Jim Johnson, head of Worldpay from FIS, says that to succeed in the post-pandemic world, businesses must recognize the opportunity in fast-tracking their plans for digital transformation. “2020 certainly challenged all of us, but we will all come out stronger, and the businesses that reinvent themselves to address the digital shift will set themselves up for future outperformance,” he says. Read more in “A Look Forward: What Executives Wish for America and the World in 2021.”
If 2020 was a year of unprecedented change, I believe 2021 will be a year of recovery and realignment for businesses. With new vaccines providing optimism that an end to the pandemic is in sight, we are seeing the hardest-hit industries, such as restaurants and travel, using the pandemic to retool how they do business. Businesses that can see the opportunity in accelerating their digital transformation plans will set themselves up for future success.
We’ve seen a remarkable change in how consumers shop in 2020. Years of adoption of digital commerce through online and social shopping was condensed into a few months. Our research shows that over 85 percent of consumers globally altered their shopping behavior in 2020, with a large shift to omnichannel and online options. FIS’ Generation Pay survey also found that more than 60 percent of Gen Z and millennials have made purchases via social media, and 42 percent of all payments made during the pandemic were done through mobile devices. Over three billion smartphone users are making purchases and posting reviews. This is an indication of the power of optimizing mobile sales channels for retailers in a post-pandemic world.
For businesses to flourish in 2021 and beyond, they’ll need to focus on user experiences that emphasize convenience and minimized contact. One of the best examples is the rise of buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS), which blurs the line between eCommerce and brick and mortar. Omnichannel has been a discussion topic in the payments industry for years, but this is what true omnichannel looks and feels like: a seamless user experience between a business’ digital and physical presence. We will also see a proliferation of social shopping that takes new forms, from shoppable posts to artificial intelligence (AI)-generated shopping links based on news and image feeds.
What’s more, these highly-targeted ads will effectively “disappear” into user feeds, engaging consumers with frictionless experiences that allow them to make in-app purchases. Social channels are retailers’ new storefront, and retailers that recognize the significance of social shopping will outperform in the new world of digital commerce and consumer engagement. Finally, it’s important to note that the eCommerce sphere is an overwhelmingly vast digital marketplace, where discovery is often the biggest hurdle for success.
One of the best tools for businesses is to offer tangible loyalty programs that reward repeat purchases from both new and established customers. Further, auto-generated calls to action for customers to review purchases and share their experience on social media — along with other 21st century tactics for online selling — will be vital. These digital commerce trends were present before the pandemic, moving on predictable paths toward widescale adoption. However, efforts to minimize the spread of COVID-19 revolutionized how consumers pay for goods and services. 2020 certainly challenged all of us, but we will all come out stronger, and the businesses that reinvent themselves to address the digital shift will set themselves up for future outperformance.