According to a recent survey conducted by Fortune of its 500 CEOs, most believe that it will be years, not months before the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are no longer affecting the U.S. economy and how organizations approach it.
Only 27% of those surveyed believe that workers will return to their usual workplace before the end of 2020, while the majority of survey participants believe it won’t be until the first quarter of 2022. Most of those surveyed also believed that business travel will never return to the same levels as it was before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Your Customers’ Worldview Has Changed and So Should Yours
It doesn’t matter who you ask: most people will agree that the world as we knew it before the current pandemic crisis has irreversibly changed. Fast Company reports that 77% of customers are now likely to conduct business digitally today than they may have been before the pandemic. Many customers want touchless interfaces rather than face-to-face interactions to lessen their potential exposure to the virus.
Companies that embrace technological innovation to serve customers through digital interfaces and new business models are likely to fare better than those who are solely reliant on traditional approaches to reaching, acquiring, and retaining customers.
One national grocery chain saw a 369% growth by offering a way for its customers to order their groceries online. They managed to provide a model that allowed customers to shop for the products they needed, import payment and delivery information, and receive their groceries promptly without those customers needing to risk their health. Their embrace of the technology to service those customers resulted in that chain receiving 37% of their national sales from their website in March through May of this year.
The Effect of the Pandemic on Innovation
The Fortune study also indicated that 75% of CEOs participating felt that if there could be a positive effect of the current pandemic crisis, it would be in innovation. Participants felt that in the crisis, teams within organizations had more readily adapted to the cloud and other technologies to allow workers to remain productive and working while keeping themselves and their families safe. Among the survey participants, 92% felt that companies had done a good job of handling the crisis.