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How the Pandemic Accelerated the Digital World By 10 Years in Just 12 Months

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There’s no doubt that the pandemic has changed the way we learn, socialize, and work. We were already highly dependent on technology prior to 2020, as is evidenced by our use of custom apps and Google searches. But when COVID-19 hit, our digital world became our source for virtually everything — from how we get leads to how we celebrate milestone events.

In just 12 months, our lives have changed drastically. As soon as the first cases of the novel coronavirus began to appear, we immediately started to explore online alternatives to add to our everyday routines. Throughout 2020 and even into 2021, reliance on internet resources vastly increased compared to previous years. And because we needed solutions that would keep us safe, innovators sprang into action and moved us forward — some say by at least a decade. Let’s take a closer look at how the pandemic accelerated our world on a digital scale by so much in such a short amount of time.

Businesses Embrace Remote Work

Not surprisingly, one of the most notable developments that came out of the pandemic was how we’ve embraced remote work. Prior to 2020, it was a rare perk for businesses to offer even part-time telecommuting. Even though this is an arrangement many employees wanted to become standard, it might not have happened on such a large scale or so quickly if our current health crisis hadn’t occurred. While many businesses have resumed their regular operations, others are continuing to offer remote work options to employees as a way to keep them safe, productive, and engaged. Not only have studies found that remote work options can increase efficiency, but they can also reduce operational costs for the business itself. Although some employees may be eager to return to traditional office work, others are hesitant to give up the freedom of working from home. Now, remote work options have become more expected — which means it’s likely that prospective hires will prioritize employers that continue to offer them. According to a 2020 McKinsey study, executives planned to reduce their office space by 30%, which indicates that remote work will likely stick around even after the pandemic ends.

Ecommerce Becomes Essential

Ecommerce was already a big threat to physical retail, but the pandemic forced even loyal in-person shoppers to explore online alternatives. App developers and ecommerce website builders were thriving during the early days of the pandemic, as many businesses scrambled to provide digital shopping options to satisfy growing consumer demand. Around 39% of global ecommerce traffic comes from search, which means it wasn’t just application developers who stood to benefit. Those who offered digital marketing services, including SEO and online ads, played a huge role in helping businesses stay afloat. Considering that data from IBM’s U.S. Retail Index shows that the pandemic accelerated the shift away from brick-and-mortar stores to online shopping by around five years, it’s obvious that businesses will need to keep providing convenient options for customers who don’t want to leave the couch to shop. By working with website and app developers or digital marketers, business owners can help drive traffic and increase conversions.

Online Innovation Begets Survival

“Necessity is the mother of invention” is a phrase that certainly rang true during 2020. The need for fast, digital solutions to the nation’s problems prompted innovators to get to work. Automation and artificial intelligence were already becoming more popular, but an increased desire for safety encouraged many businesses to embrace these concepts more quickly than expected. In some cases, it was up to entrepreneurs to bridge the gaps that the government wasn’t equipped to handle, particularly in regard to symptom and disease tracking, the creation of PPE and sanitizing products, and a bevy of online solutions. App developers can put their talents toward creating vaccination passports, while businesses can develop new products to address newfound pandemic problems.

Even though the pandemic may end sooner rather than later, it’s clear that this health crisis has had profound effects on business owners, app developers, and marketers. To learn how we can help your business succeed post-pandemic, please contact us today.