The coronavirus dealt a powerful blow to business as usual, yet some companies have shown resilience and agility. When the market changes, they adapt.
Over the past couple of months, stories of incredible shifts in business models have emerged, from a custom tailoring business that mailed out tape measures to an improved comedy troupe that moved its business online. What’s more, business leaders often kicked off these initiatives while simultaneously making plans to give back to their communities via cash donations, altered manufacturing practices and more.
There’s no doubt that many of these strategic switches will end up benefiting businesses long after COVID-19’s effects fade. Here are some of the most interesting from NetSuite users across industries.
Apparel, footwear and accessories
Alton Lane closed its 12 menswear showrooms due to COVID-19. In early April, the brand launched virtual appointments, turning its one-on-one in-store consultations into video calls to fit customers for a new suit, blazer, dress shirt or pants. Alton Lane has mailed customers tape measures to make ordering online easier and fabric swatches so they can get a true feel for new colors and patterns. The custom clothing brand has seen promising traction with these virtual appointments and about 25% of those who have signed up are new customers.
Meanwhile, Alton Lane leveraged its factories in Western Europe and Southeast Asia to make masks from leftover dress shirt fabric. To date, the brand has donated 17,000 masks to the Virginia healthcare system.
Food and Beverage
Founded by Kara Goldin in 2005, Hint makes a naturally-flavored water with real fruit essences. As consumer packaged goods became sparse, Goldin ensured Hint waters remained fully in stock — both in stores and on the company website — to meet demand, restocking shelves at local grocery stores herself and reallocating field marketing employees to do the same nationwide. Hint even distributed waters directly to retailers through its distribution centers, hiring trucking companies that were out of work to help. It also donated water to first responders and partnered with venture capital firm Shatter Fund to make gift bags for female healthcare workers.
Advertising, Media and Publishing
The Second City
The Second City is one of the world’s most renowned improvisational theaters. Based in Chicago, the theater offers classes to anyone interested in learning from the art of improv. Amid COVID-19 closures, the company took its courses online for the first time, bringing comedy right to the couch and adding some much needed laughter during a difficult time.
Learning Without Tears
With kids learning at home, this educational publishing company is giving free access to its array of online learning solutions and offering free shipping on all workbooks, activity books and paper products.
Creativity Explored is a San Francisco-based nonprofit that provides space, supplies, professional instruction and exhibition opportunities to artists with developmental disabilities. After temporarily closing its doors amid COVID-19, the organization continued empowering its artists by offering virtual classes for the first time. For those without access to the online classes, Creativity Explored delivered art supplies and various “assignments” to help them maintain their passion at home.
Year Up helps young adults gain the skills, experience and resources needed to go from minimum wage to meaningful careers. The company shifted its learning programs from classrooms to virtual delivery in the wake of COVID-19 and launched a COVID-19 Impact Fund to give students additional financial support.
Food Bank for New York City
To keep meals flowing to high-need communities, the Food Bank for New York City established Community Response Partners in each of the city’s boroughs. These partners serve as “hubs” for communities in which local soup kitchens and food pantries have closed. The Food Bank also deployed new methods of distribution, including drive-thru pantry bag pick-ups and home deliveries and organized pop-up food distributions citywide. It also partnered with the NYC Health + Hospitals network to provide food to more than 30,000 health care workers.
Verishop is an ecommerce site that helps customers discover new brands for clothing, home goods, beauty and children’s goods, to name a few. Amid shelter-in-place mandates, Verishop opened a “Work From Home Shop” dedicated to helping folks stay calm during challenging times. The company also donated $100,000 to the Los Angeles Food Bank and shifted its communication strategies to focus on the overall conversation around the coronavirus.
Two Birds Brewing
The female-owned brewery has a thirst for innovative and delicious craft beers, and it’s not letting closed doors get in the way of serving its beloved beer to customers. When Australia’s nonessential businesses were forced to close, Two Birds Brewing owners Danielle Allen and Jayne Lewis quenched their customers’ thirst by setting up a Drive-Thru Bottle Shop, offering free delivery and beefing up their e-commerce strategy.
One Beat CPR Learning Center
One Beat CPR is a premier CPR Training Center led by firefighters, paramedics and police officers. The center offers courses for certifications in CPR, First Aid, Basic Life Support and more. In the wake of COVID-19, it is now offering virtual lifesaving courses and has created a face shield to protect healthcare workers on the front lines.
Philz Coffee remains committed to offering customers high-quality brews, with many of its locations open to take orders. Though the business is still operating, it is taking safety precautions by placing cups at the entrance doors for pickup and offering employees masks and gloves for protection. Coffee-lovers don’t have to leave their homes to enjoy a good cup of joe, however. Philz is covering the shipping if customers order two or more bags of its blends and has set up a mobile app to simplify ordering.
Harper + Scott
Harper + Scott is a New York- based design and sourcing studio that usually produces items like makeup packaging, tote bags and purse-sized carrying pouches for companies to distribute as marketing materials. Now, however, Harper + Scott is producing safety items including hand sanitizer, soap, masks and wipes and providing them directly to consumers via an inquiry form on its website.