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How the digital economy can create added value

How the digital economy can create added value

It takes a few taps on your smartphone to order lunch, request a ride or pay a bill. Without these digital tools and technologies, there would be few ways that we would be able to efficiently work, learn, shop and have fun.

The coronavirus pandemic has given rise to the digital economy, and businesses are leveraging technology to create value for consumers and employees.

The e-commerce boom

Self-isolation, lockdown restrictions and the closure of non-essential retailer outlets have changed the way we shop, to the point where it has triggered a sudden increase in online shopping activity in recent months. So much so that online shopping transactions surged as much as 60% during Black Friday 2020, compared to Black Friday the previous year.

Hordes of brick-and-mortar shoppers have been forced to migrate online to do their shopping or face winding queues and increased exposure to coronavirus infection. Those who have been bitten by the online shopping bug or at least supplemented their shopping activity with e-commerce, are taking advantage of same-day delivery, click-and-collect facilities and other value-added services. 

‘’Hey Jude experienced a sharp increase in Black Friday/Weekend and Cyber Monday requests, assisting users with finding the best deals and facilitating the entire purchasing process through a single point of contact – the Hey Jude app,’’ says Cleonè Bakker, Head of Commercial at Hey Jude.

Work vs personal time

The more the lines between work and personal life are distorted, the more on-site employees and people working remotely will have less time to do the things they love or value. Everyday activities like preparing dinner, physical exercise and family time are already difficult to get to in a day’s work, let alone juggling virtual meetings, remote learning, paying utility bills or renewing one’s driver’s licence.

‘’Digital technologies like Hey Jude – the world’s first human-powered digital assistant for busy people – are simplifying the lives of people by providing them with solutions to the challenges they face during these protracted periods of lockdown,’’ says Bakker.

The power of online platforms

Digital platforms are being leveraged to reach audiences, enhance offerings and cash-in on the potential of recurring revenues. Global giants, education institutions, celebs and influencers alike are connecting with online audiences on channels like Instagram Live and Facebook Watch to provide personal, meaningful content based on unique tastes, keeping users engaged and giving them something to come back for more.

‘’We’re seeing more requests for online fitness classes, webinars and virtual concerts as restrictions on physical gatherings and live events persist. Users can access highly customised content on-demand and in their own time, in the comfort and safety of their homes,’’ says Bakker.

Digitisation of healthcare

Advancements in digital technology are democratising healthcare and enabling medical professionals to diagnose and give advice to patients remotely, eliminating the need for physical consultations.

‘’Due to the impact of the coronavirus crisis on the mental and physical health on employees, we’re seeing more organisations turn to digital technology to facilitate healthcare and wellbeing programmes for employees and their families. We’re also seeing more users interested in the possibility of accessing GPs, councillors and psychiatrists virtually,’’ says Bakker.

In a time when people have less control over their lives than before, business leaders should utilise the benefits of digital technology to create value for customers and employees now and beyond the pandemic.