Below are some innovative ways different marketplaces are adapting and servicing their customers.
Restaurant: Many are closing dining rooms but staying open for curbside pickup and delivery. They’re promoting tamper-proof packaging and contactless delivery methods. Chipotle is holding daily lunch gatherings on Google Hangouts with a different celebrity host each day. Popeyes has started a social media contest where 1,000 winners will be given the chain’s Netflix password so they can binge-watch their favorite show while at home. The Great American Takeout, an event supported by a coalition of restaurant brands, has encouraged a takeout meal on March 24.
Grocery: Between panic buying and online ordering, grocery and mass food providers have been overwhelmed. Many are shortening store hours to allow for additional restocking and deeper cleaning. Walmart and Market Street have implemented “senior hours” each week to allow those who are 60+ years old to shop when shelves are stocked and stores aren’t as crowded. Target is sanitizing checkout stations every 30 minutes.
Entertainment: With theaters and performance centers shut down, musicians and comedians are posting mini concerts on their social media pages. The New York Metropolitan Opera is offering free digital shows every night at 7:30. Actor Sir Patrick Stewart is reading Shakespeare on his social feeds. Movie studios are making first-run movies available for streaming at the same time they would be in the theater.
Televised Sports: While ESPN is filling its channels with famous reruns and The Ocho content, Formula 1 (F1) is getting its drivers into eSports with the F1 Esports Virtual Grand Prix series, using the PC version of F1 2019 and having real drivers racing the cars. Last weekend, professional futbol clubs Real Betis and Sevilla played their canceled match digitally on FIFA 20 with 60,000 fans watching on Twitch. NASCAR is doing the same with its inaugural eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series which will feature top-tier drivers such as Dale Earnhardt Jr., Bobby Labonte and Kyle Busch.
Medical: There are so many examples in this field, but a few stand out. Blue Cross California is waiving co-pay fees for those using telehealth services. To triage physical visits, doctors’ offices are setting up online Coronavirus screening. Walmart, Walgreens, Rite Aid and CVS are piloting parking lot drive-through Coronavirus testing stations.
Exercise: With gyms closing their doors, many are streaming classes (yoga, pilates, etc.) for free to their members or for a small fee to nonmembers. Nike has launched a “Play inside, play for the world” campaign and unlocked premium programming for the Nike Training Club app to help keep people active while they stay home.
Automotive: Dealers and repair shops alike are providing home pickup and delivery for repairs and maintenance. Dealers are also allowing at-home test drives for those still shopping for a new vehicle. Hyundai and Kia are both offering to make six months’ worth of payments on recently purchased vehicles from their brands for those who lose their job.
Financial Services: Credit card companies are dramatically lowering APR rates while insurance companies are waiving late fees and making payment arrangements for home and auto policies. Banks are heavily pushing their mobile and digital services as well as the use of ATMs for simple transactions. The IRS has pushed Tax Day back to July 15, and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are working with mortgage lenders to provide no-fee delayed mortgage payments for those who need them.
Agile Production: The smallest to the largest distilleries are shifting from alcohol production to hand sanitizer production. Makeup and perfume companies are doing the same. In a matter of weeks, a battery company in China turned its production lines into the largest medical mask production facility in the world, making 5,000,000 masks per day.
Information Access: In both print and digital versions, USA Today is including a “Nation’s Health” section which aggregates stories from all 50 states. Sling TV has created free access news channels as well as access to thousands of family-friendly movies and shows.
Alcohol Delivery: This is rapidly increasing for spirits delivery services like Drizly and Saucey. Even states like Texas with strict three-tier delivery systems are allowing local breweries to offer direct sales via curbside pickup and restaurants to deliver drinks with meal purchases (things never before seen in the state).
These are just some of the changes from the last week or so. We look forward to seeing how these pivots normalize in the new reality of the consumer, shopper and retailer. We plan to keep a close eye on daily changes and innovations and will be posting things we find unique and interesting to our social channels every couple of days.