This article is sponsored by UScellular.
Experts tell us COVID-19 is here to stay for some time, but the US economy is well on its way to recovery as the country adjusts to its new normal. That said, despite recent signs for optimism in agriculture, construction, retail, and other essential industries, the recovering post-COVID economy is full of uncertainty and hurdles; many businesses may not have given these questions much consideration before 2020. The good news is that many of the changes businesses are making to adapt to the global pandemic will pay dividends as society reopens—innovating in eCommerce, telecommunications, connectivity, and cybersecurity will help small businesses meet rising global demand.
The most significant shift in this new environment is the trend toward online sales—almost every business is now, in some form, a digital business. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development found that worldwide eCommerce accounted for 17 percent of all retail sales in 2020, up a 3 full points over the previous year. “Businesses and consumers that were able to ‘go digital’ have helped mitigate the economic downturn caused by the pandemic,” said Acting Secretary-General Isabelle Duran. Those gains are unlikely to disappear overnight as consumers become increasingly accustomed to shopping online and online-shopping experiences continue to improve.
As entire communities locked down and people increasingly worked from home, connectivity became more important than ever—and with it, cybersecurity. Both wireless and internet-service providers, like UScellular™ who offers both, became key to establishing safe, secure, and reliable connections for remote work, online learning, and small businesses. Plus, UScellular’s live experts helped small businesses reorient to an increasingly digitized world.
The agriculture industry in particular was deeply affected by COVID, suffering some of the most serious outbreaks among its essential workers. Nevertheless, many small farms found ways to innovate and reach customers online. Or consider the construction industry. More than almost any other line of work, it relies on in-person human labor. For much of the pandemic, construction crawled in many communities as only essential workers were allowed on site. But Forbes magazine wrote that COVID-19 could end up being an “innovation boon” for construction.
The gains from these sorts of innovations won’t necessarily disappear. Even as local producers, for example, return to farmers markets to sell their goods in-person, they can keep their new digital storefronts intact to reach entirely new customers. Or as construction gets back underway, the adoption of more efficient work practices can lead to lower costs and higher profits.
In the long run, it may turn out that the COVID-19 pandemic was the catalyst for a period of innovation leading to flourishing gains within a hybrid economy. But in order to thrive in this new and complicated environment, many businesses will need a partner that specializes in dependable digital services and real-time problem solving. As storefronts increasingly go digital, businesses will require reliable telecommunication tools and assistance solving digital problems in real time. UScellular provides a number of advantages through its teleservices to help businesses thrive, including 5G at no extra cost, Lookout™ Premium Plus, and dedicated associates on hand to help their customers respond to daily needs.
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