If good can come from a pandemic, it’s the way that people can evolve, behave differently, adopt new habits and adjust in order to move forward.

How many times have you heard the term “the new normal” in the last 12 months? The term normal almost has a feel of going back—back to the good old days—but could it also be seen as going backward? One thing that the last year plus has taught us is there’s only forward. Advance, grow, and overcome.

I know we are all ready for a few things to no longer be considered normal. Like kids having to wave at each other after a sporting event rather than slapping hands and saying good game, discussing ketchup package shortages, having to ask “You’re vaccinated, right?” when seeing a friend, and maybe most of all having to see the lines of masks drying on the clothes rack after doing laundry.

But hold on, not all of the new norms are bad. 

If good can come from a pandemic, it’s the way that people can evolve, behave differently, adopt new habits and adjust in order to move forward. Nowhere is this more evident than in the area of technology. Like you, I have read numerous articles regarding ‘disrupting technology’ and I challenge the accuracy of that description. 

Yes, disruptive in that people did have to change and adopt behavior that before would have been considered abnormal. But rather than disruption, could we also look at the changes in how we shop, dine, travel and engage as advancement?

The world we live in has accelerated the adoption of various technologies to achieve in an environment where space and touchless technology have become a priority. What has accelerated are opportunities that increase convenience, and if we are nothing else, we are people who want things as convenient as possible.

Online and tableside ordering. Grocery delivery. Touchless transactions. Contactless pickup. Digital drive-thru menuboards. Convenience.

The technology that we have come to rely upon isn’t necessarily new. Its importance has grown immensely. Many restaurants and retail businesses were buoyed by technology during the pandemic.  Technologies in various industries were seen as nice-to-haves, but are now must-haves. This will not change. The way people engage with brands and how they shop will be forever changed. 

Why? It’s easier. It’s more convenient. 

Consumer choice takes into consideration many criteria. In the equation for product selection today is how convenient the company’s mobile app is to shop and buy, or the ease and enjoyment of the digital shopping, payment and delivery experience. 

It’s also good for business.

The technology that many industries have adopted will become catalysts for brand and sales growth as we come into a new environment. People are returning to in-person dining and shopping, and digital technology will be a complement to the traditional ways of generating revenue and growth. 

Statistics show that average ticket prices are higher for digital restaurant orders compared to in-person dining. Sales increase with appealing images that can be displayed on digital menu boards. The importance of commercial-grade WiFi has increased significantly with so many technology systems requiring access through the web. Technology provides the convenience customers demand and the efficiencies businesses need to protect margins in a volatile environment.

Even in smaller communities, these advancements in technology are evident. Regardless of size, the investment in technology is a must. The next time you visit a local establishment, look around. Whether it’s digital displays and digital menu boards, the new age point-of-sale systems or the commercial-grade WiFi that is the foundation for so much of that environment to operate, the impact of technology is undeniable. This reliance will not go backward.

Advance, grow, and overcome.

Andrew Faulkner serves as the owner and chief executive officer of Staley Technologies in Little Rock, AR. Prior to purchasing Staley Technologies, Andrew owned and operated Advanced POS Solutions (APS) in Little Rock, AR. Andrew earned his B.A. at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and J.D. from the William H. Bowen School of Law in Little Rock. Andrew’s partnership with NCR (National Cash Register) propelled APS to be one of the fastest-growing VARs (Value Added Resellers) within NCR’s channel. In June of 2017, he was honored to be placed on NCR’s Reseller Advisory Board, a distinction only offered to 7 VARs in North America. Under his direction, Staley Technologies and APS have merged and Staley Technologies is well-positioned to offer full-service technology solutions to help enterprises respond to the ever-changing digital landscape.

Expert Takes, Feature