The Coronavirus outbreak suddenly and drastically changed consumer spending, most notably in Brick and Mortar, as well as a monumental shift in how consumers spend and rely on e-commerce.
As consumers are trying to process the impact of the pandemic, their priorities and list of essential items have shifted by the week. Initially, top of the list was hand sanitizer, then toilet paper, baking yeast, and now hair clippers and dye sales have increased by 166% and 23% respectively, according to the sales comparison from last year at this exact time. (Nielsen)
As consumer actions and behavior shift and change, and as we learn more about the Coronavirus and its impact, it is important to take a look at companies that are pivoting with the evolving consumer demand and supporting customers where they are, with what they need, in this time.
We’ve heard the stories of small distilleries across the United States shifting their focus, to use their equipment to meet the hand sanitizer shortage. Many other companies are pivoting, either to respond by fulfilling new needs, or take advantage of the business opportunities this massive & unprecedented disruption has created.
In the restaurant arena, with most restaurants closed (other than curb-side pick-up), OpenTable leveraged their tech platform to provide a useful service while attempting to protect their revenue stream. Their service partners with grocery and other essential retail while lifting their familiar interface to reserve a shopping slot, rather than a dinner reservation. Shoppers can also wait in an online queue, to get into a store; they are notified via the app when it is nearing their place in line. This may be an effective solution that helps managers limit the number of people in their store at one time, hopefully creating a safer environment for all, in that particular space.
Fintech companies such as PayPal, Intuit and Square were fast tracked to service the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program, part of the Coronavirus stimulus package. The number of small businesses applying for assistance in the $350 Billion-dollar program (aimed at companies with fewer than 500 employees) has overwhelmed traditional banks and left applicants frustrated and still waiting to file for aid.
To help alleviate the immense frustration and bottle-neck of applicants, those companies with ‘tech-first’ roots have the unique position to create additional tools that simplify the application process using automation, making it quicker to approve loans and disperse funds.
Hospitals across the world have faced a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE), including masks, gloves and shields, amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Hockey equipment manufacturing company, Bauer has shifted its focus from equipment that serves players on the ice, to products such as masks and shields for medical professionals. More than 100,000 units have been shipped in Canada and they are ramping up production in the U.S.
The Bauer team designed shields (designed to complement other PPE equipment) and repurposed their facilities in four days. The initiative fits squarely with their heritage of creating protective gear and teamwork.
A common thread within all these companies, is the DO-GOOD attitude. For some time, we know consumers tend to spend more on companies they feel DO GOOD and have values that are in line with their own. In these times as the value of health, safety and coming together are especially universal – brands that prove to be nimble will be able to connect with customers in an authentic way, and perhaps build a relationship by being there for them, in a time of need.
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