisis readiness, staying power, and rising to the challenges of a new marketplace landscape.

The Third Stage

The third crisis response stage is to prepare your business for the future. In this stage, the focus is on creating action plans for the optimization and transformation of future business operations, products, services, and more. To help inform these action plans comes the third phase of innovation, Experimentation: wherein you test the sustainability of your ideas. While trial and error were not useful or effective for The Second Stage of Innovation and Crisis Response as it would hinder your mitigation efforts, it is key for this stage and determining your best course for the future.

Experimentation

This step is fundamental to prove that your ideas will work. To start, use a prototype (otherwise known as a pilot test) to find out if the proposed solution not only works but does so with the best interest of the company in mind. Even though solutions often sound good on paper or have worked well for other industries, it does not necessarily mean it is the perfect fit for your business. This is not a one size fits all scenario. 

During this testing phase, experimentation should be a continuous effort; being conducted in spurts, and re-evaluating the idea(s) critically to both gather useful data and nail down the feasibility of the solution. Keep in mind that this will take quite a bit of time to get the answers you need. Through multiple tests, redesigning, and performing thorough examinations of numerous outcomes, be prepared to spend a good chunk of time here.   

COVID-19 Factors

  • The New Normal – When COVID-19 is “over,” life will surely not go back to the original form. Your idea should reflect the new normal. Standards must ensure its integrity and value to your customers during uncertain times. 

Example | The Local Boutique 

For this week’s example, let’s imagine that you own and operate a local boutique shop. You’ve successfully mitigated the effects of the crisis on your business by offering free local delivery and shipping. As business goes along you know that it’s time to test out new ideas to bring more revenue in and keep your customer base connected in order to keep up the momentum. 

Experimenting with E-Commerce

The new business landscape is one in which you are serving customers that are part of an increasingly more technologically minded marketplace. Doing business at a distance provides you and your customer base with a sense of safety and comfort, so digital optimization is a must. For a shop like yours, digital optimization equals e-commerce. While there are tried and true e-commerce methods such as selling directly from your website and leveraging existing sales gateway platforms such as eBay, Amazon, and Etsy, the new landscape is trending towards a more social online world.

The Base Experiment

 The concept of selling via social media is not a new one but determining the best way to structure your social selling campaign is most certainly subject to experimentation. Here you would try out your different social selling ideas with your consumers to determine which are the most effective:

  • Live Stream Sales – Video, especially live streams that people can interact with are one of the most popular types of social media content right now. Running product demos and flash sales via live stream is a great social selling strategy to test.
  • Product Post Based Sales – Taking products and making them featured posts with inventory counts and order guidance is a strategy to test out for boosting sales of a specific product.
  • Facebook Shop – Creating your own marketplace on your social media with Facebook Shops, gives your customers a more traditional e-commerce experience without having to leave their favorite platform. Creating a small shop to start is an ideal way to test if this strategy will be successful for your sales.

The A/B Test

Once you’ve set up your ideas as trials you can begin to gather the results of your experimentation. As you see certain ideas take off and others fail, you’ll know which will be best for full implementation. With your winning ideas implemented, experimentation should continue in the form of A/B Testing. Whichever campaigns you perform these tests on, this second type of experimentation allows you to perfect and optimize your concept which lays the groundwork for the next stage of Innovation and Crisis Response.

As a final note, experimentation is something that should never be overlooked. It is critical in the innovation process and needs to be conducted appropriately to ensure that your idea truly is the best thing for your business. Join us next week as we take your newly proven to work design and transform it to foster thriving market value while discovering its potential impact on business growth.

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