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article imageThe new normal? How businesses are adapting to COVID-19

By Tim Sandle     May 8, 2020 in Business
In the retracting economy, essential businesses like supermarkets, PPE manufacturers and healthcare providers have more business than ever out. But what about other businesses? We look at some examples of how companies are adapting.
There are various examples of companies who are unexpectedly experiencing success as a result of shifts in consumer behavior due to the coronavirus. These examples range from instrument and puzzle manufacturers with increased sales to a takeout and delivery app developer with a rapidly growing client roster.
Food services
An example of adapting to the restrictions around eating out is Hazlnut, based in Jacksonville, Florida. The company builds web-based ordering sites and mobile apps for restaurants so they can take takeout and delivery orders online. After many states mandated restaurants switch to takeout and delivery service only, the company saw a 20 percent increase in number of customers using their platform in March alone. Many of its clients would not have been able to offer takeout and delivery without Hazlnut, which can have a business online in two to three days.
Games and puzzles
With stay-at-home orders in place, White Mountain Puzzles of Jackson, New Hampshire has seen sales skyrocket. Twelve hours into the month of April, they passed their order total in all of April last year. The company has sent out 13 truckloads with 13,000 puzzles in each shipment since the beginning of the month. Colin Wroblewski, a co-owner of the business, has credited the success to having a product for everyone, from 350 different themed and high-piece puzzles to others with fewer and larger pieces.
On-line fundraising
Swell Fundraising, a Birmingham, Alabama based company, has supported online fundraising efforts for over ten years, driven by the activities of the company's founder and CEO Brooke Battle. During the COVID-19 crisis, the platform has been able to save fundraising efforts for non-profit organizations across the country. Non-profit events nationwide have been cancelled, but many organizations cannot afford not to fundraise. With the technology already in place to accept online donations, Swell also offers services like interactive livestream fundraisers and other virtual events.
Music retail
Sweetwater Sound in Fort Wayne, Indiana is one of the largest musical retailers in the country – and while hundreds of thousands of people in the U.S. are stuck at home, demand for instruments to learn and play is high. Traffic to Sweetwater.com has continued being successful after the pandemic was declared, and sales are higher than usual for this time of year.
Sweetwater saw a surge in sales from states that were hit early on or had few stores available. In addition, with a team of 500 sales engineers making calls to customers to check in, the company has been able to avoid making furloughs or layoffs.
Education
Headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, ProctorU, an online test-taking service with 13 locations across six countries, has seen a rise in inquiries for their service with the shift of schools to online education as a result of COVID-19. Since this transition, the company went from having 10-15 leads a day to over 200 in just the last two weeks.
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