The novel coronavirus is at the front of everyone’s mind. As more countries, states, and cities choose how they respond to COVID-19 outbreaks, businesses are forced to follow suit, leaving many with a dilemma of how to shift their products or services to meet the current environment.
And it’s important to identify ways to shift your approach sooner rather than later. Not only are many businesses following strict shelter in place guidelines, but consumers are doing the same. It’s more essential than ever to consider how your products or services are applicable to your customers in the current climate. And, if they’re not applicable, how to pivot and adjust to provide solutions to their changing needs.
We’ve been inspired by a variety of businesses doing just that, and thought it’d be helpful for our own audience of marketers to see how many companies are shifting their focuses, offers, content, and promotions to accommodate the current state of affairs.
We’ll continue to update this post as we gain more examples. You can skim through the headings to see the various ways organizations are changing.
Adjusting business operations to accommodate drive-up, delivery, and other social distancing approaches.
It’s been encouraging to see how companies accommodate social distancing guidelines while also facilitating purchases.
At Home accommodates customers during isolation with curbside pickup.
Our first example is from home goods warehouse At Home, announcing store closures to the public, while keeping curbside pickup available for customers that still need to buy (i.e. people working from home that need new desks, chairs, etc.).
Best Buy shifts normal procedures to make the customer experience safe and valuable.
With large department stores shifting to curbside pickup, we see retailer Best Buy follow suit. The electronics retailer also takes time to talk about their in-home services. While in-home installation is currently suspended to support their employees’ health, they’re still offering doorstep delivery for customers that need the closest possible thing to installation.
Resy tries to keep restaurants afloat by showcasing takeout and delivery options for their users.
Fewer industries have been hit as hard as restaurants, and Resy supports their customers by encouraging users to eat out. Recognizing a sit-down experience may not be possible, Resy sent a guide to users showing where they can find restaurants offering takeout and delivery.
Sonic leans on technology to make food accessible while social distancing.
Speaking of restaurants, Sonic keeps distance at a six-foot minimum by highlighting contactless payment options, as well as delivery. They also reassure customers by providing a link to their COVID-19 health measures at the bottom.
Walgreens empowers every customer to feel comfortable staying at home.
Even stores labeled “essential” are changing how they do business to keep their customers and employees safe. Walgreens assures its customers that it can support their needs in every aspect (much like a convenience store should), offering drive-thru shopping, free shipping on essentials and prescriptions, and telephone services for clinic and pharmacy specialists.
Offering flexibility to subscription clients and keeping in touch digitally.
Many companies are in a tough place as they have to close doors, leaving subscription-based customers at a loss. Yet at the same time, unemployment has reached new heights due to business closures, which makes it difficult for them to maintain these services. Here’s how a few companies are handling the dilemma.
Classpass offers flexibility, empathy, and understanding during the crisis.
Offering a flexible subscription to a variety of fitness classes, Classpass has been hit hard with gym closures and class cancelations. In spite of this fact, they’ve been eager to inform their customers of what’s happening, and demonstrate an understanding of their users’ evolving needs as the pandemic unfolds.
Here’s the first email they sent when COVID-19 first started affecting its customers. They announce new ways to keep class credits flexible in case their users don’t feel safe attending. They offer revised rollover credits during the crisis, and the option to pause memberships. Classpass also highlights an online workout to help reach their subscribers from home.
Then, after classes in this area officially closed, they sent out another email informing subscribers of suspending billing. Empathy extends even farther here, highlighting a refund to users that request one.
While not every brand can afford this level of benevolence toward their customers, this is a genuinely heartwarming example.
Planet Fitness turns off the lights in the gym, and turns up the heat in your living room.
Recognizing that isolation for gyms makes patronage impossible, Planet Fitness is taking the opportunity to keep connecting online. Even relegated to homes, people still have to work out—and find creative ways to do so without access to a gym.
Planet Fitness keeps their audience engaged with their live classes (as well as their video workouts) with email, where they can highlight what’s coming up and how customers can join in.
Bandcamp feels for its users and lends support.
Digital music retailer Bandcamp offers their condolences for the music industry as live events around the world are being cancelled. This email lets their customers know that they’re paying forward their revenue share for all limited-time purchases so they can support musicians in need.
Piedmont Gas supports customers that truly need it.
With so many industries shutting down and people losing their jobs, it’s harder than ever for many to pay their bills. Piedmont Gas takes a moment to address this challenge, offering flexibility by suspending shutoffs and waiving fees for late payments, while also showcasing how they’re approaching service calls and other interactions with care.
