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While digital transformation was on the cards for many businesses, the COVID-19 global pandemic has made it a necessity. Essential businesses like retail, grocery and restaurants can leverage digital solutions to not only offer their products/services but also to offer a safe, touch-free shopping experience in their stores.

The global COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted technology as a business imperative and accelerated the digital transformation of businesses. Without digital technologies, the world would have stopped working for months. Digital transformation was a high priority area for businesses for some time, but the present healthcare crisis has necessitated an urgency for companies, especially those offering essential services like groceries, retail, etc., to adopt digital technologies for their survival.

At the start of the pandemic, companies quickly deployed digital solutions that could allow them to run their business operations. During the initial stages of the pandemic, companies focused on digitalizing purely physical processes. A lot of essential service businesses like groceries, pharmacy, restaurants, etc., adopted e-commerce and mobile applications to run their operations. Now, as the crisis gets prolonged and with no quick relaxation insight, companies are finding the need to go for the full-scale digital transformation of their businesses.

Digital Transformation Solutions for Essential Services

As essential businesses embark on digital transformation, here are a few solutions that can help them rapidly digitalize their businesses and succeed.

  • Touch-Free Shopping: COVID-19 has made touch-free or contactless shopping a must. The majority of the US consumers want businesses to implement social distancing in their stores. They also expect voice recognition, mobile apps, and touchless kiosks, to help them from touching anything in the store. Many customers also expect these technologies to continue even after the crisis is over. Essential businesses can offer touch-free shopping experience to their customers leveraging apps, kiosks, digital wallets, etc.
  • E-Commerce and Mobile Apps: A vast majority of the population is still not comfortable going out from homes to shopping. Essential businesses need to move from physical stores to e-commerce and mobile commerce. They need to enable online ordering and home delivery of goods. Curbside pickup and delivery have exploded in popularity in the last few months. In a survey by Big Red Rooster, curbside and drive-through delivery ranked second to face masks among things that made customers safe about shopping. Businesses need to enable multiple delivery choices for customers.
  • Employee Empowerment: In a survey by Buffer, 20% of employees working remotely feel that connecting and collaborating with colleagues is a challenge. Also, 18% say they feel lonely or isolated while working from home. Businesses also need to build solutions for employee empowerment and engagement. Mobile apps can help your store associates get real-time inventory positions, pricing and offers. With most essential stores working with reduced staff and others working from home, collaboration, secure videoconferencing, digital whiteboards and other employee engagement tools can help them work more productively. HR teams also need to leverage digital technologies to make employees involved and keep their motivation high.
  • Customer Engagement: Essential businesses need to take the digital route to reach out to their customers and engage with them. AI-powered chatbots or conversational bots can help drive customer support and answer common customer queries. Digital coupons can be used in place of physical paper coupons and can be distributed through the website, mobile apps and emails. Digital advertising (search engine ads, social media ads), in-app notifications, emails and SMSs are the channels to continuously engage with the customers and attract them to your business.

Embracing Future-Ready Digital Transformation

Many of the digital transformation initiatives which have taken shape in the past few months will have a lasting impact. To be future-ready, companies need to kickstart digital transformation initiatives that not only help them navigate the choppy waters today but also benefit them in the long run.

Gemini Consulting & Services can be your perfect digital technology partner for providing you with strategy consulting and technology development support. Over the years, we have worked with many governments and business organizations on their digital transformation initiatives and helped them leverage digital technology to automate processes, empower employees, engage customers and drive innovation. To know more, click here.