The recent Covid-19 pandemic supercharged digital transformation across different industries. While some businesses closed, others searched for cutting edge technology solutions to survive. Many of these solutions have now become standard practice. As such, innovation is sweeping the mobile world and the latest app development trends are paving the way for a new mobile order.
The pandemic has encouraged simplicity in mobile apps. Things like shopping for merchandise, waiting for medical test results, opening a bank account, and even purchasing a house are easier than they were pre-Covid. People can complete time-consuming activities with a smartphone from the comfort of their homes. Work-from-home trends unleashed the call for digital flexibility, and the Communications sector answered. Soon, usage for communications apps, such as Zoom, skyrocketed with revenue surpassing $1 billion in July 2021(Statista). Other industries followed suit, and many mobile apps now have virtual capabilities. Here, we explore some of the industries that are leading innovation across the mobile sector.
Restaurant and Food Service
The surge in QR codes as replacements for restaurant menus is the latest example of how the Restaurant and Food Service industry is becoming increasingly digital. QR codes were initially invented in 1994 to increase barcode functionality, storage, and accuracy. Nowadays, people can use QR codes to shop for merchandise, pay for groceries, and communicate on social media. You may have been familiar with QR codes before the pandemic. But now they are seemingly everywhere. Following pandemic-related shutdowns, many restaurants looked to QR codes to replace their IRL menus with virtual ones.
QR codes can have capabilities beyond simply browsing a menu. When restaurants first began re-opening, many asked their customers to fill out forms with their personal information using QR codes. This allowed restaurants to digitally notify customers of a potential Covid spread. In some restaurants, customers can use QR codes to order food items and to pay at the end of the meal, eliminating the need for extended interaction with waiters. Beyond the scope of the pandemic, this cheap and transparent solution drives value by empowering customers to set the tone of their dining experience via their mobile devices. As such, this innovative digital trend is here to stay.
Prior to the pandemic, it was estimated that $250 billion of US healthcare spend could be shifted to virtual care. As of July 2021, growth in telehealth usage has stabilized at levels 38X higher than before the pandemic (McKinsey & Company). Though this growth was largely driven by necessity, consumer and provider attitudes toward telehealth have steadily improved; signaling that telehealth medicine has a role to play in the latest wave of digital transformation post-pandemic.
AmWell, MDLive, and Lemonaid are a few of the prominent telemedicine apps disrupting the healthcare industry. Such apps allow patients to schedule consultations with doctors from their own homes, and receive prescriptions for medicine. Another app providing a solution tailored to meet the pandemic’s demands is the CLEAR app, where users are able to insert their vaccine information to get cleared for travel and be admitted into live events.
Digital pharmacies are also becoming increasingly popular. Capsule, for example, allows users to refill prescriptions from their smartphones, and set same-day delivery. They can also use the app to purchase drugstore items and request refills from their doctors. Consulting with a doctor virtually or ordering same-day prescription refills from one’s mobile device eliminates the need to wait in line. This shows how telehealth can improve both accessibility and convenience in the long run.
Banking and Finance
More than 40% of banking consumers increased their use of mobile banking apps due to Covid-19 (Kearney). Many branch services were disrupted during the pandemic, causing consumers to rely more on mobile banking apps. Banks have since double downed on their efforts to create a more robust digital banking experience.
Citi is one of the many banks insisting on an increasingly digital banking approach to meet consumer demands. In 2020, Citi saw an 84% increase in mobile deposits and a 10X increase in usage of Apple pay (Forbes). With digital banking apps, consumers can open new accounts, deposit checks, request limit increases, and transfer money to friends and family. What started as a steady rise in digital banking services has now become the gold standard in banking and finance.
Retail is the latest sector to take advantage of pandemic-fueled digital transformation. In 2019, less than one third of U.S. retailers had a digital transformation strategy (Harvard Business Review). In this age of digital growth, retailers are now paying more attention to the consumer journey than ever before.
BOPIS - buy online, pick up in-store - is a click and collect consumer strategy that adds convenience for shoppers. Through BOPIS, customers can view which items are available in store, purchase them on mobile apps, and select a date and time to pick them up in-store. This omnichannel digital strategy allows customers to skip lines, avoid shipping costs, and eliminate long delivery timelines. BOPIS increases retailer transparency by giving customers visibility into which products are actually available in-store. Since foot-traffic is a necessity for retailers, BOPIS helps bridge the gap between eCommerce and in-store shopping. As such, it may be key for retailers attempting to engage their customers in a post-pandemic changing market.
As a reaction to the Covid-19 world crisis, digital transformation swept across different industries, allowing innovative solutions to become mainstream. As such, businesses across all sectors are doubling down on their digital efforts to meet the growing demands of consumers post-pandemic. In this piece, we explored a few sectors in which the virtual capabilities of mobile apps have seen significant growth.
- Restaurant and Food Service: QR codes have surged post-pandemic as restaurants seek to replace their traditional printed menus with virtual ones. What began as a public health service has grown into an innovative digital solution that empowers customers through their mobile devices.
- Healthcare: Growth in telehealth usage has stabilized at levels 38X higher than before the pandemic. This growth, although initially driven by necessity, has caused overall patient and provider attitude toward telemedicine to improve post-pandemic.
- Banking and Finance: Branch services were disrupted during the pandemic, leading to increased reliance on mobile banking apps. Since then, banks have double-downed on creating digital solutions to meet consumer demands for a robust digital banking experience.
- Retail: BOPIS is a digital shopping strategy that is bridging the gap between eCommerce and in-store shopping. With this strategy, retailers are paying more attention to the consumer journey than ever before.