The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a massive shift in customer behavior. Businesses were compelled to deploy digital solutions to survive. But what will happen in the post-COVID world? We take a look at customer behavior and how businesses can lead in the post-COVID digital world.
The COVID-19 global pandemic has created havoc in our lives. The world came to a standstill. The economy was disrupted like never before. In a time when contactless became the new normal, digital emerged as the lifeline for businesses and customers.
It was only because of digital technologies that people could work from home, essential services were delivered and lots of human lives were saved. Digital technologies also helped businesses to offer service continuity and ensured that key economic activities go uninterrupted. Many businesses accelerated their digital plans and went online at the earliest. A McKinsey survey during the pandemic revealed that at least 80% of customer interactions were digital in nature.
But what next? Will the digital play a similar role in the post-COVID world?
Digital has shaped new habits among people. And, in both work and daily lives. This will continue as the dangers of a 2nd wave and lockdowns remain in many countries. The new habits have given rise to the demand for a different set of digital demand and experts believe that it will continue in the future. Consumers who have got used to shopping, entertainment and socializing online will continue doing so in the post-COVID world.
According to Google, search interest in keywords such as online shopping and how to buy online has increased by 2X worldwide since March 2020. The Google report further highlights that while e-commerce has accelerated, retail isn’t the only industry that has witnessed higher customer adoption. People have turned online for several activities such as education, banking, entertainment, and even virtual gyms. Most of these areas had low digital adoption pre-COVID.
While many businesses in many countries are slowly resuming work from offices, there are many businesses that continue to allow their staff to work from home. They have realized cost-effectiveness in the remote work model without any impact on productivity. Remote working models will go mainstream in the post-COVID world.
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To be competitive and lead in the digital world, you need to reorient your business model and fundamentally change the way you work. Here are the key enablers to achieving digital leadership in your industry.
- Adopt Digital as a Strategy: To lead in the digital world, you need to put digital at the core of your business. Adopting digital technologies in silos won’t deliver much. You need to think about how to reimagine your business and its processes using digital technologies. In today’s world, every company has to embrace technology to remain competitive.
- Make Data Your Ally: Digital works in tandem with data. Knowingly or unknowingly, your business has access to a lot of data. Emails, social media feeds, and customer support engagements provide you with huge volumes of customer and business data. To harness this data and extract real-time insights, you need to build fast data analytic capabilities.
- Be Agile: Agility helps businesses to quickly adjust to new market shifts and customer demands. In the digital world, agility takes a completely new meaning as you have to respond to evolving situations in hours. This requires constant monitoring of markets and the ability to make quick decisions.
- Empower Your Employees: Digital leadership requires a culture of innovation in an organization. You need to empower your employees and allow them to be creative and experimental to drive innovations.
- Break the Silos: Digitally mature organizations don’t work in silos. You need to facilitate cross-functional collaboration and coordination. And it’s not only people working together but also data and information flowing across the organizations.
Digital customers are different. They are well-informed, have access to real-time data and fickle in brand loyalty. They are willing to pay a premium for personalized experiences. To impress digital customers, you would need a 360-degree view of his/her persona, needs, and expectations at the various stages of the customer lifecycle and identify the right moment and channel for the engagement. This would require investing in customer research, lifecycle marketing and marketing automation.