Businesses moving online went slowly. Many businesses tested the waters, some even dug in their heels and refused to even set up a website until the demand was clear. Today, businesses without a website or social media presence are so far behind the times as to be almost obsolete. That being said, how much longer will it take before all businesses are onboard and completely digital?
Currently, many businesses are maintaining an in-between space, balancing an online presence with a brick and mortar one. With the advent of the gig economy and access to skilled labor from anywhere in the world, transitioning fully into an online presence is viable for many businesses.
And the gig economy is only growing. In the last decade, independent contractors have been growing slowly and steadily. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over one-third of the labor force in the states consisted of gig workers by 2017. After a temporary downtick in 2020 as the world economy adjusted, gig workers rose sharply once again. Today, estimates show that over half of the US workforce will consist of independent contractors by 2023. contributing more than a trillion dollars to the US economy.
What does this mean for businesses looking to make the transition to online? It means that they have resources to work with. Rather than maintaining a headquarters, for example, with all the costs that go into the overhead of that space, businesses can compile a deep bench of remote workers. Anyone that a business wants to work with, from a Virtual Assistant on Upwork, to an logo designer via FIverr, or a Link Building Agency can be readily found online.
Transitioning into the digital and remote work space also offers a number of creative opportunities for businesses. Workers who work remotely are often more content, more productive and more creative in their endeavors, providing a much needed edge for a business in a competitive world.
The brick and mortar world still has its appeal, but it’s also still vital for some businesses. For some businesses, having that high touch, face to face moment is essential. Real estate, for example, is one space in which the consumer still wants a consultative experience. Given the length of the sales cycle, too, it benefits real estate agents to stay in face-to-face touch with clients for the duration of the home closing process.
Eventually, however, most industries will make the transition. Think back to the days when no one would possibly have considered purchasing a car online. Now, it is commonplace to purchase a vehicle sight unseen. Soon, other high-touch industries, including real estate, will take the big step to doing business almost entirely online, completing the transition to a digital business world. As that process unfolds, business in every space will begin to find new and greater opportunities online.