- Discover how post-pandemic business trends have changed in the COVID era.
- Learn more about the benefits of doing business digitally.
- Find out how location independence could work to the advantage of your business.
- Discover ways cities have worked with restaurants, specifically, in order to boost business.
- Learn how the prevalence of remote work has made businesses reexamine the future of their “offices.”
- Find out how the popularity of cashless and contactless payments could benefit your business.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has created significant challenges for small and large businesses alike. However, there are also some changes happening that can be viewed as less negative.
Behaviors have changed during the Coronavirus outbreak. Thankfully, some of these could end up being positive for small businesses moving forward. In fact, post-pandemic trends have become opportunities just waiting to take off with savvy entrepreneurs at the helm.
Post-pandemic trends shift towards digital
Even as lockdowns lift, so many people spend more time indoors. So, it should come as no surprise that the shift towards digital business is picking up speed. Now, more than ever before, companies operating in the digital space are getting more and more successful – in large part because the options to do almost anything else were severely limited during stay-at-home phases and we’re still not back to pre-pandemic norms.
If you’re a small business owner, the barrier to actually get your organization off the ground has never been lower. You don’t need to worry about finding an ideal location and renting physical office space. Once you have your goods and/or services accounted for, you only need a computer (or mobile device) and an internet connection.
Likewise, a lot of companies are enjoying success right now integrating e-commerce channels into their business that didn’t exist in the past. If you have a product you can ship (or even hand deliver), you can integrate a digital storefront into your existing website and allow people to place orders that way.
Thi is a great way to remain operational as COVID-19 drags. It’s also an opportunity to “future-proof” your operations in case mass shutdowns occur again in the future.
Flexibility of Location Independence
Teleconferencing software like Skype and Zoom is certainly nothing new. The technology has existed in some form or another dating all the way back to the 1990s. But one thing that COVID-19 has ushered in is an era where businesses actually leverage this tech. They can use it to create a new era of location independence in terms of HOW they offer their goods and services.
One of the best examples of this is taking place in gyms across America as you read this. Fitness classes are moving online. Now, people can work out and stay healthy from the comfort (and safety) of their homes. Healthcare professionals are offering therapy and similar services over technologies like Teladoc and Apple’s FaceTime.
You’re also even seeing a digital shift for professional services like Fiducial holding online consultations and meetings. This saves everyone time, effort and travel in exchange for some mouse clicks and a video camera for their computer.
City Partnerships Give Businesses an Interesting Boost
Another trend in the wake of COVID-19 has to do with the unique business boosts in cities across America. Case in point: restaurants.
As states begin to open back up again, a lot of restaurants struggle with operating at 50% capacity (if that). Likewise, there are probably less-than-normal numbers of patrons going into a physical restaurant with virus fears and anxieties so high.
So, what has happened? Many cities have partnered with restaurants to close streets for specific periods of time. Then, those businesses can set up tables outdoors (yes, some even in the middle of the street). This allows them to serve far more people than they could with their actual indoor option. It also promotes social distancing and other safety measures. And small businesses win.
The Era of Remote Work is Upon Us
Everyone knew that remote work had been getting more and more popular over the last several years. One recent study said about 42% of people who worked exclusively from home reported doing so for 5+ years. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has certainly acted as an accelerant for this particular fire. For many employees, working remotely is their favorite of the post-pandemic trends. However, this is one factor that creates interesting implications for small businesses in particular moving forward.
With so many Americans under strict stay-at-home orders at one point and all non-essential businesses closed, more people worked remotely than ever before. Employees realized they actually enjoyed the freedom and flexibility this offered. But their employers also quickly realized that most of them are just as productive at home – if not more so.
Some of these employers have started to wonder if – even when things go “back to normal” – they should bother calling everyone back into the office again. Many may allow the remote work to continue.
If employees continue to work from home a larger percentage of the time (or entirely, in some cases), small businesses can potentially save an enormous amount of money on utilities alone. They likely won’t need to invest in massive office spaces if far fewer people actually use it. This represents an additional cost savings and money that can be funneled into other areas of the business.
Plus, some studies indicate that people are actually more productive when working from home. Thus, not only the quality of the work being done improves but the revenue those employees generates increases as well.
Post-pandemic trends and the future of payments
Another trend that COVID-19 has highlighted over the last several months is the popularity of cashless and contactless payments.
With the concern around germs changing hands, there’s no question that paying with cash is less popular in the time of coronavirus. Many businesses have even gone “cashless” – refusing to accept cash at all.
“Contactless” payments take this one step further. Along with the various smartphone options (like Apple Pay and Google Pay), many debit and credit cards now include a contactless option where consumers simply wave or tap their card on the reader to pay. That’s it. No waiting for your card to register, no PIN, no signature – just a fast and seamless transaction.
In an April Mastercard survey spanning 19 countries, 82% of respondents said they view contactless payments as “the cleaner way to pay.”
The benefits of this for small businesses are as enormous as they are immediate. For starters, younger generations actually prefer this to traditional payments. This means that offering it as an option could be your ticket to attracting an entirely new audience.
Likewise, research indicates that contactless transactions are far faster than their traditional counterparts. Example: 12.56 seconds on average compared to about 33.7 seconds for cash transactions and 26.7 seconds for conventional card transactions.
So, not only are you giving people additional options in terms of how they pay for your goods and services, but you’re also creating an environment where you can execute more transactions in a faster, more secure way as well. It truly is a win-win situation, regardless of how you choose to look at it.
A world of new opportunities
In the end, it’s absolutely clear that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we do business – likely for good. But, for every struggle that the coronavirus brought with it, it also unlocked a world of new opportunities for businesses. That’s why, as more and more states are opening up and things are slowly returning “to normal,” many small businesses are asking themselves how they can continue applying some of these new strategies for the long-term.
Rather than return to the limitations of an era that has officially ended, they’re eager to embrace these post-pandemic trends and opportunities that are now in front of them. The small business owners who are most successful through the COVID-19 crisis and beyond will likely be the ones who seize this chance to pivot and keep up with the changing demands of their customers.
Have questions about how to optimize your business’s use of these post-pandemic trends? Call Fiducial at 1-866-FIDUCIAL or make an appointment at one of our office locations. Ready to book an appointment now? Click here. Know someone who might need our services? We love referrals!
For more small business COVID-19 resources, visit Fiducial’s Coronavirus Update Center to find information on SBA loans, tax updates, the Paycheck Protection Program, paid sick and family leave, and more.