The coronavirus pandemic has caught most businesses off-guard. Restrictions in mobility as part of health and safety guidelines designed to curb the spread of the virus have severely impacted commercial activity. Business had to resort to using e-commerce channels to engage customers, and they also had to support remote work for most of their activities. Companies, even small businesses, have been left with little choice but to engage in rapid digital transformation in order to function in the new normal.
Aside from the challenge of digitalization, small businesses also have to worry about weathering the economic crunch. Customers have shifted their spending toward essentials such as food, groceries, and healthcare. Even retail giants in verticals such as apparel and travel have been forced to declare bankruptcy due to decreasing consumer demand. To survive, companies must be able to continue generating revenue during this lean period.
We got in touch with vcita CEO and founder Itzik Levy to discuss how small businesses can thrive in such a business landscape and the ways digital platforms can help optimize and improve business capabilities. Levy has more than a decade of experience in product development and spearheading strategy. Before founding vcita, he cofounded desktop virtualization company Kiodaro, later acquired by Microsoft where he also worked leading business strategy.
His current venture, vcita, is a business management application that digitizes various workloads including time management, billing, customer relationship management (CRM), and marketing. The platform recently unveiled a “Packages” feature that enables businesses to easily bundle their products and services and market them to customers. Bundling not only makes for attractive deals that entice customers, but it also helps businesses sell more per transaction. Implementing such strategies can greatly help small businesses establish a steady income stream during these uncertain times.
How do you think the worldwide economic crunch is affecting small businesses in general? Are there opportunities to be had for smaller operations during the pandemic?
The economic crunch will obviously reduce the amount of money people generally make and spend. This means fiercer competition for every consumer dollar. In times of recession, businesses that are more effective will win and outperform the rest. This is why these times are perfect for investments that will make your business stand out above the rest. You should adopt new processes, tools, norms, and approaches that will make you more effective and more attractive to customers.
Is digital transformation still possible for those who are just starting out with the effort? How easy is it to adopt digital solutions at this point in time?
Digital transformation sounds like a big term, but it is usually pretty simple to start with. If you would ask many of the businesses that have moved to remote servicing during the pandemic whether the transition is possible twelve months ago, they would probably say it wouldn’t work. However, reality shows the transition was unexpectedly simple for many businesses. Start with where you see an immediate gain for your business and your customers —whether it is online marketing, online billing, online scheduling, or a cloud-based CRM— everything is relatively simple when you spend some time to adjust.
How can a business management app like vcita help companies?
vcita lets you automate and manage day-to-day activities so you can do more every day and focus more on what you do best while still providing your customers top-notch service. vcita does this across multiple areas that are relevant to every business out there, including marketing, scheduling and booking, billing and invoicing, and CRM. Since these features are available on a single platform, our users do not have to worry about integrating different applications. We provide seamless workflows for our users that just work.
You recently released a new service that helps companies offer service packages and bundles. How does it work?
I believe our new Packages feature will greatly help businesses during this time. Using our platform, you can create customized packages of your services. You can even allow customers to mix-and-match their own. People love deals and discounts and are more likely to go for deals compared to each individual service. You also get the payment upfront, and assure lower attrition of customers. It also gives you a great way to promote your services. With Packages and future enhancements vcita allows you maximal flexibility on how you manage payments in your business.
How does it translate to a real advantage especially in this business landscape?
Loyalty programs work! If someone bought a package, the person is far more likely to keep availing of your services. Repeated interactions with customers allow you to build stronger relationships. Combine this with superior service, and you can make loyal customers out of them. In addition, getting the money early rather than late creates a healthier business and allows you to invest back into the business.
Economies are now starting to reopen. How optimistic are you about the recovery of businesses?
Every slowdown in the past posed challenges for businesses to overcome, but they’ve always led to economic growth. This one will not be an exception. Specifically in this case, digitalization is a big part of the transformation we are all going through. People are quickly adapting to doing everything online and on their mobile devices. This is a strong trend even before the pandemic that has become much stronger now. As a business, you have to prepare for this to become the new normal. Being ready to cater to customer demands puts you in a better position to recover.
What role do you foresee vcita having in the new normal?
vcita will do everything necessary to help small businesses make the most of the situation for their long-term prosperity. We work with our huge amount of businesses to learn what works best and help spread the word between our clients. This new normal brings a set of challenges for businesses, but vcita makes an ongoing effort to ensure our clients are prepared for every single one and converts those challenges to opportunities.
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