Companies are questioning how they’re going to adapt to the so-called “new normal”. Life will never be the same, and we will never ever be the same. A new way of living is emerging, a world filled by low-touch interactions. I still can’t imagine a reality where people don’t hug each other or don’t even shake hands, that’s just strange. We are social beings, and we crave connection.
Today, keeping things low touch is a priority for businesses and governments. Entire operations are being reimagined, taking into account health and safety measures. This is the new state of our economy, whether we like it or not. It’s time we face it head-on.
Philippe de Rider is the CEO of The Board of Innovation, Strategy & Business Design Firm that develops templates and frameworks and regularly puts several tools out there for free. He remarks on how interesting it is to see how we can copy business models and implement them in different industries.
Rider’s firm initially coined the term “Low-Touch Economy”, which refers to the economic and behavioral shifts COVID-19 caused and the ones that it pivoted. Not to sound dramatic, but everything has genuinely changed. Consumers are buying different things through different channels and at different frequencies.
Many pillars of society are experiencing an accelerated evolution and several adaptations. For the time being, we don’t see any large gatherings happening, which will result in second-order consequences. Purchases that can be postponed are likely not to happen. As a collective, we are dealing with problems such as mental health, loneliness, and depression. And we will soon see Immune tests go mainstream as institutions will be able to certify clients as immune customers.
While embracing our new reality, we do have to ask ourselves, how does a Low-Touch Economy impact our organization?
Virtual Migration Can’t Wait Any Longer
Transitioning to online operations was on many business strategies plans, but it was still something that didn’t occur right now but in the future. It’s time for your businesses and brands to pivot innovative ideas. If it’s not now, when?
Creating a strategy that’s aligned with your vision is key. Don’t let your brand “go dark”. Broken relationships with customers will lead to an instant drop in demand. Today more than ever, it’s crucial to be present and relevant on digital. Supporting your businesses and brands with creative and engaging content through social & e-comm channels is a great way to stay on your consumer’s top of mind.
Depending on your industry, you are likely to go through several transformations yourself. Support services such as online payment software and cloud hosting need to respond to your organization’s and customer demand.
Every industry is a unique story. Whereas some are winning among the current circumstance’s others are inevitably being left behind. Some are choosing to guide their customers through their stores remotely, but others are truly thinking outside of the box.
Some companies are exploring radical new business models tied to space travel and exploration while taking several human behavioral insights from the pandemic. Researchers can now learn more about the impact of loneliness and stress in space or other planets.
Restaurants are seeking every opportunity they get to upload their takeout menus into food delivery apps. Some businesses that weren’t digital before have found that nowadays, the only way they can have access to hungry customers.
According to Deloitte fintechs can now leverage their unique assets so they can seize new opportunities. Banking and other services where we usually have face-to-face interactions are optimizing their platforms to offer all kinds of virtual, remote, and in-app services. Digital services are being highly encouraged during lockdown periods.
ByteDance profited hugely since the earlier stages of the pandemic. People confined indoors contributed to the TikTok boom. E-comm platforms such as Amazon and Shopify were cashing in long before brick and mortar shops had to shut down, but ever since the pandemic hit e-comm sales have gone through the roof.
Real state is stepping up their game by providing ultra-realistic virtual tours for their clients, it’s a highly scalable model, and realtors can give their properties more exposure. Businesses and brands must make their interactions between their customers and them possible. Some companies will be slower to accept our new reality.
Contactless payment, healthier lifestyles are more likely to be adopted. People don’t want to be vulnerable to COVID-like diseases in the near future. So, how are you going to provide virtual value to your consumers in a Low-Touch economy?
New Everything – What You Got?
Same problems, new solutions. The ones seeking new opportunities can find the answers if they just look a little closer. For example, traffic is not going anywhere; some problems are likely to persist, and they’re still going to need viable solutions.
Others are exploring radical new business models, such as space exploration. New and healthier habits are moving us into a greener, more friendly society. We will be witnessing several companies that entered the pandemic as a kind of company only to emerge as another in a post-COVID economy. We are going through a deep season of evolution.
Attractive opportunities are likely to be entangled between new regulations, new tech, and new resources. The game has changed, and it needs new players.
More people are buying local products and services to support their communities. Working out at home has people upgrading their fitness equipment and sportswear while plant-based everything is flying off shelves. Beyond Meat and other meat, alternative companies are receiving positive feedback from the public.
As society restarts, consumers are likely to be confused. Potential consumers will be seeking brands that are making their sanitization efforts considerably visible. In the end, it all about transforming your organization into a better and optimized version of itself.
Rethinking What It’s Like To Be In Business
Adapting Businesses to the Low-Touch- Economy. Designing hands-off businesses will imply establishing low touch interactions between customers and employees. The ability to operate despite travel bans and health protocols ***
Remain flexible, having a plan is definitely mandatory, but you must be able to readjust when necessary, stiffness is not welcomed in this area. Adapt your organization’s strategy to the current circumstances, and keep the radar for new opportunities short term and long term. We are far more likely to witness innovation at its purest state derived by
We need to be thinking across several contexts: Professional, Family unit, and Social interactions. Limited access and restrictions towards vulnerable demographics will require creative ways to make life easier without losing its essence.
Economic recovery will be an exciting mix of behavioral shifts and disruptive economic patterns. The implementation of rigorous health protocols will heavily influence consumer behavior.
The aftershocks of this global pandemic are likely to prevail two years from now. We will have to exist among reduced gatherings, imposed travel restrictions, and hygienic precautions.
Industries that will have experienced a total makeover in the meantime are travel and leisure related businesses. The Jamaican Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett said that post-COVID travellers would be hugely health conscious. Airlines are already working on redesigning airplane interiors and seat arrangements. Before planning a holiday, buyers will be more inclined to go to designated “safe travel zones”.
Changing From Within
If you haven’t already, you probably need to go through an organizational culture makeover. If your operations had to continue from home office modality or a mix in between, it’s reasonable to experience some communication barriers. Before the pandemic, not every company had systems in place that could support remote working while also keeping classified information safe.