In 2007, Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone. While it wasn’t the first smartphone on the market, it ushered customers into an era of mobility and on-the-go convenience.
These mini handheld computers changed the way we interacted with content and the world at large. Since then, smartphones have continued to increase in power and ease of use, with businesses working hard to keep up with the creation of mobile apps, or at the very least, a mobile website to appease these customers on the go.
With this convenience of mobility, some experts believed that the smartphone would eventually render PC and laptop computers obsolete. But then came the pandemic.
The pandemic shift and new market demands
With the shutdowns came the need to shift to remote work, and mobility was no longer a reality. People weren’t on the go like they used to be. This impacted how customers defined convenience and what technology needed to make possible for them in their new lives.
Suddenly, PC sales hit their six-year peak.
Sales of laptop and desktop computers exceeded 302 million in 2020, a 13% increase from the year before and the most since 2014. Apple’s Mac business, essentially flat since 2017, saw 20-percent-plus revenue growth, thanks to the shift.
Couch-surfing gear also exploded, with Oculus VR headsets and Portal video-chatting stations enjoying 156-percent year-over-year growth during COVID, representing almost $1 billion in annual revenue for owner Facebook. And it wasn’t just hardware manufacturers who experienced this trend.
The boom in restaurant and grocery delivery, not to mention online shopping on Amazon, means customers don’t just want a home office or home theater these days. They want a home restaurant, a home supermarket and a home mall.
Striking a balance: Convenience vs. mobility
Few think this new normal will fade along with the coronavirus. Workers have grown to appreciate the flexibility that has come with remote work.
As of 2021, more than half of Americans surveyed say they still want three or more days from home each week, even after all the pandemic risks subsides.
Faced the opportunity to forego the long commute to the office each day and achieve a better work-life balance, it’s now about what’s convenient for the modern day worker — a belief that bleeds over into other areas of life.
What does this mean for your organization?
The case is clear – it’s time to reassess what convenience means to your customers in the digital context.
The goal is no longer to facilitate freedom of movement, but rather to increase satisfaction and convenience in whatever environment your customers interact with your goods or services.
With working from home more the norm, and frequent and/or international travel less likely in the foreseeable future, convenience may mean a desire for increased functionality and home-based accessibility over additional smartphone-centric functionality. Mobile apps, after all, have their downsides (as anyone who’s ever tried to edit code on a smartphone keyboard can attest!).
Focus on the digital experience
It’s time to prioritize the home digital experience rather than mobility. Ensure your organization is investing in a seamless digital experience within the home. Begin by asking questions such as:
- What is your desktop or laptop e-commerce experience like for users?
- Are you optimizing your data and applications by using cloud-based services?
- Is there a way to integrate your offerings with Amazon Echo, Google Home or other voice-activated services?
And what about your employees?
Hopefully you’ve made strides over the past year in facilitating a remote workforce. But how is your Zoom game in a hybrid environment, where some employees are in a meeting room and others are logging in from home?
These are questions we’re all facing as we shift back into a hybrid world. Fortunately, our team is here to help enterprises develop the digital capabilities they need to succeed in the post-pandemic economy.
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