At propelland, we believe we can all be agents of change. Now more than ever, we are prepared to use our skills as strategists, designers, and engineers to lead in a world with a new definition for normal. By releasing this report, we aim to help our clients, networks, and communities continue creating the extraordinary in an ambiguous and irrevocably different world shaped by COVID-19.


Research Insights:
Consumer and Business
Trends to watch
and actions to take today
for a better tomorrow
to accelerate impact

"The role of propelland is to help accelerate immediate impact by bringing to life solutions that add value in people's lives. We are hacking ways to recover better and faster."

Hugo Giralt, Founding Partner and CEO, propelland

Research Insights:Consumer and business behaviors

To aid organizations’ understanding of relevant needs and context, we dove deep into the community psyche and deployed a survey, conducted remote focus groups, and reviewed benchmarks across industries around the globe.



Survey Responses in 7 Days


Business Owners


Countries Represented


Focus Group Participants

Individual Behaviors

Bubble mask

6-foot bubbles

Social distancing and wearing masks will become second nature for people going out of the home.
39.3% of participants chose health as the primary pain reliever, 20.5% routine, 18.3% money, and 11.4% public measures

Borderless relationships

The limits previously imposed by geographical barriers are broken with video conferencing tools.
“I’ve celebrated three friends’ birthdays on Zoom which I’d never been able to before because we all live in different cities.”

Preparation is key

People are now doing a lot of preparation work to optimize time spent outside of the home.
“I wish an online tool existed to check or predict what’s available in a particular grocery store without going there.”

Battling screen time

People are spending more time with their screens, making it difficult to balance work and leisure.
“I have doubled the use of video consumption for professional, personal, and development activities.”

Delayed decisions

Decisions such as buying a home, getting married, and holidays are being put off, shifting focus from spending to saving.
“I want to remain financially solvent and help others in this crisis, but I’m not able to help.”

Focus on self

Individuals are re-examining their personal routines around wellness, mental health, cooking & eating, and self-development.
“I have broken through many personal barriers with digital services. I didn’t consider digital learning as an option until now.

Business Behaviors

Doing more with less

Businesses facing cashflow challenges, are cutting costs and reassigning resources to make front to delayed payments and depressed demand.
“During this time, our factory is redesigning and recycling inventory for health sector customers to keep our employees working.”

Re-establishing trust

Companies must proactively address the health concerns of customers, employees, and communities.
“I’ve canceled all of my travel plans. Even though it’s tempting to buy tickets at lower prices, there isn’t visibility on how things will evolve, and whether travel is safe.”

The digital race

B2B companies are piloting D2C digital platforms and small businesses are leveraging platforms with distribution capabilities and with an established consumer base.
“I would have focused on the online customer experience. Competition is fierce and advertising is not enough to differentiate my business.”

Collaborative recovery

Large brands are establishing new channels and models to ensure essential partners stay in business and to ensure their own growth.
“We have a campaign to help small businesses become sustainable, like restaurants through the sales of gift cards and stronger delivery services.”

Cash is king

Those with cash in hand are moving fast to bring on talent and technologies needed to experiment with new solutions.
Business owners cited the following as top challenges to growth: Demand (30%), Cash Flow (20%), and Sales Channels (13.75%).

Trends to watch and actions to take today for a better tomorrow

To aid organizations’ understanding of relevant needs and context, we dove deep into the community psyche and deployed a survey, conducted remote focus groups, and reviewed benchmarks across industries around the globe.

Trend #1

Seamless omnichannel experiences


In a world where convenience means time and health savings, purchasing needs to happen closer to the consumer, no matter where that might be. Brands must now reconsider all touchpoints within the integrated customer experience, optimized across channels for the changing consumer behaviors.


Increase real-time visibility of stores, e.g. stock and customer traffic

When evaluating options online, customers will leverage options such as scheduling appointments, checking in-store inventory availability, and reviewing real-time traffic. This will inform what stores customers visit in-person and optimize their time in store.

Reevaluate retail footprint by downsizing or repurposing space

Considering e-commerce adoption acceleration, reduce inventory in-store and identify new services and experiences that provide more sustainable revenue streams and add value to customers’ in-store.

Provide multiple delivery/pick-up options for convenience

Make it easy for consumers to choose your store with multiple delivery formats like curbside pickups, in-store lockers, robo-deliveries, and expedited shipping.

Introduce digital experiences for customers to discover and try from home

Embed tech-enabled touchpoints such as AR-enabled apps that allow you to try on makeup, or smart mirrors that enable virtual fittings into customers’ purchase routines so that they have more information to make decisions from home.

Include new customer segments that leverage existing capabilities for future growth

Identify key customer segments that you can currently serve, or build to serve in future. For example, parents now working from home or avid travelers stuck at home that still want to experience the world virtually.

