“Never let a crisis go to waste.”
It’s an expression we’ve all heard a lot over the course of the last year. Most commonly attributed to Winston Churchill, reportedly referring to the formation of the United Nations out of the ashes of World War II, it’s a reminder in bad times that big problems often beget opportunities to do things differently — and better — next time around.
And while it’s not fair to say the pandemic created the Connected Economy, which has been under construction for the better part of the last decade, it is fair to say that the global crisis created an opportunity to dramatically accelerate its development.
Merchants and business owners worldwide suddenly had a very good reason to raise the level of their digital game about a half-decade ahead of schedule, and the developing Connected Economy has been the beneficiary. The global rush to better optimize the consumer journey across digital and physical channels has put the Connected Economy into overdrive as it has infiltrated every element of consumers’ lives.
That was the consensus of the dozens of C-Suite execs, corporate leaders, innovators, and entrepreneurs PYMNTS talked to for its latest “Creating The Connected Economy” eBook — a ground-level look at the accelerated construction of the connected economy during a global crisis from the perspective of those who were there and lived it in real time.
There is no going backward, they all agreed — consumer preferences have simply evolved too far, and a connected, smooth, multichannel journey isn’t just what consumers want — it’s what they expect.
The pandemic will fade, but consumers’ desire for a series of digital doorways that make it easy to complete their tasks will not, as the appeal of seamlessly moving between channels to get their business done is fully entrenched.
How we shop, how we pay, how we interact and want to transact with each other has changed fundamentally — and for the better — experts agreed, as consumers have a range of choices they’ve never had before, and businesses have an ability to customize and curate users’ experiences and offerings that they never have before.
And the exciting part of the story is yet to come. Because the Connected Economy has advanced dramatically in a year. As technology advances and connections become more myriad — the combinations and offers the connected economy will be able to create will evolve and expand in ways that are hard to predict, but easy to get excited about.