Businesses That Are Innovating in Difficult Times
At the start of 2020, the world was excited to welcome a new decade. It seemed like technology advancements were set to make the 2020s a time of new opportunities and improved quality of life.
Nobody could have predicted the changes that were to come in early 2020 with the COVID-19 pandemic. And now, in May, the world is still reeling and adjusting to the changes.
Many businesses have shut down or begun to change to accommodate social distancing into their operations. New patterns of consumer and worker behavior have also emerged during the first weeks of the crisis.
Some businesses, such as online retailer Amazon are thriving, and have recently announced that they will increase the number of new jobs to manage the increase in demand.
Other businesses have had to reinvent their approach entirely. Here are some ways that companies are helping their communities and also staying alive in these challenging times.
Remote Real Estate Tours
With the onset of the pandemic, most real estate offices faced a considerable problem. Open houses and home tours have always been an essential part of the purchasing process.
However, thanks to the ability to live stream, and offer video conference calls, many real estate agents have been closing home sales with virtual tours as the first touchpoint.
Even larger companies such as Zillow are focused on incorporating this feature into their software. According to Zillow themselves, the company is focused on “accelerating technology to deliver seamless virtual real estate shopping and transaction experiences.”
Farm Food Deliveries
Bringpro is a professional delivery and moving service based in Irvine, California. Their core business is focused around ‘white-glove’ service for small moving jobs, the delivery of new retail items in a safe and timely way.
With the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, they found a way to contribute to the local community and to help families to source fresh produce from farms around Orange County.
Forming a partnership with California Specialty Farms, Bringpro organized to deliver farm produce in a safe way door to door. The delivery system is trackable online, and the service is available weekly or monthly.
Virtual Style Sessions
With the onset of the lockdown period, many events such as weddings, graduations, and birthday celebrations have had to be postponed or canceled. For a company like Friar Tux, who specializes in formal wear for events, this meant a huge crisis.
However, the company was quick to pivot its offerings and to find ways to let people still preview and purchase formal attire from the safety of home.
Friar Tux began offering ‘Virtual Style Sessions’ where a customer can choose a day and time, fill out a form, and coordinate a one-on-one appointment. Each person is offered a personal session with a stylist who can help choose different suit styles and colors and show the suits on a mannequin for a better look.
While a lot of events have been canceled, some people are still opting for virtual events where they choose to dress up in their own homes. With the virtual style sessions, Friar Tux also offers customers a chance to book now for future events before everything gets back to normal.
Virtual Counseling and Support
One of the unforeseen issues that lockdown has caused is that many people are forcibly stuck at home with family members. And while we all love our families, it’s no secret that too much time together can cause some issues.
In some homes, civility is becoming strained between spouses, roommates, and family members, as well as between co-workers who are communicating remotely.
Luckily, there are many online services now available to help with marriage counseling, conflict resolution, overcoming anxiety, and more.
Even though the trend towards online counseling and therapy has been on the rise for several years, since the start of 2020, there has been increased demand. Some online therapy providers have seen an increased demand as high as 30% or since the beginning of the pandemic.
Navigating the Uncertainty
As the world emerges from the crisis, it seems like employees will find new ways to interact with each other. Entrepreneurs will find new ways to do business and seek new opportunities. Most of all, consumers will be able to take advantage of new virtual ways to buy and receive deliveries. One thing is sure, that challenging times create some of the best innovations, and facing the changes together helps to keep everyone safer in the future.