Many industries have been impacted by increasing consumer demand for digital activations and offerings, and there are a few areas we can look at that have adopted innovative tech solutions to build better processes that are more in tune with what their audiences want and need in this new environment.
The New Office Environment
Real estate development, interior design and architecture have no doubt evolved and will continue to evolve long after the pandemic has subsided, as developers and designers have had to consider how differently we’re now engaging with the world around us.
This can take form in many ways, including building dedicated working/office spaces into new residential developments to allow for more seamless remote work experiences. Many offices are innovating in ways beyond safety protocols that remove extra desks and seats to create space in office settings for social distancing, utilizing new technologies that help transform offices into nearly touchless environments.
Some larger offices and corporate campuses are employing mobile apps to stagger lunch ordering and pickup from onsite cafeterias, conference rooms and parking lots, and others are going completely touchless: Palo Alto Networks in Santa Clara, CA reported that its offices are going contactless, from appliances like espresso machines that scan QR codes instead of operating with touch buttons, to motion-activated faucets and sanitizing stations.
This signals a shift in the innovation cycle, as companies are considering how their employees are interacting with the world around them differently now than they were last year and putting new digital technologies in place to adapt to those changes.
Another industry that’s quickly evolving for the new digital landscape is in-person retail, specifically shopping malls and centers. Research points to the incredible opportunity for customer experience improvement and innovation here, as many consumers already prefer online shopping — a Deloitte study showed that of 58% consumers expect enclosed-mall shopping to become less popular post-Covid.
It’s clear that the answer here is increased digital adoption, with the research also showing that global spending on retail technology was growing even before the pandemic, jumping 3.6% from 2018 to 2019. Shopping malls and other enclosed retail spaces have the potential to drive foot traffic through creating dynamic customer experiences, focusing on convenience and incorporating digital elements (like mobile apps) that integrate technology customers already know and love.
Other industries like food and beverage have turned to “ghost kitchens,” driving up the market for commercial kitchen space. As restaurants remain closed across the country and high rents continue to drive business owners out of city centers, ghost kitchens may be combined with virtual food and beverage ordering systems like GrubHub and DoorDash to continue reaching more customer bases.
Event venues and sports stadiums have also had to consider how customers interact with their spaces and put more solutions in place to match the new relationship visitors have with large-scale venues. Even as confidence in attending in-person events returns, these venues will likely maintain their solutions that minimize close personal contact, including on-demand food and beverage ordering and crowd congestion alerts that allow guests to avoid lines, box offices and crowded spaces.
The industry is also seeing a shift to completely digital mobile operations when it comes to ticketing, removing the need for paper. As consumers are used to doing everything on their mobile phones already, shifting ticketing to a completely digital and touchless process will ultimately create a better and more frictionless experience.
Our evolving “digital-first” society has undoubtedly impacted how we interact with our physical environment and prompted companies to develop a deeper understanding of how the customer’s journey with their offerings has changed as a result.
This article originally appeared on Forbes.com.