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How More Than Just Shopping Has Gone Digital

David Soffer
macbook pro on brown wooden table

In recent times and even before the coronavirus pandemic, more and more of our lives and the things we do have been moving online at pace. The recent global coronavirus has in effect, simply increased the pace at which this is all the case. The effects that this shift online has had varies from industry to industry – having given rise to some of them altogether – such as in the case of video conferencing and comparison engines. For other industries and companies, the results have been a mixed bag, particularly in the case of the retail sector.

With some industries, companies and job roles – such as high street money lenders and financial brokers, book-keeping and recruitment -having already been moving online in a big way, others are now starting to follow suit. In the case of recruitment, applicants across all sectors – including the likes of hospitality and UK commodity recruitment – have been searching for job roles online for quite some time. However, as in other industries, the application and interview processes are now, along with any paper sifts, facilitated online and remotely.

With regards to other industries, whilst some simply cannot do without their physical presence and offline working, many others – including those who perhaps never dreamt of going essentially totally online – are finding that going digital may be the best thing for their business in the long term.

Financial Services

Some financial services have been almost entirely online for quite some time. This is the case for the likes of payday lenders, insurance brokers, pension providers, equity release and home improvement loans, to name but a few, all of which have been providing brokering and comparison services online for years.

It has, in fact been and remains so, a very viable business model for companies to set up lead-generation operations, specifically designed to capture leads online and feed them into comparison and decision engines for speedier decisions and funding.

In the case of mortgages, although the market has slowed slightly, with the recent Stamp Duty changes announced by the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, it is expected to pick up. Hence, the likes of mortgage comparison websites and lead generators are likely to increase in activity and popularity.

Even some of the best-known banks in the UK are moving online, closing branches across high streets around the country, saving them tens or even hundreds of thousands of pounds, having moved increasingly online.

Book-Keeping and Accounting

There are numerous providers of very advanced pieces of software, all designed to make the book-keeping and accounting duties businesses appear a lot more accessible and convenient. Many of these companies are able to assist business owners and their finance teams with accounts, expenses, payroll and a lot more. This has removed the sheer necessity of high street accountancy and book-keeping offices.

Although accountants do still need office space, they can look for much more reasonably priced offices that do not need to be on the high street and do not need to be altogether customer facing. Moreover – and something all accountants will be aware of – by moving to cheaper offices that give much better value for money, their costs are lower and they can spend more time working on the more detailed and important parts of clients’ accounts.

For business owners, being able to input everything to do with the day to day and month to month running of their business, into a simple piece of software, means that the need for endless documents, paperwork and spreadsheets is massively diminished. This is not only better for the environment, but it makes for much better and far tidier yearly accounts and financial data for both accountants, as well as HMRC, when it comes to tax returns, VAT and payrolls.

Online Content and News

The traditional press and newspapers are experiencing large decline in their distribution, as more people than ever are consuming equivalent content and their daily fix of news online (source: TechRound). Therefore, many newspaper outlets, some of which have had circulation numbers in the UK in the millions, are seeing reduced numbers. Not only this, but the entire model of these press and media outlets has had to change.

Rather than selling print advertising to fund their business, many press and media companies are shifting online, with online advertising being a whole different offering. Whereas print advertising is straightforward in how it operates, online, there are additional factors to take into account including programmatic advertising, algorithms and more besides.


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