Businesses the world over have faced similar challenges posed by the global pandemic of COVID-19, yet each industry and enterprise has approached it in their own unique and creative way.
The recurring factor of any crisis is its unexpectedness, and the ability to navigate challenging situations is an imperfect but acquired skill that can be developed over time. The agility and nimbleness of these businesses to pivot so rapidly amidst global uncertainty and change is highly commendable, and there are a number of key learnings that should be taken from them as we steadily move not just into the next phases of our COVID-19 world, but any potential crises of the future.
When COVID-19 first hit Australia, health professionals scrambled to access medical supplies and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to ensure our safety, facing limited global supply chains and mounting pressure. Queensland’s Bundaberg Rum took notice of the diminishing stock of hand sanitiser and acted quickly to turn around the production of ethanol, manufacturing bottles to supply schools and frontline workers.
By using their available facilities and production line, Bundaberg Rum was able to contribute to its customers in a meaningful way, so when alcohol sales dipped 61 per cent YoY from their spike in March, Bundaberg Rum remained top of mind for consumers and could continue with its new business. Although unfamiliar territory can be intimidating, businesses should constantly be evaluating how they can best service their consumers’ evolving needs.
With people confined to their home in lockdown, you might think UberEats would choose to operate business-as-usual while eyeing a potential increase in user demand. UberEats however decided to foster further growth and support in its restaurant providers, a key part of its business model, by waiving all delivery fees during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This meant that after the initial food delivery surge, when demand fell short of expectations UberEats still had an increase in demand from restaurants wanting to connect with customers, setting themselves apart from their competitors. While it may be tempting to avoid disrupting a business model that forecasts short-term success, having the foresight to act in anticipation of longer-term implications can help secure your sales and ensure longevity.
One industry that was completely altered by COVID-19 was the tourism industry, including zoos and animal sanctuaries. Generally dependent on ticket sales and admissions, zoos were facing the unavoidable overheads of looking after their animals with no major income source for the foreseeable future. But Taronga Zoo decided to innovate and switch its model. If people can’t come to the zoo, they would bring the zoo to the people. Meeting its patrons’ online needs, they created Taronga TV – an online resource with 24/7 livestreams of the park’s animals so people could watch comfortably from home.
With its highly educational content, Taronga Zoo was able to secure additional sponsors such as Red Energy to maintain its park operations and even reopen while social distancing restrictions were eased. Sometimes a crisis will affect your business or industry more than it will affect others, but even against immeasurable odds with innovation, technology, and redesign, your enterprise can emerge successful and reach new and returning customers in ways previously unthought of.
Supermarkets and supply chains were one of the most reported industries to be affected, as Australians scrambled to get last-minute supplies and were faced with the infamous toilet paper shortage. Quite comfortably, supermarkets reached sales previously unseen outside of the Christmas period, but noticed a key gap in the exclusion of vulnerable Australians.
Woolworths partnered with product manufacturers, courier companies, the Federal Government and even rival Coles in an organised body offering an $80 ‘Basics Box’ to support those who were unable to leave home to get supplies when they needed them most. Communities are often overlooked, but in times of crisis look to your partners, suppliers, customers, and even competitors for support and collaboration – as this is the best way to face a global crisis together.
While in some states social distancing restrictions and isolation periods begin to relax, changes are still occurring. Businesses should remain vigilant and confident in their ability to adapt and navigate crises in a globalised context, and set out to innovate in creative new ways to continue to engage their consumers online and in-person.
It may feel like three steps forward, two steps back but the important thing is we’re in this together. Australia is easing it's way out of COVID-19 step by step, and your business can too. Whether these are your first steps into the digital world or you've already made leaps and bounds; our experts are here to help you navigate the best way forward. We have all the tools you need for a successful online business, including; Website Design, Productivity Apps, SEO, PPC and Social Media Advertising. To speak with our specialists, call 1300 793 248 or submit your details online.