April 28, 2020
Four Post-Pandemic Predictions
By Tom Kaneshige
It’s difficult to imagine what the business world will look like after this is over, or at least, after a things settle down. But I’m going to give it a try anyway. Here are my four takes on the biggest changes with the most staying power in the wake of the pandemic.
- Remote Work Is Here to Stay
People don’t like change, yet current circumstances have forced it upon them. There’s no bigger change to daily lives than working from home.
This is now the new normal, so what will make people change back? Nothing. They’re no longer facing long commutes, regularly filling up gas tanks, and grooming themselves daily to go into the office. More importantly, they’re realizing micro-managers have been lying to them for years — that is, working from home doesn’t lead to lower productivity.
At-home workforces have enormous implications for all sorts of industries, from fashion to automotive to commercial real estate to cooking and cleaning products. Generally speaking, many companies will dramatically reduce overhead by passing on costs of work spaces, networking and utilities to employees. Remote workers also tend to take advantage of bring-your-own-devices, or BYOD, policies.
[Related: Join KPMG and CMO Council on our four-part webinar series, Marketing Mandate 2020: Pivot Your Plans, Optimize Your Spend.]
- B2B and B2C E-Commerce — I’m Buying It!
Digital first? It’s digital all day, every day. We’ve known for a while that B2B e-commerce was growing faster than B2C e-commerce, but the pandemic has no doubt accelerated us toward this new normal. In Italy alone, e-commerce transactions have risen 81 percent since the end of February, according to McKinsey.
For companies dragging their feet toward digital transformation, their success (or survival) now depends on picking up lost ground quickly. Conversely, companies ahead in digital tools and analytics have a huge advantage. The new B2B digital battlefield will come down to the e-commerce experience, such as configure-price-quote capabilities and machine learning powering dynamic pricing, cross-selling and up-selling.
- E-Learning All The Time
So far, more than 26 million people have filed for employment in the past five weeks. This number will surely rise in the weeks ahead. Many of the lost jobs won’t be coming back, or at least, not enough of them. The good news: New ecosystems, industries and business models will emerge in the post-pandemic landscape.
But this means people will need new skills. As with many college students today, these skills won’t be taught in a classroom, rather in e-learning environments. Once people get used to learning new things this way, they won’t want to change. Companies will conduct onboarding, sales enablement and other training needs via e-learning, too.
- Automation Limits Human Contact
Along the lines of unemployment, manufacturers and other companies will drive automation to replace people, in order to minimize human contact. Welcome to the new “low touch economy,” says the Board of Innovation, “where the post-Covid 19 era will have an economy shaped by new habits and regulations based on reduced close-contact interaction and tight travel and hygiene restrictions.”
Automation already regularly happens following periods of great economic hardship, not simply for reduced human contact. A recent McKinsey report cited Brookings Institution findings showing that the pace of automation increased during each of the three recessions occurring over the past 30 years.
About the Author
Tom Kaneshige is the Chief Content Officer at the CMO Council and editor of Growth Monitor. He creates all forms of digital thought leadership content that helps growth and revenue officers, line of business leaders, and chief marketers succeed in their rapidly evolving roles. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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