Everyone is wondering what will be the new reality for face to face interactions post COVID.  COVID impacts small businesses even more than large businesses since they need to invest to survive today, but they don’t want the investment to be throwaway post COVID.  Should they invest in applications like Servv that provide the ability to provide digital face to face interactions when in person face to face interactions might be the preferred method post COVID?  On the basis of comments by experts around the world, the answer is YES you should invest now in digital face to face interactions.  Customers are getting comfortable with the switch to digital and they are going to demand some amount of digital face to face interaction post COVID.

Industry Experts

John Stackhouse – Senior Vice President Royal Bank of Canada “We’re emerging from this crisis with an even greater desire to harness smart technologies to transform pretty much everything we do.  COVID did not crush the future. It merely brought it forward.  People will want more options to engage with art, music and culture online after COVID”

Melinda Petrunoff, Director of Small and Medium Business ANZ, Facebook “In the past month, 50% of operational SMBs in Australia reported 25% or more of their sales were made digitally. That’s encouraging data, and a sign that small businesses are finding ways to adjust to the new COVID normal.  For SMBs that haven’t made the move to embrace digital, time is of the essence.”

David Rusenko, head of e-commerce at mobile payments company Square “Overnight, doing business in person was not really an option anymore, so everyone scrambled to get online. We saw a three-year adoption cycle get compressed to three weeks.”

Trade Magazines

Small Business Trends “In fact, a recent study found that 35 percent of personal businesses have started offering services online during the pandemic. This has been a necessity for some due to restrictions on non-essential in-person businesses. For others, it has simply added extra revenue streams or offered more options for customers who may not feel comfortable visiting.

Locomotion Fitness is one company that recently pivoted to an online model due to COVID-19. The company completely changed its business model in 48 hours. Since the company couldn’t safely offer in-person fitness classes, it shifted to provide Zoom classes. This allowed the company to keep its existing customers happy and stick with a subscription model — just in a new way”

National Press

Washington Post “Tons of other industries have seen major shifts since the pandemic started and even beforehand. Specifically, many realtors now offer virtual walkthroughs and online bidding. Healthcare providers are increasingly offering virtual consultations. And evenlaw firms are offering video chats and online tools to work with clients from anywhere.

But it’s not only beneficial for small businesses to embrace technology during a pandemic. Moving to an online model provides plenty of benefits during normal times as well. For example, companies can often decrease overhead expenses by operating virtually. You may be able to cut out rent and utilities on retail or office space. And working remotely may allow you to hire help from anywhere. You don’t need to just stick with talent in your immediate geographic area.

Finally, today’s customers simply expect their favorite businesses to be online. This doesn’t mean every company needs to operate completely digitally post-COVID. But having a consistent online presence can help you get in front of more customers. In fact, 87 percent of customers now begin their product searches on digital channels. That number has risen steadily through the years and is now higher than ever. So if you want customers to notice your business early in the buying process, an online presence is a must.

National Press

Washington Post “Not all closed stores have physical goods they can sell. Many businesses and professions have moved to offering paid versions of their usual services online. On Zoom and FaceTime, physical trainers are running clients through drills, hairstylists are talking people through cutting and dying their own hair, and therapists are fulfilling the increased need for their services on video.

Gerrae Simons Miller has owned Philadelphia’s Mellow Massage & Yoga for 12 years and has 22 employees. The business was primarily focused on the massages, but a few weeks into the pandemic she offered online yoga classes over Zoom. She’s considering adding paid telehealth-like appointments to guide people through practicing massage therapy on themselves and releasing pressure points.

For many owners suffering business losses during the lockdown, changes are going well beyond adopting new safety measures. At least 10% are beginning to offer new services and almost 20% have started to consult remotely, according to a survey of almost 700 companies by Thumbtack, a website that matches customers and small-business professionals.”

Next Steps

Servv provides digital face to face interactions by integrating Zoom and Shopify.  Servv complements that with face to face interactions at the group and individual level. Starting December 9, one on one meetings are available.  Those additions smooth the transition to the post COVID world.

Servv’s lead customers are providing valuable input in guiding new feature development for SMB’s.  Download your no charge trial of Servv at https://servv.ai/ and join the digital evolution of small businesses.

Blog: https://blog.servv.ai/