The COVID-19 pandemic has had an adverse effect on businesses around the country. According to the Yelp Economic Impact report, it is estimated that 163,735 businesses in the United States have closed since the beginning of March. Even more alarming, about 60% of the businesses that shut down due to the pandemic will never reopen. As citizens began experiencing the pandemic’s effects through wage cuts and loss of jobs, they began stockpiling cash and curbed their spending and shopping habits. According to CNN, the U.S. savings rate hit a historic high at 33% in April. This, coupled with the implementation of extreme social distancing measures forcing businesses to reduce their capacity or shut down completely, has put a strain on the financial health of businesses across all industries. That being said, big box retailers, such as Best Buy, Target, and Walmart, have been able to stay afloat due to there ability to pivot and effectively market in order to adapt to these unprecedented times.
One of the methods utilized by Best Buy to tackle the challenges presented by the pandemic was to roll out their curbside pickup feature months before originally planned. This allowed customers to purchase products online and pick up their orders in the parking lot while minimizing contagion that could occur while shopping in the store. According to the company’s earnings release, this allowed Best Buy to retain around 81 percent of the sales they received in Q1 of 2019, even with all of their stores completely shut down. According to Best Buy CEO Corie Barry, “There are scenarios we plan for as business leaders, and then there are events that simply do not have a playbook. This is one of those times.” The ability to quickly adapt and pivot the company’s strategy for getting their products into the hands of consumers is a large reason why Best Buy has stayed afloat during this pandemic.
Another example of a company pivoting to meet changing customer demand was Target and Walmart optimizing their online shopping platforms and utilizing their distribution hubs. While these stores carry essential items such as groceries and toiletries, many customers still wished to avoid shopping in the store. A refined online shopping experience and seamless pickup in the parking lot kept these stores afloat as their online sales soared. Brian Cornell, CEO of Target, stated that the company’s stores were involved in supplying goods for approximately 80 percent of their online sales and curbside pickup more than doubled. On the other hand, Walmart began using about 2,500 of their locations to process and ship online orders to consumers.
All three of these big box companies were strategic in their approach to handling a pandemic that has forced many businesses to shut down permanently. They pivoted and adapted to the needs of their customers and effectively marketed their solutions, allowing them retain the majority of their sales and stay on top of the pandemic. For more information on how to successfully pivot, visit www.exitrichbook.com for your free Book and Club CEOs Membership.
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