Because May is World Trade Month, we’d like to highlight some of the ways organizations are pivoting due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Clearly, there’s been a massive shift toward remote working in many industries – even at the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) and other government agencies. Webinars have been widely adopted, too – they’re typically easy to attend and can be recorded for playback, sharing, and time-zone sensitivities. There have been dynamic shifts in many other areas including the trade show experience and how buyers and sellers transact.Lately, some industry trade shows, and destination conferences have transformed into virtual events. For example, COVID-19 forced the Brewer’s Association to cancel its annual Craft Brewers Conference – the largest American beer industry conference and tradeshow – so the association decided to host a 5-week virtual conference instead. Educational seminars and presentations, from featured speakers that previous attendees used to see in-person, are now rendering in a virtual environment, keeping attendees safe yet connected. Across many industries elsewhere, platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, Apple FaceTime, and others are proliferating and offer face-to-face interaction between stakeholders.
As industries strive towards “business as usual” despite less direct in-person customer interaction, technology is being used to facilitate commerce in new ways. By not operating like a traditional auto dealer, Tesla Motors has already been going in this direction – the company’s sales are primarily done online and there’s now a contactless delivery option for new buyers. This is possible because of the technology in Tesla’s new vehicles (i.e., the Tesla mobile app can function as a vehicle key). With all paperwork signed digitally, contactless delivery is an alternative to visiting a dealership then driving away with a new vehicle.
COVID-19 continues to change the business landscape. No one knows what to expect, but EXIM will continue to support U.S. exporters during this time of uncertainty. For more details about EXIM’s temporary relief programs, please visit the EXIM COVID-19 Response Page.