More value per square foot
Nordstrom Local stores hold no inventory and are the size of a hair salon. Value-add services change by location based on local customer’ needs. Core services include online order pickup, alterations, returns and exchanges to any e-retailer, and stylist services.
Digital-physical journeys
Retailers like Ikea and Target are using apps like Pinterest Lens so that consumers can find inspiration at any location in the world and immediately purchase online. Pinterest Lens uses image recognition to recognize 2.5 billion+ home and fashion items.
Tailored Experiences
Airbnb repackaged its Experiences platform as Airbnb Online Experiences in the COVID age. The platform is targeted towards globetrotters stuck at home, so that they can continue to explore and learn using Zoom, e.g. bartending classes, concerts, fitness training, and more.

Trend #2

for the collective recovery


Necessity has given rise to new models that will require organizations to think differently about the resources, talent, and networks they work within. It’s not enough to work by yourself – collaboration can take many forms, and organizations need to define these relationships to compete.


Form alliances based on shared values to learn quickly and thrive

Share best practices, tackle common challenges, and collectively present a stronger proposition to the market. In the manufacturing industry, Lear, the car seat manufacturer, published its internal plan for reopening factories.

Offer excess capacity as a service to prevent resources idling

Provide resources to companies in the same or adjacent markets so that your available resources are fully utilized. Think about idle factories as a service for consumer goods that require higher levels of manufacturing, and the same with labor.

Leverage resources and brand to help small business access consumers online

For large companies, create platforms that aggregate consumers’ demand for small businesses with limited resources to capture consumers’s demand online, e.g. CPG creates platform for bodegas to sell to consumers online

Apply an open innovation approach to capture opportunities

Define specific business challenges and address them in partnership with institutions and other companies to complement internal thinking and resources and ultimately accelerate time to market.

Localize supply chains to reduce risk of interruption

Analyze your supply chain for opportunities to reduce risk by moving towards models that are more adaptive, like modular production and construction in partnership with local firms for implementation.

Open Innovation
Companies are cooperating with external partners and encouraging consumers to donate their data for a cause. UCSF has partnered with Oura, a wearables startup, to discover new early detection methods for COVID. How We Feel exchanges data for meals to someone in need.
Labor as a service
Work Hub, the unofficial job board for the gig economy, was created by Uber to aggregate and share gig opportunities for Uber and others like Domino’s, Target, and FedEx with its existing platform of drivers, now idle due to the pandemic.
Stella Artois has launched an advertising campaign that looks more like a prototype for a new business model. Rally for Restaurants’s global gift card program encourages customers to engage with restaurants for the sake of cash flow until they reopen.

Trend #3

Spotlight on burning issues


Consumers are demanding that businesses take action and that they establish a corporate purpose beyond making money. To get beyond the haze of the next few months and years, companies need to address their role as relates to today’s burning issues.


Lead with purpose by prioritizing people over profit

Be authentic, consider your company’s values, and work with local communities to ensure collective recovery. Consider multiple angles like local procurement and extended benefits for working parents and caregivers.

Regularly consider the relevance of your value proposition

Reprioritize your initiatives pipeline over the next few months and years to resist getting caught in the present. Consider the impact of initiatives, and which are simply urgent, pushing forward those that anticipate and exceed customer expectations.

Think about sustainability as potential new revenue streams

Business as usual presumes waste to be a part of the process. Survey the existing product lifecycle to identify where waste can become a new value proposition, whether its secondhand repair services or byproducts like transforming rotten produce into clean energy.

Design differentiated journeys for excluded segments

Prompted by our current circumstances, customer segments like seniors facing prolonged periods of isolation, children learning from home, and unbanked individuals unable to access essential services, have increasingly important unmet needs.

Measure digital exposure and plan to mitigate risks

Create action plans for risk scenarios, e.g. blackouts, human error, and cyber attacks to protect your company’s intelligence and customer data, as well as to ensure uninterrupted operations.

Circular economy
Blueland sells sustainable cleaning products through a direct to consumer subscription model. The company has eliminated the need for plastic containers and packaging through the use of reusable bottles and dissolvable cleaning tablet refills.
Digital inclusion
In the United States alone, a third of seniors 65+ have never used the internet, and half of those don’t have internet access at home. The market is ripe for targeted solutions like Oscar, a remote care platform that offers curated services for seniors in a user-friendly way.
Online payment systems are vulnerable to unsecured connections, exposing consumers to identity theft. Revolut, a UK based Fintech company, offers one-use virtual credit cards that are replaced after each use with a new number through the mobile app.

Trend #4

The future of work is now


Freed from the constraints of the physical workplace, there are many new possibilities for how work is done, distributed, and managed. Regardless, it has become increasingly important for businesses to outline how they will help employees come back to the physical workplace safely so that they can continue to be productive.


Automate using RPAs and IPAs to increase productivity and reduce costs

Take the opportunity to reevaluate current workflows and reduce the need for employees to take on repetitive tasks that cause a bottleneck or are otherwise done inefficiently, costing additional time, effort, and employee dissatisfaction.

Reimagine what the work model might look like for your teams

Consider new collaboration models,, distributed, or a hybrid, that enable increased agility, creativity, and adaptability. Introduce processes and tools that employees need to succeed in these new models.

Redesign workplaces and employee manuals to ensure wellness and productivity

Create visual cues and guidelines to instill new behaviors, like respecting personal 6’ bubbles at all times. Decrease exposure opportunities through increased sanitation practices, touchless controls, and fever detection IR cameras for high-traffic areas.

