COVID-19 pandemic has transformed business operations and consumer behavior at an unprecedented and rapid pace. With prolonged nationwide shutdowns and stay-at-home orders, people have turned to technology for alternatives to work, study, play, shop, learn, and relax.
Entrepreneurs and employees conduct businesses remotely, people buy groceries online, classrooms are virtual, and even payments for negligible amounts are made using digital wallets. Almost everyone, individuals and companies, learned to become digitally savvy overnight. While the pace of change might have been rapid, these changes are here to stay, and businesses need to adapt to changing circumstances to thrive in the upcoming years.
Here’s a look at post-pandemic trends businesses must adapt:
1. Remote work
People work, shop, and unwind at home using their devices because most offices and stores are closed due to the spread of the coronavirus. Enabling remote work allows companies to save on rent, utilities, insurance, and maintenance. Due to these benefits, major tech companies have advised their employees to work remotely until mid-2021, while some of them have decided to permanently add remote staff. This massive shift in the workplace also transforms consumer behavior, including increased desktop use rather than mobile devices, spend reduction in clothes, cabs, etc. There is also an increased demand for products conducive to remote work like ergonomic furniture, laptops, cybersecurity software, and more.
2. Online adoption
Social distancing norms worldwide have led to consumers adopting digital-based shopping behaviors for large and small purchases. Consumers might return to brick-and-mortar stores after restrictions ease. However, brick-and-mortar stores have already taken the hint and launched websites to provide a new avenue to generate income with their online presence.
3. App-first consumption
Consumers turn to digital applications to fulfill their needs, resulting in higher usage and adoption of various mobile apps for services across the industry. This trend is likely to continue. Apps that have seen the highest increase and continued usage are social media, video streaming, music, gaming, and instant messaging. Businesses must adapt to these changes in consumption patterns and be more prevalent where the audience spends time to capture attention and convert prospects.
4. Contactless payments
Given the contagious nature of the virus, consumers are opting to take precautions such as wearing gloves in retail stores or to settle transactions using online payments to minimize physical contact. However, customers might continue to prefer contactless payments, such as e-wallets and tap credit cards, even after the pandemic. From Kirana stores to high-end shopping malls, QR codes have become the norm and will continue to stay so given their ease and convenience.
5. Consumer Mindset Shift
The pandemic brought the economic activity to a standstill and gave consumers a much-needed break in their pace to introspect and reflect. This time for reflection has led to increased demand for products in the health and wellness space. Yoga equipment, fitness dumbbells, and athletic shoes are much in demand.
Beyond physical wellbeing, services like mentoring and coaching are sought after, where consumers seek mentors and teachers online to gain from their expertise. Online education platforms such as Udemy, Coursera, LinkedIn Learning, and YouTube have witnessed increased registration, subscription, and adoption that will continue as a preferred mode for learning even after the crisis is over.
6. Virtual interactions
In 2020, virtual meetings and video conferencing became the way of life for personal and professional needs. Apple’s FaceTime app was used to connect with family and friends, while some turned to Facebook Messenger and Zoom instead of face-to-face meetings. So much so that people are accustomed to the virtual interactions and ease offered by these applications. Brands can leverage these customer touchpoints and change in behavior to interact better and build long-lasting customer relationships.
There are no beneficiaries in a global health crisis. In a globally connected and interdependent ecosystem, no one is immune to the effects of a pandemic. But adversity typically creates a new order, and those companies that pivot and retune themselves to changing circumstances with resilience and agility can come out unscathed. To sustain and thrive like the big tech giants, one must carefully assess and analyze what is at stake and adjust the sails accordingly.
Thinking to adapt in the new normal for your business? Talk to our experts at Tata Capital.