World of work transforming itself to adapt to a changed world

Niamh O’Brien, Director, BDO Talent Management featured in The Irish Times Special Report on The Future of Work. Read Niamh's extract below.

Covid-19 has prompted major changes in both business and consumer behaviours. While online shopping and work from home seem here to stay, one look at queues for stores such as Penneys on reopening suggests that shoppers like an in-store experience. However, people are now far more comfortable using technology for both work and shopping and are certainly more aware of the best places to shop online.

“We are not going back,” Niamh O’Brien, director at BDO Talent Management, points out.

“The pandemic has condensed five years of ecommerce growth into a single year. The result is that brands and categories that had traditionally resisted ecommerce have now embraced it. Brands that were already selling via ecommerce have accelerated their ecommerce programmes,” she says.

One of the biggest beneficiaries has been ecommerce platform Shopify, with its chief operating officer, Harvey Finkelstein, suggesting the world that would have existed in the year 2030 has been pulled into 2020.

Smartphone penetration has been a key driver for this, O’Brien says: “Research indicates that smartphones are underpinning the consumer behavioural shift, creating an ability to browse and shop via mobile 24/7. The availability and ease of use of cloud-based ecommerce platforms such as Shopify or BigCommerce also means that setting up an ecommerce store has become ‘democratised’ – much easier to do and at a very low cost. This has resulted in an explosion of ecommerce stores – which in turn has built an expectation that retailers will have an ecommerce option.”

Content adapted from The Irish Times special report, World of work transforming itself to adapt to a changed world

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