The Low Touch Economy: What Business Opportunities Does it Present?

In just a short period of time, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused major shifts in the economic environment and brought about massive economic disruptions which have affected businesses around the globe.

This has been one of the biggest blows in this century and it might be hard for businesses to get back on track even post-pandemic. However, this is not to say that the times ahead will be worse, there is hope for businesses to thrive and accelerate success by adapting their business models to align with the new normal.

Social distancing  and the other  COVID-19 measures have led to the introduction of the term ‘low touch economy.’ The low-touch economy describes the ways in which global businesses have had to evolve their processes and behaviours to overcome the challenges posed by the coronavirus.

Keeping things low-touch is the new state of our economy. It’s time we face it head-on.

What are some of the opportunities that your business can take advantage of and continue providing value to customers? Read on more!

Depending on your industry and your business, there are several opportunities to be harnessed within the low touch economy, but your business can only respond to those that align with your goals and customer demands.

Every business is indeed a unique story and for your business to stand out, you need to think outside the box.

Here are some of the innovations that you can tap into to navigate in the low-touch economic environment and examples of how these are currently being used in Zambia or Africa today.

 Contactless Payment                                                                                           

With contactless payment, customers do not need to carry cash, enter a PIN, swipe their card or sign a receipt, they can simply tap their card on the payment terminal, and they are done! 

Absa Bank Zambia has launched a contactless technology on its Vertical Debit Cards. This feature allows customers to pay for their goods and services by simply tapping on a contactless-enabled payment terminal without the need to insert or swipe.  

Mobile Payments                

Mobile payment is another form of payment that you can incorporate to offer customers, catering to the broadest possible audience with different preferences.  Enabling your customers to use a mobile wallet functionality provides an easy payment process. This, in turn, offers a better customer experience which leads to customer retention.

Kazang Zambia, a supplier of point of sale terminals has partnered with Pick ’n’ Pay to allow customers to pay for their items and other services using mobile money. This is a development that will cater to a set of buyers who do not want to handle cash or debit/cards.

Moving your Business to the Cloud

Cloud computing has emerged as a popular technology for business continuity during this pandemic.

Migrating to the cloud saves your business the costs of setting up IT infrastructure. You can simply use the resources in the cloud that handles the setup and security of your data. You don’t need to worry about purchasing new hardware to replace outdated hardware, or hiring staff to maintain and manage your IT systems.

Cloud-based systems help your business to save money and time so that you focus on your core business goals.

Read more: Business continuity with the cloud

Food Delivery Apps

Restaurants, which were among the most affected businesses by the pandemic, have taken advantage of food delivery apps. Having a food delivery service is a quick way to get your restaurant and menu in front of customers scrolling through apps in search of their meals. Another alternative is to offer curbside pick up where customers pick up their order from  the comfort of their car.

Technology Driven Customer Support

Customer experience is perhaps more critical now than it has ever been, given the onslaught of Coronavirus. Effective customer support should be part of your customer-centric strategy if you want to maintain a pool of customers who are loyal to your brand.

Below are some of the innovations you can incorporate in your call centre.

  • Omnichannel support: make it possible for customers to reach your contact centre using several channels and devices that a customer might use to interact with your call centre. (phones, website, email, text, and social media)
  • Automatic call-back: Allow your customers to opt-out of the call and select a call-back option. When an agent is ready, the customer is called back automatically until the agent and the customer are successfully connected.
  • Visual Support: Engagement tools like video communication to provide real-time customer support by interacting with your customers face-to-face.
  • VoIP: With this technology, your call centre agents can take calls on their smartphone or their computer wherever they are. Take a look at the top 10 VoIP business providers of 2020.

Edtech Innovations

Institutions of learning are embracing the value of using digital learning tools to engage their learners. Despite the ease in lockdown restrictions which has seen the reopening of schools for physical classes, online learning is here to stay and has presented opportunities for innovators to explore new ways of solving challenges in education.

You can leverage EdTech solutions such as student collaboration tools, data-driven insights, extended reality and virtual labs.

Read more on EdTech innovations in a virtual classroom.

PPE on the go

If you are a provider of personal protective equipment, you can utilise vending machines to offer Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits on the go. You can conveniently place these machines in places like airports and malls to help travellers and shoppers easily get their hands on items like face masks and hand sanitizers.

Drive-in Cinemas

For individuals that still want the movie experience without the crowds, rive-in cinemas make that possible. This may seem more like a throwback to the 50s and 60s, but the drive-in cinema makes it possible for individuals to drive to an outdoor venue with a large screen to watch a movie and use their car radios to hear the movie.

During the time when cinemas were closed in Zambia, Eastpark Mall hosted a Drive-in cinema to bring the cinema closer to their customers.

Covid-19 has proved that indeed necessity is a mother of all inventions. We are witnessing the introduction of innovations that could be post-Covid mainstays.

It’s time for your businesses to pivot towards innovative ideas and emerge victorious amid the pandemic.

The question is, If not now, when?

The examples shared above are certainly not exhaustive. We are happy to have conversations on how your business can tap into the opportunities presented by the low touch economy. Consult with us.