Digitalization & Virtualization is the solution to Covid-19

Digitalizing Businesses

Source: Semrush on Adapting to the ‘New Normal’, or Evaluating the Pandemic Impact

As Covid-19 cases spiked and restriction in place all over the globe, the issues caused by the pandemic have also risen. But being adaptable human beings, new trends and solution have appeared to present itself. People all over the world are starting the contactless movement. Where people want to purchase items with minimal contact, being able to pay without direct contact and even communicate and learn without close contact. On top of that, people are starting to move away from physical stores and more towards online shopping.

As of November 2020, the Malaysia parliament told there had been an astonishing number of 32,000 closure of SME since MCO was in place. As trends are settling in, SME that has digitalized its business model could benefit from the pandemic as there has been a surged in online shopping as people all over the globe have started to opt for it as a way to compensate on not being able to go to physical shops or want to reduce the chances of having direct contact with strangers. It is not too late to digitalize a business now because people have accepted the new trend of online shopping.

 

Clicks away from Digitalizing

Source: Alex Ivanovs 2020 August update on List of most popular content management systems available today.

Digitalizing a business is not as tricky as it once used to be. With the current technology available digitalizing the business is just a few clicks away. There are many available CMS on the internet with its own pros and cons that can be utilized. Currently, the highest market share CMS is lead by WordPress, Joomla and Shopify. SME can also utilize existing marketplaces like Amazon or Lazada, which only requires an account to start selling on the platform. These methods will only require SME to spend a minimal amount of time and money.

Convenience of e-commerce

Compared to a physical business, e-commerce can help save or lower the cost of the business. This can be done by businesses because they will not be required to rent a physical store. This also provides the business with the flexibility of up-scaling or down-scaling the business. The business is able to make decisions according to the needs as there is no limitation like a rental contract.

By going into the e-commerce route, it will give the business exposure to more potential customer around the world. Furthermore, data can be collected and analyzed easier by e-commerce because everything has been digitalized. The data alone will not help but with analysis tools, it can help understand customer behaviour. For example, Google Analytics, Google Search Console and SEMrush are freemium tools that provide tools that are free to some extend. Some tools require payment which gives more extensive features and information. Personalizing ads and making better business decisions can be done using the information.

 

Transition into the cashless era

Previously, many people are reluctant and anxious to use online payment due to the unknown factor of security issues and data breaches. However, as people are leaning towards online shopping, cash payment will be less viable as there are too many limitations. which is why e-commerce and businesses will encourage users to use cashless payment. On top of that, Contactless payment can also help people to continue with the contactless approach during the pandemic. There are many contactless options such as online banking, e-wallet and etc.

Source: Oppotus

E-wallet in Malaysia has grown a lot since 2018. As of 2020, there are various numbers of e-wallet in the market that has entered the Malaysia Market. With all the option in the market, each e-wallet provides a different type of use in a different situation. Additionally, promotions and benefits that the e-wallet provides will also be taken into consideration.

Source: Oppotus

According to Oppotus, the usage of e-wallet in Q1 2020 compared to Q4 2019 has shown a 65% increase. The increase in e-wallet usage is due to promotions, cashback and the convenience of e-wallet. Based on Oppotus, the categories that most Malaysians used e-wallet on are F&B, CVS and Groceries. The e-wallet market will continue to see growth as the world move towards virtualizing and digitalizing the businesses.

 

Benefits of being Cashless

Furthermore, cashless payment can help reduce risks by not having the ability to block fraud transactions quickly. Cashless payment method can help the business in multiple ways, especially e-commerce. If e-commerce also uses online transaction, then it can help automate the payment gateway, which can help reduce transaction speed as there can be more than one customer paying simultaneously. On top of that, an e-commerce that is using online payment methods can benefit from the ease of international payments. As these online payments have built-in features to exchange money according to the exchange rate listed on the website.

However, there are still existing drawbacks and threats of using cashless payment methods such as data breach, identify theft. These issues are currently being tackled using all kind of existing technology. For example, detecting abnormal activities of an account using data analysis to prevent identity theft and secure data using encryption. However, there are still issues where technology might not be able to solve. For example, online payment is not straight-forward for non-tech-savvy individuals. The only solution is creating a seamless way of using cashless payment or educating these individuals.

 

The new trend of education

Source: Semrush on Adapting to the ‘New Normal’, or Evaluating the Pandemic Impact

According to Semrush, the online education platform has seen an increase in traffic when the pandemic happened. This is because people are trying to learn new skills to during their free time when under quarantine or working at home. However, as things are slowly settling down, so are the traffic for Udemy, Khanacademy and etc. Despite the fact that the demands for these platforms are decreasing, there are still many benefits of having virtual classes.

Virtual classes have become the primary method of learning due to the restriction of not being able to attend physical classes. However, the attention span when studying in comfort is not that good, which is why the institutes or these platforms have implemented different ways of educating the students to them focus, motivated and entertained.

Which is why the trend of edutainment is important in the current situtation. Educating through entertainment is not a new concept that has been implemented. The traditional teaching method in schools has been using games to encourage students to participate and build teamwork. Unfortunately, there are limits to traditional teaching when it comes to educating whilst being entertained.

Knowledge through the Virtual World

On the other hand, there are many platforms such as Kahoot that allows for more engagement for students when learning. These platforms allow all users to engage at the same time which can show the real-time performance of each student instead of asking each student individually.

Virtual classes allow teachers to implement edutainment during classes using various available tools. With each student having their own devices, more types of edutainment can be conducted. For example, VR can boost the students’ interest and give real-world exploration as it can be used to teach history by allowing the person to feel that they are personally witnessing the historical events which can help engrave a better memory and understanding and can help schools to improve this concept.

In the current situation, these people will use edutainment to fill-up their free time at home by being productive whilst still being entertained. Even though people have more free time at home, it does not mean they are always free. Edutainment gives the flexibility of studying anywhere and anytime because of the ability to have portable devices and replay features. With all the edutainment options available on the internet, anyone can choose a method of learning based on their pace and preference.

 

Wrapping it up

The pandemic was a shock to many but it has revealed that the technology to virtualize and digitalize our everyday life has always been with us. The trend of the world has started to move towards the technology world thus businesses should follow closely with these changes. Additionally, these changes are here to stay as there are many benefits that can help increase the quality of life and many more.

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