The last few months have been a rollercoaster ride, to say the least. At the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak, frightening headlines were the norm, and business owners across the world faced challenges never before seen. Fortunately, it appears we’re on the way up, and there are now positive stories lighting up our smartphones and tablets. Businesses across the country have responded to this crisis in amazing ways, innovating new products and services while providing service to their respective communities.
Here are five awesome examples of business responses to COVID-19:
At the onset of the pandemic, personal protective equipment (PPE) was virtually impossible to find. Fortunately, important supplies are now more readily available, including face masks. While shelter-in-place mandates are slowly easing and lifting, many state, city, and local governments are still pushing for the general public to wear masks before heading out to local businesses. This brings us to the first business innovator on our list: CanvasPeople. This company specializes in personalized products; think custom gifts such as photo mugs, pillows, pet accessories, and more. However, the company has shifted their business model to help meet demand for face coverings; plus, you can customize them so it’s something you want to wear day in and day out.
Image courtesy of CanvasPeople
Restaurant owners have found it difficult to retain staff and keep operations on track as usual, but many entrepreneurs have found ways to make do in these trying times. One such example: Canlis. This Seattle restaurant show true innovation and resilience in the face of our new normal, and it’s no surprise. Open for nearly seven decades, Canlis has only closed on two occasions pre-COVID: once after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and once after a horrible traffic accident close to the restaurant back in 2015. So, in the face of the global pandemic, how did restaurant owners Mark and Brian Canlis respond? They turned their single-location restaurant into a new business model, transforming into three pop-up eateries: a drive-thru burger spot, a bagel store, and a “family meal” service. How’d they do? Pretty well it seems; at the onset, and during the peak of the COVID-19 outbreak, they were serving 1,000 burgers, 500 bagels, and 200 family dinners per day.
3. The Fashion Industry Goes Virtual
COVID-19 interrupted Paris Fashion week, but fashion giants didn’t let that stop them. Lanvin collaborated with several video platforms, including Douyin, Yizhibo, iQiyi, then teamed up with luxury e-tailer Secoo. This “cloud” fashion show allowed fashion bloggers and music industry stars to livestream the show’s action, drumming up an impressive 5 million views.
As restaurants faced indefinite store closures and rising rates of food waste, vegetarian fast food joint Clover repurposed their offerings to cut costs while enticing both repeat customers and new patrons. Instead of using ingredients to make their normal hot sandwiches, they repurposed them to create grocery boxes, filled with fresh fruits, vegetables, and other delicious supplies.
5. Lin Qingxuan
This Chinese cosmetics company was forced to close nearly half of its stores, including all in Wuhan, resulting in sales loss of 90%. However, the company completely shifted its strategy, redeploying beauty advisors as online influencers. The company also made use of virtual communication tools to help drive online sales and engage customers in a digital platform.
They even hosted special virtual events. On Valentine’s Day, the cosmetics company hosted a livestream shopping event with over 100 beauty advisers and saw their sales climb 120% over last year’s.
The pandemic has transformed life as we knew it, but in times of massive change, innovation prospers. The above are inspiring examples of the way businesses can shift their strategy and garner new types of business, even during the bleakest of times. As we move forward toward the unknown, it’s no doubt we will continue to see amazing companies like the above rise to the challenge and come up with new ways to navigate our new normal.