Launching new services to support customers.
Bandsintown launches new Twitch channel to support live events from anywhere.
If you’re into live music at all, you’ve probably seen Bandsintown being used by your favorite bands and venues, keeping fans updated on the latest shows. With so many event cancellations, this leaves thousands of musicians without any income. So Bandsintown quickly launched a Twitch channel to support musicians that are hoping to replace in-person shows with digital performances, and created new integrations to support more live streaming platforms. You can see their announcement to artists in this email:
And then their follow-up email to fans using the platform:
Giving guides, content, or ideas for COVID-19 quarantine when a purchase may not be appropriate.
Violet Grey asks their audience for things they’re struggling with so they can provide support.
Ecommerce skincare brand Violet Grey sends a great on-brand message to their audience about the novel coronavirus. It begins with a long shoutout to those in essential personal contact situations: doctors, service workers, fire fighters, police officers, waste technicians, the list goes on. And not only do they share their appreciation, but they go on to offer support to their customers.
The paragraph at the bottom invites their subscribers to respond with the content they’d be interested in reading. Needless to say, many people have plenty of questions in the current environment, and Violet Grey shows their support by offering insight to these questions where they can.
Maison Miru shows their support for those new to WFH.
As the founder of an ecommerce jewelry retailer, Trisha lets us know that she’s no stranger to the reality of work from home (WFH). So instead of offering discounts or long reads on which jewelry you should buy, Trisha wrote a quick guide on how to work from home while maintaining your humanity. It’s an insightful way to show love and support for her customers without anything expected in return.
Ceros brings helpful fun to a dreary time while encouraging healthy habits.
This Netflix and Disney movie recommendation generator acts as a fun reprieve in the current climate. But more than just a fun tool, it also directly applies to their audience. Made up of nearly all B2B marketers, their subscriber base is likely all working from home, and picking the right movies out at night could actually become something really helpful.
They also take the time to reinforce the CDC’s recommendation to stay at home, showing their respect and desire to fight COVID-19.
Digiday frames their reporting in the context of COVID-19.
While there are innumerable headlines talking about the novel coronavirus and its widespread effects, it’s important to people everywhere to know how COVID-19 is affecting their industry, how their work could be (or should be) changing due to emerging mandates, and how they should be operating as the virus continues to evolve. And Digiday tees this info up for their audience.
Subscribers to this newsletter are looking for the latest on the streaming wars, over-the-top TV ad performance and trends, and other digital advertising news—all of which have been impacted by COVID-19. So Digiday takes an entire newsletter to devote to disruptions in video and media due to the coronavirus, bringing extremely helpful (and free) insight to their audience.
Tattly brings some light into COVID-19 quarantine life with DIY projects.
Temporary tattoo retailer Tattly is focused on spreading some joy in this time by providing fun projects to do while sheltering at home. They have a long list of DIY activities sourced from around the web, providing some nice resources to their audience.
Tying existing products to fit needs during COVID-19 social distancing.
Lowe’s encourages family interaction with hands-on projects.
For many parents, sheltering in place can quickly become an over-extension of self after keeping kids engaged and learning. So Lowe’s tries to provide interactive activities for both kids and adults by creating projects out of common home improvement items.
Petite Collage helps parents with quick wins for the kids.
In an effort to provide support for parents-turned-teachers under COVID-19, toy retailer Petite Collage launched a sale for their email community, providing puzzles and other interactive and educational toys at a discounted price.
Recognizing that discretionary income isn’t available to many people right now, they also give quick tips on how to create inexpensive DIY puzzles at home.
Apple gives extremely relevant recommendations in their App Store newsletter.
As a curator for more than 2M+ apps, Apple has the responsibility to connect their audience with apps that make the most sense for this current moment. And they do so successfully in this newsletter.
Highlighting ways to stay connected while social distancing, how to stay fit while remaining in your home, tools for learning while homeschooling, and methods of managing stress during extremely stressful times, Apple serves extremely relevant recommendations at a much needed time during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We hope you found inspiration for how your brand can respond to the novel coronavirus outbreak. If you haven’t yet sent out any communication about how your brand is responding, make sure to check out our post on key considerations when sending a COVID-19 email.
If you found this post helpful, make sure to subscribe to our newsletter, where we’ll be sending brand new resources about email marketing during the COVID-19 pandemic.