COVID-19 Will Change Our Digital World Faster Than Anything We've Ever Experienced

This tweet by the founder and CEO of Box, Aaron Levie, caught my eye.

Aaron-Levie-Tweet

I don’t always agree with everything he says, but for this tweet specifically, he couldn’t be more right. The coronavirus has changed user behavior in a way I’ve never seen before. I could understand if it changes behavior for a day or a week, but I think it will change user behavior forever.

The more I talk to our team, our clients, and my friends and family, the more I’m positive we are going to witness massive change.

Here are three big questions that leaders will be asking themselves in the next six to nine months.

Do we really need this office?

Want to know who’s looking at their office rental payment right now? Every single CEO of every single company. And they’re all asking themselves the same question: Do I really need this office right now? Is it worth the money? What would happen if I just didn’t go back? Would we lose revenue? Would our colleagues' relationships suffer and result in less productive work?

And the CEOs of companies which in a million years would never become fully remote, are now considering it.

That has a huge impact on how we operate and puts more emphasis on digital.

And after that question, they’ll undoubtedly have more questions:

  1. Does our company have the digital tools and software to do their jobs?
  2. Does our customer support have the right digital tools to answer questions right away if the entire team is remote?
  3. Is our sales process mobile- and web-friendly?

How do we engage with our customers in a digital world?

covid-digital

I’m sure you’ve seen this image on every platform possible, but it’s too good not to share again. COVID-19 will be remembered as the pandemic that accelerated digital transformation for every single lagging, traditional organization.

The one question being asked in boardrooms around the world is, “How do we engage with our customers in a purely digital world?” Many companies assumed that although digital is necessary and growing, there will always be a physical presence needed. But now, as we have all seen, a physical presence isn’t required to make the world work.

And because of that, you will see companies invest more in digital platforms.

The questions leaders should be asking themselves:

  1. How do we make it easy for customers to pay us?
  2. How can we increase revenue using our digital platforms?
  3. Do we have the right platforms that enable our customers to interact with us and allow us to answer their questions quickly?
  4. What other ideas or technologies should we be exploring that will help us drive new services or products that make an impact on our customers?

I think we’re still at the beginning of innovations, and new things will emerge that we never thought we needed.

What consumer behaviors are going to change?

Just take a look at how many workers these companies are now hiring:

Instacart: 300,000 people
Amazon: 100,000 people
Walmart: 150,000 people

What do they all have in common? They deliver things to you quickly.

And Zoom, the remote meeting software, jumped from 10 million to 200 million users in 3 months. Talk about incredible growth. But, the growth isn’t just from more business people hosting meetings; it comes from teachers hosting Zoom classes, from online skill-sharing demonstrations, from virtual museum and art tours, and from friends and coworkers catching up for digital happy hours.

Everyone’s behavior has changed to match this new world.

Leaders should be asking the following questions:

  1. How will our customers' behavior change? How are we adapting to that change?
  2. Do we have the right digital team to lead us through this behavior change?

On top of all of this, we are seeing a big increase in app store growth, including non-game apps.

Though COVID-19 is having an impact on the app stores’ revenue, growth remains strong. Worldwide consumer spending in mobile apps is projected to reach $171 billion by 2024, which is more than double the $85 billion from 2019. This total, however, is about $3 billion (or 2%) less than the forecast the firm had released prior to the COVID-19 outbreak.

In addition to increases in non-game apps — like education, grocery delivery or remote work apps — mobile game downloads will grow 30% year-over-year in 2020 to reach 56.2 billion, compared with 10.4% growth between 2018 and 2019. [Mobile app spending to double by 2024, despite economic impacts of COVID-19]

If there was ever a time to help your company go digital, now is the time.

I just don’t see a new world where people go back to how they were acting before the coronavirus impacted us all. We’ll see more investments in a digital world than ever before, and just like Levie said, you’ll see more companies move to digital faster than the previous decade.