It’s not easy and can even be unwise to make statements about what is going to happen with the whole world soon. However, it is possible to highlight some trends that are already visible. We asked our in-house experts, Dmitriy Kostarev and Larisa Zhmak, to share some predictions that will be relevant for the financial technology sector in a post-pandemic time. Below are the main ones.
The use of big data was a trend for many industries before the pandemic began. However, during a time of uncertainty, they take on even more importance. Currently, users are developing new and even abnormal patterns of behavior that directly affect the economy. For example, more and more users (38% now compared to 8% last year) consider the contactless payment as the future of digital payments. The main emphasis here is on minimizing contact as this is one of the ways to stop the spread of the virus.
Online shoppers also behaved differently once the pandemic started. They began to carefully consider their purchases and spend money more deliberately, increasing the preference for inexpensive goods, according to the McKinsey report on consumer sentiments on spending.
Big data remains the only technology to address all of these insights. Moreover, it is expected that the analysis of user data will become more automated since companies do not have time to waste. The current reality is not yet predictable, nor is user behavior. But there is a direct link to the next trend that will dominate the financial technology, retail, and e-commerce sectors.
Being powered by AI, ML, and predictive analytics, big data will help companies develop new strategies and approaches and show them the way to interact with their customers to meet their post-pandemic needs, problems and preferences. However, the main problem is that machine learning systems at the moment can only analyze current data, plus some data since the beginning of the pandemic.
Smart systems that have been implemented do not have the experience and background for analysis, and they do not have past data to compare with current data. All analysis takes place right here and now because machine learning has to work in a completely new, unfamiliar reality. In practice, this means that we do not have enough data to make unambiguous statements.
However, even with the data that we currently have, machine learning and artificial intelligence are powerful enough to predict a new pandemic, as well as ways to mitigate the consequences for different states and industries.
According to scientific forecasts, nearly 20,000 retail stores in America alone will be closed forever after the pandemic. The same goes for the UK’s retail outlets. This means that customers will feel that their options for choosing stores have been significantly reduced, but a multi-channel approach, where users can interact with the brand both in the brick-and-mortar store and online space through the website, mobile applications (including AR-powered ones), chatbots, email marketing, and social media will enable them to get the shopping experience they want. The lead role in a multi-channel approach will be taken by mobile apps and chatbots.
According to news reports, 77% of customers are using mobile apps to solve their current, pandemic-driven tasks such as safe delivery of groceries and other products and services. This trend contributed to an increase in digital payments. Fintech is also seeing more than 70% in the growth of mobile app usage, as well as a significant influx of new users, according to the Devere Group.
The pandemic has also accelerated the automation of call centers and support services by replacing the staff with chatbots. These automated customer service software solutions were already a familiar way of interacting, but in a post-pandemic environment, they have become another way to reduce costs and improve health and safety.
The number of digital payments and online transactions will increase because a huge number of companies have decided to become fully digital, and many users have chosen to interact in the digital space to avoid jeopardizing their health. More digital transactions mean more data generated, and more data generated means more vulnerabilities. In turn, more vulnerabilities mean more potential fraud for the financial sector.
Experts believe the pandemic is the perfect time for fraud to happen, as the attention of users and companies is focused on coping with the current challenges. This trend will also continue as the pandemic’s consequences subside, which means that companies need more reliable means of protecting financial information.
Currently, blockchain is the most promising technology that can guarantee security. Plus, it perfectly integrates with anti-fraud systems powered by AI and ML. The latter is capable of tracking users’ actions in real-time, detecting anomalies, and preventing fraud before it happens.
The financial technology sector is one of the few sectors for which the pandemic represents a time of great opportunity. The post-pandemic reality will also contribute to its development. The only hope is that countries, companies, and ordinary users will be able to cope with the consequences of the pandemic, and will keep fintech afloat by exchanging money, information, and goods in a new manner.
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