Business Briefing: Digital-Physical Blurs #12

Harriet Nicholson
Harriet Nicholson
Head of Strategy 3 Jul 20203 minutes read

A round-up of the most important insights and what they mean for your business.


Welcome to this week’s Business Briefing! Each week we wade through the Covid-19 noise to unearth the most valuable insights for your business.

In this snapshot we explore the resilience of online sales, despite physical stores reopening. We tip our hats to imaginative hospitality managerial teams. Following the IMF’s latest fintech analysis, we consider technology’s potential in financial inclusion. Finally, we discuss advertisers’ opportunities as lockdown gamers turn into recurring players.  



Covid-19 has widened the gap between digital-first retailers – and less digitally mature competitors.

Multichannel retailers recorded their highest ever online sales growth in the week when physical stores reopened.

Lloyds Pharmacy will now deliver PPE and medical essentials in just 30 minutes, thanks to a new partnership with Deliveroo.

Why does this matter?

It looks like the general hype around stores reopening prompted a flurry of sales activity across the board – online and instore. What’s going to be interesting is how consumer shopping behaviours shift over the longer term. Has Covid-19 irreversibly accelerated eCommerce shopping behaviours? Only time will tell.


Chester Hotel’s new dining experience clocked up 1,000 bookings in just one hour.

Oracle’s innovation week helps hoteliers hack their technology challenges. 

Covid-19 has catalysed technology adoption in pubs.

Why does this matter?

If there is any silver lining to Covid-19 for the hospitality industry, it’s surely the spirit of innovation seeping through managerial teams. With streamlined headcounts and unprecedented operational challenges, we’ve seen some sterling decisive and creative action, from embracing new technology to reimagining social distancing as Insta-worthy experiences.

Financial Services

Sustainably’s automated charity donation solution and Kalgera’s AI fraud detector highlight the promise and purpose of open banking.

Fintech is removing financial services ‘swim lanes’, creating ‘super’ platform businesses - and one-stop shops for customers.

Covid-19 has created new opportunities for digital financial services to accelerate and improve financial inclusion.

Why does this matter?

To quote the IMF, ‘Digital financial inclusion is evolving from ‘spend’ to ‘lend.” We could quickly see digital financial solutions not only become a means of accessing fast lending products, but also removing frictions in government benefit schemes, helping people access vital financial support faster. With a recession looming, fintech’s role in financial inclusion is arguably more important than ever.


The US FDA has approved a video game that can be prescribed to children with ADHD.  

Mixer’s streamers revolt against Facebook Gaming – and shift to Twitch.

Gaming is a gift that keeps on giving for advertisers – even post-lockdown. 

Why does this matter?

‘Curious’ and casual gaming audiences have swelled under lockdown. Despite easing restrictions, we’re seeing promising signs that the new gamers are turning into post-lockdown enduring, recurring players. We’ll say it once, we’ll say it a thousand times – gaming represents a huge opportunity for advertisers. Watch this space.


Each week, we pick a feel-good story that showcases human resilience and brilliance during a time of great change and innovation. So what have we loved this week?

We’ve seen gaming platforms co-opted for all manner of different social needs, from hosting concerts to graduations. We’ve also seen enterprising online activity from shuttered museums and art galleries. It’s fabulous to see these two worlds come together. The latest art installation from the Manchester International Festival is housed in Fortnite. Why do we love it? It democratises culture, bringing art to a wider and more diverse audience. Here’s to a future of blurred physical and digital cultural attractions.

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