Essential factors to consider for a contactless business strategy.
2021 is turning out to be a year of transition for businesses with lockdowns and COVID safe working requirements. Organisations’ reliance on technology is increasing as they overcome challenges and move to a virtual business model backed by a robust contactless strategy.
Demand from consumers with a heightened awareness for health and safety and the need for convenience has resulted in a contactless service model becoming a vital differentiator and a prerequisite to operate in this pandemic world.
Two drivers of the contactless economy are the renewed at-home consumption and the increase in contactless outside home consumption.
According to Deloitte, “The at-home consumption – which includes leisure/recreation education, health products and financial services, among other things – will increase by over two-fold amounting to $3 Trillion by 2025, with almost 20% of this figure attributed to the increase caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Outside home contactless consumption includes customer touch-points that have now become touchless like the retail store experiences. For instance, RFID technology allows consumers to quickly checkout items they bought, make a payment and leave the store without interaction with staff. Other examples are touchless monitoring, diagnosis and care in hospitals, AR/VR learning & collaboration in education, experiential dining with automatic operations and virtual concierges in hospitality.
A Deloitte study reveals five trends that are driving the adoption of the contactless economy:
1. Hyper-awareness of health and safety: A longitudinal biweekly survey of consumers conducted by Deloitte across ten countries found that only about half of the consumers feel safe going to a store or engaging in person-to-person services. Even as countries enter a recovery period, underlying concerns of a pandemic recurrence are reinforcing long-term behavioural changes.
2. Ability to maintain normal behaviour: Digitally enabled consumers can maintain a sense of normalcy. They use digital technologies to connect with people worldwide, make online payments and retain their purchasing behaviours.
3. 5G technology: According to the Deloitte survey, 76% of executives believe 5G will be a critical technology for their business within the next three years. The advanced capabilities of 5G will help enterprises change their offerings, improve customer experience, unlock competitive advantage, and shape the contactless economy.
4. Human experience platform: The global affective computing market is expected to grow to US$90 billion by 2024 at a 32.3% CAGR from 2019. Affective computing can detect consumers’ physical states, infer their needs and respond contextually and emotionally. There are several use cases for affective computing. Read more here.
5. Cloud-centric technology infrastructure: According to Deloitte’s survey, 73% of development and IT executives say a cloud-native model resulted in quicker development and roll-out of applications. This approach will help consumer-facing companies enhance efficiency and react quickly to fast-changing consumer behaviours.
Designing and implementing a contactless strategy.
Organisations need to analyse and evaluate their existing customer contact points and look at how their online model of operations can cater to clients. A robust online payment mechanism covering credit cards, e-wallets and QR codes will be a priority. Chatbot technology powered by AI will help in engaging with customers.
A large part of the strategy is to understand the right mix of technologies based on business operations and leverage technology to enhance the customer connection with the organisation/brand.
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