10 examples of how COVID-19 forced business transformation
From small startups to large corporations, no one has been spared the wrath of the coronavirus pandemic. The worldwide crisis has nearly shut down entire industries and forced companies of all sizes to adapt and evolve. The one silver lining could be that organizations are forced to expedite their use of technology to make employees and customers’ lives easier and better. One exercise you can do is to imagine if there was *no* retail location for your business; would it survive? Many companies have now had to ask themselves that question, and the answer is no.
While technology can greatly aid businesses of all kinds that are not prepared for an increasingly digital future, not all transformations right now depend entirely on technology. Many companies have responded with innovative pivots that push them into new markets. Instead of shutting down or taking a break, these large companies are making big transformations to stay alive and stay relevant.
Here are 10 big corporate transformations in the wake of COVID-19.
1.Commercial Airlines Offer Cargo Flights
With an unprecedented drop in commercial passengers, airlines have canceled up to 90% of their scheduled flights. But instead of flying people, large airlines like Virgin Atlantic, Lufthansa, United and American Airlines, among others, are instead switching to cargo-only flights. The airlines use the empty passenger cabins to transport much-needed items, including grocery items and healthcare provisions.
2.Grocery Stores Become Dark Fulfillment Centers
In an effort to better serve customers and protect employees, a number of grocery stores are banning customers from entering and instead transforming the stores into dark stores, or order fulfillment centers. Whole Foods converted stores in Los Angeles and New York, and Kroger and Giant Eagle have done the same with multiple locations. Dark stores allow grocers to fill pickup and delivery orders much more quickly than using fulfillment centers further from customers.
3.Hotels Offer Day Rates For WFH Employees
Hotels are nearly empty, and many employees working from home have run out of space (and patience). Creating a solution for two problems, Red Roof hotels started offering day rates for remote workers. For as low as $29 a day at some locations, remote workers can have private access to a hotel room turned office suite, complete with fast internet and a quiet atmosphere.
4.Restaurants Enter Grocery Market
Even simple trips to the grocery store are now more difficult than before. Restaurants have access to fresh produce and need a revenue stream. Many restaurant chains, including Panera, California Pizza Kitchen and Subway, have begun selling fresh groceries. Customers can order items like fresh vegetables, meat, eggs and even beer to pick up alongside their restaurant orders. The services guarantee customers can get the grocery items they need and provide a much-needed lifeline to restaurants.
5.Mattel Toys Honor Essential Workers
In the days of COVID-19, there’s a new type of superhero: essential workers. Mattel recently unveiled a new line of Fisher-Price action figures that feature delivery drivers, grocery store workers and healthcare professionals. The pivot shows that Mattel understands who people are really supporting and honoring these days.
6.Patagonia Provisions Expands To Include More Shelf-Stable Items
Outdoor clothing retailer Patagonia’s line of self-stable food items is designed to fuel customers on their outdoor adventures. But the company recently expanded Patagonia Provisions to include an entire marketplace of food from other companies—all with long shelf lives. From coconut oil to coffee, the new marketplace hopes to provide long-lasting food and maintain the global food supply chain.
7.GM Self-Driving Cars Make Food Deliveries
Cruise, the autonomous car division of General Motors, recently brought its self-driving cars out of dormancy to make food deliveries around San Francisco for two local food banks. Under current regulations, self-driving cars are deemed non-essential and aren’t allowed to be on the roads. Helping the organizations frees up food bank workers to better serve clients and allows Cruise cars to be on the roads.
8.Retailers Pivot To Curbside Pickup
With customers barred from entering a large number of stores, brands have pivoted to offer curbside pickup for online and phone orders. Many retailers, including DSW, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Michaels and Best Buy, have quickly pivoted to create pickup stations outside of stores that allow employees to deliver items without ever coming in contact with customers. Curbside pickup provides work for employees and ensures customers can get the items they need.
9.Stores Expand Digital Ordering
A number of stores and restaurants have partnered with tech companies to increase their mobile ordering capabilities. Papa John’s now offers Facebook Instant Ordering, which allows customers to place orders conveniently. Walgreens partnered with Postmates to deliver a wide variety of grocery items and personal care products. These partnerships allow brands to serve customers more quickly and efficiently.
10.Fitness Companies Move Workouts Online
Gyms and fitness companies have to get creative with their physical locations closed. Orange Theory, Planet Fitness and 24 Hour Fitness, are live-streaming exercise classes and releasing at-home workout plans. Fitness apparel company Under Armour is hosting a 30-day Healthy at Home fitness challenge to encourage customers to stay active. With everyone exercising at home, technology keeps the gyms connected to customers.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how businesses everywhere operate. Undergoing a massive transformation and pivoting to a new direction could be the only way many companies stay alive.