Almost half of SMEs that introduced home delivery of mobile services during the Coronavirus pandemic are expecting to continue post-lockdown.
A study by Avis Vans found that a quarter of SMEs adapted their business to provide direct-to-home services when physical premises were forced to shut in March.
SMEs that previously offered delivery and mobile services are now looking at their commercial fleets to ensure they are adequately equipped to maintain their supply chain and continue to reach customers.
Nina Bell, managing director UK & Scandinavia at Avis Budget Group, said: “Lockdown challenged every business. It has forced many to adapt their offering to remain relevant while complying to the restrictions and regulations. As lockdown restrictions ease across the UK, smaller businesses are now reassessing how they operate with many choosing to sustain new services trialled during the pandemic. Consequently, we are seeing the rise of convenience as more of us become accustomed to a more personalised at-home offering.”
Despite the efforts for SMEs to adapt, the long-term effects of the pandemic on smaller businesses will be longer reaching. Almost a third (31%) of businesses said they were ‘extremely’ affected by Covid-19 and 38% have been forced to reduce staff numbers or cut salaries as a result.
Looking ahead, almost a quarter (24%) will seek to reduce business rent or building costs by moving to other premises or working solely from home, a fifth (21%) will scale back on advertising and promotions while 12% will look at leasing equipment and vehicles rather than purchasing outright.
Bell added: “The flexibility rental provides, compliments the challenges SMEs face, allowing business owners to shift and shape their fleet in line with business demand. Rental, whether short, mid or long term provides the ideal mobility solution for those looking for commercial vehicles without the ties of lengthy contractual terms, large upfront payments or maintenance fees.”