Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, there is no shortage of bad news (murder hornets, anyone?); however, if you look closely, there are also a lot of good stories to be found. Musical artists are coming together with new, at-home collaborations, parades are happening in favor of frontline workers and people are making huge efforts to connect with their loved ones (and strangers) while being on lock-down.
When it comes to businesses and the pandemic, many of us only see the doom and gloom, as many businesses suffer and even shut down.
But that is not the beginning and end of the story: many industries are doing better since the pandemic started and the ones that aren’t are learning valuable lessons in the meantime.
Ecommerce is an industry where businesses are either failing or thriving due to the pandemic, with not much in between. The determining factors include the type of business and the actions of the business at the beginning of the pandemic.
“I am a major shareholder in several private companies. The largest has seen business gradually drop in revenues of 40% since January. We were expecting a very sharp dropoff, in the neighborhood of 50-60% in March which never happened. Will the recovery be V-shaped? Or are we headed to prolonged recession or depression? The future is very uncertain,” says Marc Prosser of Choosing Therapy.
Tourist attractions, travel destinations and providers are definitely suffering as the majority of us sit at home. Demand for legal services has decreased as crime has dipped and personal injuries aren’t happening when people don’t leave their couches. Event providers have had no business due to the cancellation of every major event including conferences, weddings, and concerts. Businesses that provide health and beauty services have had to sit on their hands waiting for the go-ahead to reopen and people are finding ways to DIY. Sports and other extracurricular activities and all the related industries are also losing business as each day passes.
There are industries that have gladly taken advantage of the uptick in traffic and way greater conversion rates as the pandemic has pushed their business into “essential” mode. Here are a few of them.
“The almost-overnight creation of a stay-at-home workforce made a whole lot of people suddenly realize they needed faster internet if they wanted to be able to join on office video conferencing”, says Carla Diaz of Broadband Search.
Some of these businesses are finding their biggest challenge during the pandemic is trying to keep up with the demand.
“During those few weeks at the beginning of March and all the way until mid-April we had an over 300% boost in tickets, service requests, Internet upgrades, Internet connectivity and migration to the cloud,” says Trave Harmon of Triton Computer Corporation.
Prior to the pandemic, many were thinking about saving for retirement, a larger house, or a vacation. With many people laid off and not knowing where their next paycheck is coming from, debt consolidation services are booming. As well, with many looking for ways to reduce their current costs, businesses that help you save money are doing better than they have. One example is a company that helps users save on energy costs.
“We saw an increased interest in EnergyBillKill.com as businesses seek to cut costs and save money. Our traffic has gone up to about 5-6,000 users per month. Energy costs are the first, second or third most expensive operational cash expense for businesses that have leases and property,” says Michael Rossman.
Shifting from going to a gym to doing at-home workouts means that as mentioned above, many of the physical locations are having a hard time staying afloat during the pandemic. But, the ones that have switched their services to digital are seeing a huge increase in traffic and conversions.
“We’ve been extremely fortunate to see our business explode with YoY growing over 100%. We attribute it to people being stuck at home, but still wanting to exercise and stay healthy,” says Stuart Kam of ATH Organics.
As well, the businesses that provide products that go along with self-care and at-home wellness are finding they are busier than ever. This doesn’t just include health and beauty, but also simple products like natural cleaning products, air-cleaning devices and even bottled water.
What can a business do that’s in the “doing worse” category since the pandemic started to try and get out of that category?
Keeping yourself top-of-mind to your customer base and building brand awareness and identity is critical during this time. Even with a limited budget, businesses can take this valuable time where they aren’t busy to invest in their marketing strategies.
“We saw a jump in our revenue when we decided to increase content production. The decision to invest more in content production originates from receiving more site traffic. The unbelievable increase in our site traffic is probably because of the sheer number of people quarantined at
home. With a lot of time in their hands, people are more likely to consume content on the internet to kill boredom. Because of that, we focused on using social media channels since activity in these platforms increased because of the quarantine. As such, it is a wasted opportunity if businesses do not exploit this chance to boost sales,” says Jeremy Owens of Seriously Smoked.
Joy Gendusa of Postcard Mania lost 46% of her customer base during the 2008 housing bubble crash. She learned a valuable lesson from that time. “The biggest, most pivotal action I took this time around was keeping all of my marketing and advertising in place. I didn’t cut anything. That was my huge, HUGE mistake before — cutting my marketing profoundly compounded many revenue losses,” she says. Her leads have returned to normal within a few weeks of the start of the pandemic and she attributes her continued spend in her marketing as the reason.
Many businesses are also taking this time to improve their knowledge, skills and products so that when business returns, they have something even better to offer their customers. Being unconventional also helps. Squadlocker provides uniforms for sporting activities and rather than sit around and wait for sports to begin again, they began producing masks with team logos for the inevitable changes that will take place in the sporting industry once play begins again.
While the pandemic has many horror stories, focusing on the positive and the unique could be the best way to come out of the pandemic almost unscathed.