Turn on any news channel and you’ll be hit with a stream of negative messages: store closures, economic catastrophe, mass unemployment, and more. Coronavirus hasn’t been good from an economic perspective. Most businesses have suffered. Even as governments around the world begin to ease lockdown measures and introduce stimulus packages, a vast number of companies will struggle to re-establish themselves. Despite this unfortunate state of affairs, however, not all sectors were badly hit. Some businesses have actually thrived. Coronavirus has forced consumers to change their shopping habits, thus creating new demand in certain areas. These are five examples of industries that have benefited from coronavirus and explore ways that you can replicate their success.
- Ecommerce: Focus on Popular Products
The introduction of lockdown measures and temporary store closures has led to a boom in online retail sales. Consumers start to spend their money online instead of on the high street. Yet it wasn’t all sunshine and roses for online retailers. In fact, the increased demand resulting from coronavirus was something of a double-edged sword. In addition to higher web traffic and sales volume, ecommerce sellers had to contend with reduced employee numbers, disrupted supply chains, and overburdened delivery networks. One way some stores overcame this was by limiting their product lines to the most popular and essential items. This allowed them to leverage increased consumer interest without sacrificing service and speedy delivery.
- Remote Working Software: Offer Services for Free if Possible
With employees forced to stay at home, coronavirus has driven the need for remote working software. A range of tools, from project management apps to scheduling software for appointment booking, were suddenly necessities rather than optional extras. Rather than stick to their old pricing models, many app companies started to offer their products for free. To many, this seemed counterintuitive. Why would software providers cut their prices when demand is at an all-time high? When you look at this strategy more closely, however, there are excellent reasons behind it. For one, slashing prices allows SaaS companies to gain a strong competitive edge while making a positive impression on new potential customers. Furthermore, this strategy recognises the fact that many businesses have to be careful about expenditure. Existing customers will appreciate the gesture and show greater loyalty in future; new users will be much more eager to continue with a paid version of an app once they’ve realised its benefits.
- Video Conferencing: Redefine Your Branding and Value Proposition
The number of people using video conferencing apps has exploded in previous months, and have also seen significant increases in sales. In order to appeal to new needs which have arisen because of coronavirus, many video conferencing companies have altered their branding and value propositions. It’s common to hear app providers emphasize the ease-of-use and scalability of their products to appeal to businesses that are looking for a fast solution. Equally, marketing materials often highlight the fact that apps are suitable for organizations that rely on (but are unable to organize) in-person meetings and gatherings, like schools and universities.
- Delivery Companies: Change Internal Processes Quickly
Delivery services have seen a considerable increase in demand for obvious reasons. Along with logistics companies that specialise in retail items purchased online, takeaway services have also been positively impacted. These companies, likely expecting a glut of orders, responded quickly to implement new safety measures and leverage opportunities and strategic partnerships. Firms often mandated the use of protective equipment for drivers, stipulated social distancing when dropping off parcels, and removed the requirement for recipients to sign for tracked packages. Many companies also teamed up with big brands to offer deliveries.
- Entertainment and Streaming: Show Empathy
Streaming services have seen record amounts of new subscribers. This isn’t surprising when you consider the sheer number of people that are unable to work or leave their homes. Many of these entertainment companies have responded by introducing positive initiatives designed to help people that have been badly affected by coronavirus, garnering a large amount of good publicity and creating positive brand perceptions in the process.
Nobody is suggesting that coronavirus has been a good thing. What’s interesting from a business perspective, however, are the ways in which companies have shown resilience in the face of difficult circumstances and seemingly insurmountable obstacles. All types of companies, both large and small, can learn lessons from big brands. What’s more, as governments around the world start to ease lockdowns, and as economies fire up again, these lessons are more valuable than ever. Nobody knows what will happen in the coming months and years. The need for innovative thinking, adaptability, and unconventional leadership can’t be understated.