Train your employees to adopt an agile mindset and prepare for the future

Take the opportunity now to align employees to your new strategy. As the organization will need to become more responsive and flexible, provide agile training for your employees and encourage them to develop routines that reinforce this methodology.

Leverage on-demand staffing platforms to adapt to demand

Scale your capacity as needed using flexible working models. There are a number of platforms that aggregate and offer on-demand talent so that you can deal more flexibly with unpredictable or cyclical demand.

Digital Collaboration
Trello, Miro, Microsoft Teams, Asana, and other collaboration tools are creating new spaces for employees to work together while working from home. With the rise of such platforms, it has become more sustainable for companies to pursue long-term, remote working arrangements.
Physical workspaces
The Six Feet Office, by Cushman & Wakefield uses environmental cues to indicate traffic flow so that people stay 6’ apart. Others like Estimote are piloting safety wearables that keep people apart through physical feedback like vibrations. At the same time, this prompts privacy concerns.
Smarter Automation
Paypal uses automated translation services (RPA) to optimize its customer service center. By using RPA, PayPal’s English-speaking representatives can help customers who do not speak English with simultaneous native translation.

Trend #5

Wont’ touch this


The physical world is subject to new limitations that will require digital adaptations. Everything from the home to public transportation, airplanes, and restaurants, will need to consider how to decrease in-person interactions by substituting digital ones, or how to adapt current physical environments to suit individual needs.


Leverage contactless technologies to avoid bottlenecks

Explore using NFC-enabled contactless payments, mobile self checkout apps, automated drive throughs, use of facial recognition for authentication, and so forth. Companies not tied to legacy PoS systems have the opportunity to leapfrog others.

Advocate for infrastructure policies that enable business continuity

To resume business activities, organizations need to push for changes to public transportation, hospitals, and other public infrastructure so that the public feels confident engaging with others, and so that employees can go to work in-person as needed.

Redesign indoor venues so that customers can regain trust

For venues that rely on in-person interactions like museums, movie theaters, and supermarkets among others, innovation is needed to re-open and gain consumer confidence, e.g. pre-booking services, e-commerce integration with click & collect, automated sanitation practices, and so forth.

Adopt technologies and systems that integrate with customer devices

Replace shared surfaces like interactive displays in museums and entertainment screens on airplanes and create experiences available using personal devices, e.g. Augmented Reality, ultrasound, and 3D mapping with cameras to interact with.

Consider how to make existing experiences more meaningful

As fewer people visit physical spaces in groups, create tailored experiences that engage consumers in individual and personal ways. For example, if they make an appointment or register in advance, you may be able to adapt digital displays to show relevant content.

Automated Stores
Amazon Go stores challenge the model of traditional supermarkets, doing away with lines and cashiers. Amazon’s Just Walk Out tech uses computer vision, sensor fusion, and deep learning to recognize items and add them to a virtual shopping cart to improve the shopping experience.
Digital Identities
Proxy’s keyless, badgeless office entry tech uses vision to recognize your identity and save your credentials and preferences. You can use these settings for a number of applications, from signing into teleconferences and paying for public transit to asking a barista for the usual.
Shared Experiences
For museum goers that want to do things their way, or hear from other fellow visitors, One Minute and Gift Box allow people to view artworks differently and to share the highlights of their visits with others in a meaningfully personal way.

"As the digital transformation of our work and lives accelerates, propelland’s hacking mindset and extensive toolbox can help companies navigate the uncertainties of this period and come out stronger on the other side".

Sid Vanchinathan, Founding Partner and COO, propelland

Methodology to accelerate impact

propelland is a global strategy, design, and engineering firm helping companies transform and grow. We are here to help you navigate ambiguity and reframe challenges into opportunities.

Day 1
Definingthe Challenge
Analysis of the current business and market context.Map cust
Analysis of the current value proposition, and planned pipeline.
Map customer journey and identify pain points.
Current business model canvasCustomer journey mapChallenges + opportunities map
Day 2-3
Redefining Value Prop + Pipeline
Brainstorming sessions to redefine value propositions and pipeline.
Create solution canvases to define ROI potential, and key assumptions.
Prioritize solutions to pick the top 1-2 to prototype.
Pipeline reprioritizationRedefined value propositionsSolution canvases for ROI
Day 4-5
Prototype Strongest Value Propositions
Define MVP features/functionalities and success metrics.
Design mockups/prototypes to test MVP hypotheses and assumptions.
Define plan to generate demand during pilot.
Physical/digital MVP prototypesPilot testing plan
Week 2
Market Pilotto Gather Data
Run limited pilot to gather data to measure success: customer value, ROI potential.
Iterate prototype features to make rapid adjustments in value proposition.
to make rapid adjustments in value proposition.
Pilot results and learningsPilot results and learnings
Week 3-X
Optimize, Scalefor Full Launch
Define scaling plan identifying technology, operational, and human resource needs.
Build and implement in design, engineering and strategy sprints.E
Market scalingMarket scaling

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