The unfortunate emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic has clearly demonstrated the importance of technology, especially as it has enabled many individuals and businesses to find ways around the restrictions implemented to curb the virus’s spread. This can involve the use of remote working arrangements, but beyond that, the pandemic has also helped accelerate digital transformation for many industries.
Featured below are the most common technologies that have helped businesses stay open, improve the way society adjust to the new normal, and provide other advantages concerning the pandemic
More accessible tools for doing business online
More than ever, companies are compelled to establish an online presence to continue doing business. Not everyone has the tech know-how to put up a website, let alone an e-commerce site that can showcase products and has a shopping cart. That’s why the development of easy-to-use website builders with advanced features is a welcome development in the growing collection of accessible online tools.
The COVID-19 pandemic has reportedly accelerated the shift to e-commerce by five years. This is undeniable reality businesses, and consumers have to embrace considering how the lockdowns and physical distancing policies have made it impossible to do business as usual. For businesses that cannot afford web developers’ services, the existence of advanced site builders is a godsend.
Sophisticated site-building tools are not only able to create blogs and static pages. They also support plugins necessary for e-commerce operations, including shopping carts, product galleries, and communication buttons to facilitate chats and other exchanges between customers and stores. Some also come with features that take advantage of the new HTML element to speed up page loading times. After all, e-commerce does not start and end with the creation of the online store. It is also essential to provide the necessary conveniences to attract and retain customers.
E-commerce optimization with artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence is not exclusive to big businesses. Even SMEs can take advantage of AI. Using AI-powered solutions optimize digital activities such as e-commerce for better engagement and profitability.
Clinics or medical practices that provide telehealth services, for example, employ AI-powered chatbots for initial interactions with patients before they are connected to physicians who conduct more thorough discussions and evaluations. Stores with a shortage of staff may turn to AI chatbots to handle simple customer questions and complaints.
Also, artificial intelligence is useful when it comes to marketing and online store personalization. E-commerce optimization solutions harness the power of AI to boost customer conversion. These tools autonomously automate content to improve customer experiences without spending huge sums on traditional marketing campaigns.
FinTech has been a lifeline for businesses during the pandemic, offering alternatives in areas where traditional banking is difficult to access for most consumers. These payment solutions were not necessarily created before the pandemic. Still, their use skyrocketed as businesses and customers were left with no other choice but to embrace digital and contactless ways to pay lest they forfeit the ability to buy the things they need.
Plaid and The Harris Poll collaborated on a survey that revealed many details affirming financial technology’s importance. “The majority of Americans used fintech before the pandemic, but COVID-19 accelerated adoption. During the pandemic, people used more fintech apps, more frequently and for more financial tasks,” the survey report writes.
The survey found that 59 percent more people have used FinTech apps to manage money. Around 69 percent perceive FinTech as a financial lifeline during the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, 73 percent say that FinTech is part of the new normal.
FinTech includes new ways to raise funds to sustain businesses or fund startups. Thanks to innovations such as peer-to-peer funding, companies with enticing new ideas can generate the cash they need to pursue new product concepts and improvements. Businesses that are running out of money to continue operating can also turn to e-loans.
Enhanced online communication and collaboration
People and businesses have been using online chat, video conferencing, and virtual meeting platforms before the term COVID-19 pandemic was born. Leading conferencing technologies like BlueJeans and WebEx were already regarded as important. Still, their use and adoption have become even more prevalent and necessary as businesses saw the need to transition to eCommerce and remote work, and new features are being developed rapidly.
Online communication and collaboration are not only useful for distance learning. Businesses also need these tools to facilitate meetings with potential clients and partners, conduct virtual training and orientation, and hold marketing campaigns. There are reasons why Zoom has exploded into popularity and why Skype and Google had to improve their platforms in response to the growing need for better online communication during the pandemic.
Moreover, businesses that are involved in telehealth services require enhanced online communication solutions. Besides virtual conferencing platforms, they also employ chatbots for initial interactions with patients before they are connected to physicians who conduct more thorough discussions and evaluations.
App-based services and solutions that complement online activities
The massive digital shift brought about by the pandemic is not possible without complementing services and technologies. Imagine online shopping without delivery services. What happens to the transportation industry and the commuting public if tech innovations such as Grab did not exist? Can online job hunting be as convenient as it is now without the popular platforms and online classified ads sites?
Not many businesses can afford to have their own delivery facilities, so delivery service providers exist advantageously to connect stores that have only adopted eCommerce recently with customers in different locations. Many rely on food, grocery, and medicine delivery services to get their everyday needs while in lockdown or voluntary home confinement to avoid exposure to COVID-19.
As aptly summarized by a South Florida Media Network report that compiled various stats on delivery services: “Delivery services thrive amid the pandemic.”
Ride-hailing services have become popular even before the coronavirus scare. In line with this trend, some transportation companies are exploring the possibility of adopting the Uber business model or using apps to connect with customers. Many are becoming wary of using public transport, so companies that operate fleets of vehicles learn to be creative and open to new tech.
E-services, especially those that have become staple mobile apps for many, has helped businesses close down entirely. Online classified ads apps and social media have been essential partners for many establishments regarding promotions and customer engagement.
Many businesses that moved online are not equipped with adequate knowledge and tools to efficiently and securely do business. Cloud and software-as-a-service solutions address this problem by offering platforms and tools that do not require advanced technical know-how and complex configurations. At the same time, they provide the advantage of security awareness and preparedness.
Cybersecurity threats have increased even during the pandemic. Without sufficient security measures, online business neophytes are most likely to become victims of a biological virus and digital viruses, and cybercrimes. Cloud solutions help businesses survive by providing a reliable, scalable, and flexible infrastructure for doing business online while delivering security expertise and competent technical support.
The pandemic has compelled businesses to embrace technology to survive a global economy that has gone wildly awry. These techs are mostly interconnected. They address interrelated needs that ultimately help businesses sustain their activities instead of shutting down because of lockdown mandates, vanishing demand, and fund shortages.
E-commerce site builders allow businesses to establish an online presence, while FinTech enables online transactions and delivery services to bring the purchased items to the buyers. Moreover, app-based services and cloud solutions help companies find new ways to generate revenues and operate online without technical knowledge and cybersecurity competence.
What do you think? How is your business using technology to survive the pandemic? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter or Facebook. You can also comment on our MeWe page by joining the MeWe social network.