By Hank Tester

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – As COVID restrictions continue to ease, the reality is beginning to dawn that our dependence of the internet and online interaction played a major role in getting through the pandemic challenge.

It was the ultimate pandemic pivot. From individuals to global corporations, everyone turned to the internet for, frankly, survival.

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“So pivoting meant thinking on our feet and using all the resources available to us to make things easier and better,” said Brenda Moe with the Coral Gables Art Cinema.

The Coral Gables Art Cinema began streaming videos and free movies on their website to keep donors engaged.

“For those companies to survive, many of them turned to the internet,” said Dr. David Major, associate professor of professional practice in global business strategy at UM. “Not just the internet, but technology in general.”

School districts made do using Zoom technology.

Books & Books, the ultimate place to browse for hardbacks, leaned hard on the internet for book sales and readings from authors.

“We pivoted in order to bring into people homes the authors they might see at the books store. So we started doing virtual events,” explained Books & Books owner Mitch Kaplan.

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Technique Records, a vintage vinyl record store, went online to peddle their classics.

And in the medical world, the challenge was how to lure back reluctant patients and those who didn’t know the dental practice was open again. It led to a website pivot moment.

“I think the video we made, made us realize we could fulfill that security what patients needed to see that they would be safe with us,” said Dr. Nolyris Alvarez.

“From a personal perspective, I had my appointment with by doctor via Zoom,” said Dr. Major.

Ordering groceries online for home delivery was a total internet operation. The same for restaurant pickup.

“With this move that companies had to make has actually opened up opportunities for folks that they might not have had otherwise,” said Dr. Major.

Bottom line for small mom and pops, all the way to major retailers and restaurant chains, they expanded their client base thanks to the internet.

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And when things get back to normal, Dr. Major said, “Even past COVID, we are going to need that online experience which I think has broadened the potential for companies to reach a whole set of customers they otherwise would not have reached.”