Post COVID-19 trends shaping the future of digital business 

While COVID-19 restrictions have loosened throughout Canada – the lasting impact of the pandemic will forever change business practices and trends in Canada and around the world.

The pandemic brought mandated lockdowns and constant changes to the norms of everyday life that forced companies to adapt to a digital transformation. Companies that choose to stay up to date, or ahead, of trends will have a greater chance of succeeding.

Here are some of the most prominent digital trends shaping the post-pandemic business landscape.

A Shift to Working from Anywhere

Due to the global pandemic, many companies have moved on from having employees work in the office to a remote-first work environment. Being able to work from anywhere allows companies and employees to save expenses and conduct their business from anywhere in the world.

According to data from Statistics Canada – 32% of employed Canadians aged 15 to 69 worked remotely in 2021, compared to only 4% of employed Canadians working remotely in 2016.

Having the option to work from home not only saves companies and employees additional expenses annually but also helps in protecting our climate. According to an IQAir report, air pollution rates are dropping at unprecedented rates due to companies allowing people to work from home.

International E-Commerce Operations

Building off the first trend, a remote-first environment paves the way for international business operations to reach larger and more distant target markets that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise.

COVID-19 has proven the importance of e-commerce sales for any business. In May 2020, e-commerce sales reached a record $3.9 billion according to data from Statistics Canada, a 2.3% increase over April and a 99.35 increase over February. Year-over-year, e-commerce sales more than doubled in 2020 – with a 110.8% increase compared with May 2019.

To no surprise, these record numbers happened as brick-and-mortar sales experienced record declines.

Even more so, brick-and-mortar retailers now need to compete with online retailers within their own walls. An overwhelming number of shoppers report using their devices to compare in-store prices to online deals and research in-store purchases, with 75% admitting that online ratings and reviews influence their buying decisions.

Surge in Technological Investments

With the importance of digital technology for today’s businesses, allocating increased investments in innovation and technology will be critical in the formula for a successful strategy.

When it comes to growth in the tech sector in Canada, Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal are leading the charge. Toronto startups saw a total of $5.5 billion in investment funding raised last year, Vancouver came in second with nearly $4 billion and Montreal reached $1.6 billion in 2021.

The Government of Canada invested $55.1 million in 20 clean technology companies across Canada through Sustainable Development Technology Canada. The funding will be used to support companies in researching and developing innovative sustainable solutions for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and lessening the environmental impact.

Technological infrastructures such as software, equipment, facilities and structures are imperative in running many of today’s business operations. Staying up to date and allocating investments for innovation, clean energy and technology will help businesses stay ahead of the ever-evolving technological trends and patterns.

Shift to a Digital Economy

In the digital economy post-pandemic world – companies that have committed to digital transformation early on will find themselves thriving and in a better position to offer a better more personalized experience for consumers.

Due to the pandemic, companies already transitioning to a work from anywhere policy but shouldn’t stop there. Companies can expand their digitization from a remote-first work environment to digital health solutions, virtual classrooms, virtual events, streaming and cashless transactions.

It’s clear to say that companies who embrace a digital transformation will be better off surviving the pandemic but will also be better prepared for a post-pandemic business landscape.

Importance of Securing your Data

With more and more data being kept online due to companies transitioning to a remote-first work environment – data security is becoming a greater risk.

Cyber attacks are more prevalent than ever in a mostly digital landscape with all your data being accessible online. Companies must ensure their security measures are in place, especially when dealing with customer and employee data.

In 2021, Canada Post released a statement regarding a cyberattack data breach within their company. According to their statement, the impacted information contained the personal information of approximately 950,000 individual consignees.

Companies can consider risk management tools such as cyber insurance and conduct due diligence when choosing a service provider to whom it plans to entrust personal data and has a vendor compliance monitoring system in place to ensure your service provider is taking all necessary precautions.

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