Prepare for the new “Normal”?

Updated: Jun 24, 2020

The world is preparing to open step by step after coronavirus shut it down in March 2020. The global pandemic has made everyone realize the value they bring in this world. Some have experienced their value rise exponentially, but most of the population has seen their price go down.

The world of the future looks considerably distinct from the World we closed two months back. The fear of becoming obsolete is growing amongst some of the large scale industries. The global trends keep changing every few years, so whatever changes we will see were probably on the cards. The pandemic has merely accelerated the timeline from a few years to a few days. So what can we expect?

Know-how of eCommerce is MUST for every business 

For a while now, the need for a physical location to serve an experience has been declining. This trend is present across the industries. The new thumb rule has been, if you sell it on the internet, it will work. Food delivery services have been a significant part of restaurant revenues long before the start of the global tragedy. The experience of dining in was becoming an add on feature for the restaurants. The lingering doubt about investing in e-commerce the business has disappeared overnight.

While the economies are crumbling, Shopify has reported 47% growth in its first quarter of 2020. The increase in new customers (businesses creating online stores) was a whopping 62%, and their market cap passed the Royal Bank of Canada. 

Shopify is a partial solution to digitalize your business and at a very affordable cost. But Shopify only gives you a solution to a storefront. The distribution and the operations required to satisfy highly demanding online shoppers is a steep challenge. The business has to be competent enough to fight the juggernaut like Amazon. The company which lacks the know-how of these formulae will quickly disappear. 

More Automation, Less Employment - Skill Up!

As businesses go online, there will be two types of jobs. Employees who put their brains behind developing computer codes or labor which can mindlessly work in logistics. As innovators look to automate the processes to increase efficiency and ROI, the average skilled labor will find itself in a predicament. Now the majority of "skilled" labor is doing a job where they have to obey the process. Innovation is not on everyone's agenda. These mildly experienced, but highly obedient people need to up their skills to grow, or industries will forget them quickly.

The silver lining is (or is it?), we can train ourselves from the comfort of our couches. We can use the same technology, which is compelling us to this new education. 

It is all going to be Virtual!

In the last decade, the urge to meet new people has significantly decreased amongst us. When I say "meet," I am talking about a physical meeting and not "e-meet." 

Technology analyst and writer Benedict Evans gave a presentation in January. In 2017, about 40% of the new relationships in the US began using a smartphone app. By 2019, the number was at 50%. The trend of meeting new people in some virtual setting is not new. The pandemic has accelerated the need for a virtual environment. Having a pen pal, meeting new dates, having board meetings, and having parliamentary sessions, everything is possible virtually. 

The curiosity to meet new people and learn from a stranger's body language, talking style has played a big part in personality development. With virtual environments, we will miss out on some of these human traits, thus restricting our growth. We need to identify what we will miss and replace these missing opportunities with something else to keep ourselves on the path of growth. Some examples would be engaging in forums to discuss with strangers but to learn with an open mind. Commenting and trolling strangers on twitter are not relevant to the process of growth. 

Data-Driven World and bye-bye to privacy

When we first brought cars to the world, it was a luxury. More than a hundred years later, cars have become an integral part of our economy. Nobody questions the safety of the vehicles before buying them. Nobody challenges themselves before entering an airplane or cruise ship. We trust the mode of transport we are using. 

The data has become a new car in the world. The data can make or break you. Pre-pandemic, there was a lot of concern about how big tech companies are misusing the data and violating our privacy. Remember Cambridge Analytica? (I have a separate article on this topic. You can read it here). Post-pandemic, we want everything to be data-driven. We want to do things online. We want our favorite local restaurants to allow us to order online. We want Amazon to deliver our toilet papers at home. We are justifying the very thing which we were fighting two years back. 

In favor of staying safe and healthy, we have liberated the tech giants to use our data. The smart thing would be to understand the usage of the data and act accordingly. 

As we enter a digital economy, we are software that needs to be updated periodically to keep up with the new trends. The best way to cope is to understand what would come next and prepare yourself to stay ahead of the curve. Let's educate ourselves and the next generations for the coming fifty years and not last fifty years. 

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