In A decade of digital transformation in 12 months, 46 C-suite executives spoke to PYMNTS for their Q2 eBook on What The World Will Look Like As The Recovery Continues And The Next Iteration Of Normal Deployment. In this extract, Kristian gjerding, CEO of Digital CellPoint, explains why brands must digitize the entire customer experience to capitalize on the change in consumer behavior brought about by the pandemic.
Read the entire eBook here.
There have been a lot of changes in consumer behavior over the past year due to the new daily living conditions imposed by the pandemic. Take face masks, for example. Before governments around the world made them mandatory in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19, you hardly ever saw anyone wearing them in Western countries. Now it is commonplace.
While some might think that when the pandemic ends, the use of face masks will cease, this is most definitely not the case. For example, we are seeing in Asia that wearing face masks is not just flash in the pan, as residents there were using them long before COVID-19 and will continue to use them long after the current pandemic. I imagine it will be the same everywhere, a sign that the changes caused by the pandemic are here to stay.
The same goes for payments and FinTech. As a result of the pandemic, customers have adopted increasingly digitally-driven behaviors, from online shopping to buy now, pay later (BNPL), and they are unlikely to abandon those preferences. As a result, it shouldn’t be about which parts of a business brands might digitize, but rather how they will reposition and restructure in a digital age to avoid being left behind.
Contactless is a good example. We have seen widespread adoption of contactless payments around the world as consumer behavior has changed, with an increasing demand for non-physical forms of payment. This was in part inspired by social distancing guidelines and global lockdowns. Both have accelerated this behavior, leading to massive adoption of contactless technologies, not only in payments, but also in travel, live entertainment and more.
As a result, the technologies and services that survive COVID are likely to help deliver a more contactless experience for customers, one in which they can pay through whatever method they choose and enjoy a seamless experience, either way. store or online.
Financial services and products from the COVID-19 pandemic have helped usher in a more transparent payment experience for users, so it’s hard to identify true ‘one-hit wonders’ or anything that will fade away. What we can say for sure, however, is that traditional payment methods such as cash and checks are unlikely to stand the test of time. Even in 2009, when Denmark towards cashless was in its infancy, we recognized the potential of physical money to spread disease. The world has awakened to this reality and businesses must prepare for this contactless future to successfully move forward.
The lesson here is that if brands don’t go digital, they risk being left behind. True digitalization doesn’t just mean investing in one element, but rather fundamentally changing many aspects of a business – from payments to the entire customer experience – in order to capitalize on changes in consumer behavior.