We want to highlight some positive changes brands are making to better serve customers during these uncertain times, when businesses have to adapt to stay afloat.
As many countries close inessential businesses, the foot traffic to essential businesses increases. UK grocery stores, for example, are experiencing 79 million more store visits compared to the same time last year.
Any place that many people are passing through is a place where the virus might spread. But some grocery stores are coming up with innovative ideas to help their shoppers minimize risk. Scandinavian grocery store chain COOP is promoting its home food delivery service, to limit the number of people their customers have to come into contact with to get groceries.
Other methods of coping include setting aside special hours for particular groups. Many grocers, including Sweden-based Hemköp, are offering special early-morning open hours for elderly and other risk-group individuals to shop in a newly-cleaned store with fewer people around. The German-based multinational grocery chain ALDI has instituted a half-hour window every week in their UK stores, where workers in public health, police, and fire services can shop.
The innovation isn’t limited to grocery stores. Biltema, a Swedish warehouse retailer, is now offering drive-in pickup at their locations so customers can place orders online and pick them up in the parking lot without having to enter the store.
As many would-be travelers choose to cancel their travel plans – or are forced to, if the place they were planning to travel to is on lockdown – airlines are offering fee-free rebooking, even on non-rebookable tickets.
And, as local restaurants are hit hard by reduced visitors or forced closures, many people are showing support by buying gift cards. Instagram co-founder Mike Kreiger has launched a gift card website to help San Francisco Bay Area residents support their favorite local restaurants, without leaving their homes.
As the coronavirus situation continues, we’ll be watching for brands who are making positive changes themselves and inspiring their customers and community to do so too.