COVID-19 may not have brought about global change, but it certainly has accelerated some long-standing trends. The pandemic has had a huge impact on the growth in the number of users who shop online, as well as on technologies that have previously remained in the background.
The next level of digital life
The Internet can rightfully be called the world’s largest round-the-clock store of all kinds of goods, especially those in the choice of which one takes place without emotion or involvement. For example, re-ordering coffee beans. However, the large store model that was proposed and refined by Amazon and subsequently copied by many brands is still not sufficient to create a strong consumer-to-brand bond on the Internet.
Nowadays, most large companies spend a lot of time communicating with customers on social networks, for example, on Instagram. It used to be considered a stupid mistake if someone buy Instagram likes, but now many are gaining popularity using this method.
New offline formats
Despite support from authorities and employers, less than 20% of employees returned to their jobs. Not in all countries, urban centers are back on track, and the retail sector needs to respond. New formats are emerging. Many people began to work from home, and this cannot but rejoice, for example, bloggers. Users began to consume much more content on social networks and actively participate in the lives of their favorite content makers. Therefore, they rarely buy likes on Instagram now and gain popularity without it.
Once the pandemic is over, there will undoubtedly be a return to urban flagships, but much more attention will be paid to the new format stores, where people now spend most of their time. It turns out that COVID-19 has become a kind of antidote to ordinary stores, which are now losing their former positions. In the near future, there will be many more revolutionary new formats in different sectors, including pop-up stores, points of delivery and kiosks.
Plans for new retail chains
As a result of the fact that more and more customers are learning online banking, there is widespread closure of bank branches. We are witnessing a transition from traditional low-profit and low-value formats to more flexible ones, gradually replacing the usual experience. Emerging market gaps will be filled in new ways.
New ways to interact
COVID-19 has made its own adjustments to the process of customer interaction with the product. This means that the tactile study of a product is a thing of the past, leaving room for only contactless interaction. Already today, many are increasing their investment in experimentation in this area.
There are three main areas here: gesture control (hand gestures for digital interaction); voice control using existing platforms such as Amazon and Google, and mobile purchases. In the latter case, buyers’ personal devices will be given much more control to communicate with smart stores and create more coherent interactions between channels.
Even after the pandemic, these technologies will receive enough investment to change consumer expectations in the long term. We’re looking forward to it.