Life as we know it is changing. The COVID-19 pandemic has been a major catalyst for changes to the dynamic between consumers and businesses. PYMNTS.com recently released their data-driven findings of said impact, Navigating The COVID-19 Pandemic: The Post-Pandemic Reset. Some of their findings include the fact that:
Half of all consumers do not believe their lives will return to normal after the pandemic.
Millions of consumers plan to continue working and shopping online even after the pandemic ends.
Consumers are over six times more concerned about their health than they are about losing their jobs.
Regardless of industry or location, businesses all around the world are adapting to a climate of major change. For instance, the New York City Department of Transportation has recently announced a new effort to transition from cash payments to contactless payments via smartphone at the city’s parking meters. Two major apps exist to Pay by Phone at 80,000 metered spots across New York City. Meters throughout the city will still obviously accept coins and credit cards, but according to DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg:
“DOT is asking all New Yorkers who can to switch to Pay-By-Cell, which will reduce the need for physical cash transactions at our 14,000 parking meters. Contactless Pay-By-Cell reduces exposure risk for the public and our workforce.”
Trottenberg continued, saying: “Please help us reduce the need to physically service parking meters and collect, sanitize and securely store cash during this crisis.”
The “ParkNYC” free app was launched in 2016 and allows account holders to pay for parking at any metered parking space on a new pay-as-you-go basis. Simply load an initial $25 wallet balance, and there are no additional fees. The app was used for more than 22 million parking transactions last year. Likewise, the “ParkMobile” app is aimed at increasing contactless transactions, with the Department of Transportation temporarily offering the option to use the nationwide ParkMobile app for single transactions (for only $0.15 per transaction fee).
Moving equipment and storage rental company U-Haul has also fallen in line with the global contactless payments initiative, launching their new app called “U-Haul Scan & Go.” U-Haul Retail sales program manager Sam Cocchi told the press:
“We continue to transform our business to keep up with the latest customer trends and demands. With U-Haul Truck Share 24/7 already offering customers access to U-Haul trucks at every hour through their smartphones, the opportunity for U-Haul Scan & Go to advance retail sales was an obvious next step.” The app allows U-Haul customers to avoid the checkout line by scanning and paying from their phone.
As the business world adapts to life during a pandemic, the consumer experience evolves. Half of consumers feel that life will be different post COVID-19, and with the digital realm already rising to meet the challenges posed by social distancing it isn’t hard to imagine a near future that features a cashless society.