“2020 will be the year when businesses invest in filling their information and skill gaps to take advantage of digital commerce.”
It’s now clear that all the talk of COVID-era change is crossing over into reality. “For software-as-a-service (SaaS) providers, we expect headwinds and tailwinds,” observed Payoneer CEO Scott Galit. “Unfortunately, this extended period of shutdowns and slow economic activity means fewer businesses will be around in the latter half of the year. On the other hand, the ones that do make it through will need more tools to manage the digital world.”
The following is an excerpt from How 35 Execs Are Powering The Great Digital Shift Of 2020 (And Beyond), contributed by Payoneer CEO Scott Galit.
As we usher in the second half of 2020, there is much that remains to be seen. The most pressing, of course, is how long the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to impact our everyday life. There is no way to know what next week will hold, let alone next quarter. So I would take with a grain of salt any expert who claims to know the permanence of a trend or makes statements like “never again will we see …”
However, this doesn’t discount the massive changes that have impacted consumer and business markets, and it doesn’t undercut the lessons we can take away from this crisis. Regardless of what the future holds, we can say with confidence that flexibility, adaptability and a lean, digital approach to doing business is, for most firms, for the right strategy for the rest of 2020 and beyond.
What we’ve seen since the start of this crisis is that every business needs to think and act like a digital business. It doesn’t matter if you’re a corner store or a big-box retailer — customers need to be able to order online and get delivery. Whether consumers return to physical retail when they feel safe to do so or not, their exposure to digital commerce means a large portion of them will continue to shop online, so it’s hard to imagine too many purely physical retailers succeeding. The growth of eCommerce started long before this pandemic, but it has certainly been accelerated several years forward as a result.
Perhaps the most important and challenging aspect of this shift in business is the importance of the new digital experience. Customers — both consumer and B2B alike — will not accept a bad or clunky online experience. With physical location being less important, businesses that invest in their digital storefronts, in secure and seamless payments and in speedy deliveries will win the loyalty game.
For this reason, 2020 will be the year when businesses invest in filling their information and skill gaps to take advantage of digital commerce. For software-as-a-service (SaaS) providers, we expect headwinds and tailwinds. Unfortunately, this extended period of shutdowns and slow economic activity means fewer businesses will be around in the latter half of the year. On the other hand, the ones that do make it through will need more tools to manage the digital world.
In addition to tools, many will seek talent to fill these new needs. In these leaner times, dedicated talent may be too costly, or unavailable. We expect a massive rise in the use of freelancers, as businesses need to quickly pivot and have gotten used to remote workers.
This opens up the discussion of how work trends in general will shift. It’s hard to imagine workers accepting the status quo of five days a week, 50 weeks a year in the office. Long commutes and extensive travel demands will similarly be tough to swallow. That said, I don’t think we’re facing a world where 100 percent work-from-home will be the norm. People are missing and craving in-person connections. They want to engage with their teams, customers and industry colleagues.
All of this points to a future where the world is more blended. Businesses will mix the physical with the digital. Workers will be a combination of work-from-home and in-office, local and remote. Similarly, commerce will see an increasing mix of domestic and international activity. As we look toward the end of 2020 and further ahead, it is time for businesses and payment providers to ensure they’re ready for a more balanced path.