COVID-19 will have long term if not permanent impact on how society will interact with all aspects of our lives including how we work, shop, dine and manage our finances. Companies must react and put the right measures in place to respond to this event and potentially future events as well as accommodate changes in consumer behavior which have already taken place. In some respects, society is fortunate this happened in 2020 and not in 2000 because technology is in place to perform many activities that we could not do 20 years ago. Our ability to work from home using video conference technology, home delivery of food with DoorDash and Uber Eats, banking on-line including such functions as the ability to deposit checks with just the click of a phone, shopping on-line often with next-day delivery, having virtual doctor visits and the migration of many retailers to digital storefronts make this much less impactful as it otherwise could have been. Even with all the progress we have made, there are many businesses which have still not fully moved to a digital interaction with their customers and many of them are significantly impacted by the events taking place. These high-touch areas of our economy must evolve their business models to provide equal to if not better levels of service through a digital interaction model compared to their current high-touch engagement models. This will not only be a necessity against future impacts but will simply become part of doing business with a society which will forever change the way they do business.
As I have spent the majority of my career in banking technology, one obvious area of improvement is how we pay for things. As children we were all told cash is dirty. Guess what, that not only has been imprinted in our minds, but come to find out it’s true. This will continue to drive society away from cash. Even with the reduction of using cash, we don’t want to be forced to touch payment keypads if we pay with cards. Society must move to completely contactless payment methods. Most of us carry around a very secure payment device in our pockets in the form of a smart phone and business should be using that as the payment platform of choice.
Car shopping is much more high touch than it should be. Tesla has proven that car shopping and ordering can be a completely digital experience. Car dealers are currently significantly impacted on the sales side of their dealerships and should evolve to a digital dealership. The service side of the business could also improve with smarter cars that can diagnose many of the problems before they ever are taken in for service.
The real estate industry seems like a difficult one to move to digital but with Virtual Reality technology readily available, there is no reason those first showings at that initial list of potential houses could not be done “virtually” using VR technology with a virtual walk through to narrow down to a list of homes that are truly worth an in-person visit. This also enables potential customers relocating from a different city to do the majority of their home shopping before they even visit their new destination.
HCL Software has the products and services to help move your business to a digital interaction model providing the digital storefront for your customers to engage with your business across the platform of their choice. HCL Commerce provides an omni-channel platform providing personalized storefront capabilities for both business to consumer and business to business interactions. HCL Digital Experience helps businesses create engaging digital experiences across multiple device types by integrating rich applications and content to deliver these new engagement models.