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Looking Forward in 2021: Change Remains the Only Constant

Even in pre-pandemic times, those able to adapt to change - both strategically and mentally - are well suited to succeed. But that is not as easy as it sounds… As challenging as 2020 was, we continue to see the positives in all the change.

Consumer Behavior: Choice Expectations Are Recalibrated

With the spread of the pandemic, we all had to adapt. Most of us fled online, where we first experienced a restriction of choice. What would we buy, how could we buy it, and what could we even get that was in stock?

But then we adapted. As we found our way, we found a system that worked for us. For many, what they ultimately found was simplification. Reduced access means reduced choices, which means less cognitive load.

Think about the cracker aisle in a grocery store. Physically you can walk down the aisle and scan very quickly. The same task online requires pages and pages of search results. Most people don't have the patience for that and will rely on the trusted options at the top of the page - not the obscure product line extensions at the bottom.

Over time, we browsed the digital aisles, driven by algorithms and not constrained by space and time. With this system, we uncovered new items we might have overlooked before.

So what happens when we return to the physical aisles… what if the placement isn't obvious? Will you search for it? Will you stand in the aisle and remember that it's easier to have the "personal shopper" find it for you with a few clicks?

As we look to 2021 and beyond, The ExperienceBuilt Group team will dive into these questions to better understand the Future Normal.

Business Strategy: Importance of Building the Digital Bridge

Digital transformation and omnichannel offerings were accelerated by COVID-19. Some companies expanded existing pathways for customers, while others put in place temporary or quick fixes. Either way, the evidence is clear. Behavior is not bouncing right back. People who were slow or unlikely to adopt online conveniences like BOPIS (buy online, pickup in store) and internet delivery are unlikely to go back to pre-COVID behavior.

B2B businesses are not immune to this trend either. According to a McKinsey report, "only about 20 percent of B2B buyers say they hope to return to in-person sales" and "B2B decision-makers globally say that online and remote selling is as effective as in-person engagement."

As we head into a post-pandemic world, pay close attention to how customers picking up online orders interact with your physical space. Can customers use your online tools to navigate your stores or find products?

Assume all interactions will be hybrid in the next normal. Close your experience gaps with a bridge that spans your digital and physical space.


At The ExperienceBuilt Group, we're excited to continue to adapt as the new year unfolds. Building on the lessons learned in 2020, we see a bright future for the next normal.

Want to continue the conversation? Connect with our experience designers.


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