后COVID-19时代的商业世界会是什么样子？这场大流行引发了一段时间的恐慌业务异常, possibly entrenching some behaviours for the long term. Many of these behaviours can be seen in local tech start-up库拉, which has seen sustained growth during the lockdown. They demonstrate what tomorrow’s business landscape may look like. A world where more companies become connectors.
Ayanda Vana, COO of Khula, says the B2B ecommerce marketplace was founded with the intention of connecting farmers directly with buyers. “We provide a centralised platform for buyers to support emerging farmers. During COVID-19, we’ve had more traction as people increasingly turn to ecommerce as an alternative to physical shops. Additionally, we’ve found farmers are seeking new ways to access the market. There’s more openness on all sides.”
Vana Khula成立于三年前,阿尔说ready has over 3 000 farmers on its system. She adds that one of the biggest struggles for emerging farmers is access to the market. Khula was created to help remove these barriers. “When selling at a traditional fresh-produce market, farmers typically lose about 16% of what they’re making to an agent. Then, a further 30% goes to logistics costs. To put it in perspective, a consumer could buy lettuce off the shelf for R36. But just R3 of that goes to the farmer. We wanted to solve the very real challenge of cutting out the middleman to put more money in farmers’ pockets to encourage farmer-buyer collaboration at fair prices.”
There are a few lessons to be learnt from this business model for other organisations hoping to revive their relevancy in a post-pandemic world.
- 解决共同的挑战: Vana says this is likely to be at the core of more businesses going forward. During COVID-19, thriving organisations are often those that spotted a shared challenge and implemented an intelligent solution.
- 寻找迭代式微观创新的方法: Khula identified that logistics issues are another major concern for emerging farmers. Buying ‘input’ resources like fertiliser takes up valuable time. So Khula now offers input materials on its platform as well. The start-up kept asking ‘how can we improve the farming experience, to help more farmers grow and move out of the emerging space?’ By constantly seeking small step-changes, organisations can foster faster growth.
- Be a connector：无论是现在还是将来，很可能会有更多的企业承担这一角色。随着电子商务和在线平台的发展，有无数机会将服务提供商和供应商与消费者、买家或其他企业联系起来。这是一个长期存在的科技公司趋势（例如阿里巴巴B2B市场），是由消费者的期望驱动的。Vana说：“消费者现在期望一个集中的中心来进行行动和交易——想想谷歌。现在有一种趋势，科技被用来集中连接。这肯定会增长。”
- Adopt tech the smart way:Vana says it is very expensive to build a tech solution from scratch. And it’s often unnecessary. Rather see what’s available and how you can integrate it to fit your needs.
- 考虑电子商务，但要有物流支持：据World Wide Worx统计，南非的在线零售业仅占4% of total retail马上。这已经开始改变了。随着南非人越来越信任电子商务，购买模式正在发生变化。然而，任何考虑在线销售的公司都需要有一个强有力的物流计划。顾客不想等待他们的商品。交货要尽可能快。瓦纳补充说，“希望更多的企业也能考虑如何协调物流，更好地服务偏远的农村地区。”
- 关注共享价值: Vana says, “The success of your business is based on the success of the community. If people don’t have jobs and steady sources of income, they can’t support you. Everything we do speaks to the heart of a problem or need that the community has. We want to effect actual social change through our offering.” This will be crucial in the post COVID-19 landscape. More than ever, businesses will be expected to be bastions of social change.
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