During the coronavirus lockdown, digital technology and connectivity are helping businesses in a whole range of sectors to change how they operate, according to a new report from PYMNTS and American Express.
The COVID-19 Business Recovery report highlights how businesses are redesigning their service models to stay afloat and return from the pandemic, and how payment providers can support these transitions.
“Many companies are quickly pivoting their business models and adjusting services to maintain some of their revenues during the outbreak and prepare themselves for comebacks once the crisis ends,” the report explains. “Gyms and fitness clubs are launching virtual classes, for example, while restaurants are focusing on takeout and delivery orders and travel companies are exploring whether more flexible cancellation plans will entice business travellers to book future trips.”
The significant move to digital, which would normally occur over years, has been condensed into just a few weeks. Consumers with established habits are now trying e-commerce to obtain goods and services, and they may continue these new habits after the pandemic subsides, said Allison Keane, director of US partner acquisition at American Express.
Focusing on the fitness sector, the report notes that content streaming for at-home workouts is not a new concept, but closures due to the pandemic have dramatically accelerated the adoption of these offerings.
Gyms and fitness centres that were already offering digital classes and content before the lockdown found that customers still visited clubs in person even while taking advantage of virtual offerings. This indicates that they are likely to return to using multiple channels to access services once the pandemic ends, Ryon Packer, chief product officer at fitness industry software provider ABC Financial, told PYMNTS.
Packer believes that clubs’ social environments will hold continued appeal to consumers, giving physical offerings staying power. Therefore the fitness industry is likely to become more omnichannel, requiring health clubs to compete by offering both in-person and virtual offerings.
Payment providers can support this shift by offering a full range of payment options and a robust online offering with flexible and scalable capabilities.
“While not all new [consumer purchasing] behaviours will become permanent, some will certainly continue beyond recovery and become part of the new normal for which payment facilitators can help prepare their merchants,” Keane said.
Our Next-generation connectivity report explores how advanced technology and new levels of connectivity pave the way for new business models in key business sectors. Download your free copy now!