Written by Renae Failla

How are businesses pivoting and diversifying their product range during COVID-19 to re-emerge stronger than ever?


Westpac’s SME COVID-19 response report revealed that 49 per cent of Australian small businesses have changed the way they function due to the COVID-19 hit. For most this has been in the form of adding additional products and services 29%, shifting business to online 21% and transferring the focus of their business 19%.


With a plethora of new businesses popping up during the last couple of months and the diversification of almost every business, we have been noting the trends.


Shift to online


Firstly, although we do live in a digital age – it is interesting to note that pre-COVID many businesses did not have an online presence. Considering your local cafe, butcher, florist or supermarket – many shoppers were so accustomed to visiting the store and deciding what they wanted to buy on the spot, however, there has now been a forced shift to online.


Australian Study conducted by McKinsey & Co surveying Australian customers suspects that post COVID-19 or during a COVID Normal 25%-65% of customers will make a portion of their purchases online in most categories while 70 -145% anticipate they will make all of their purchases online. This spans not only groceries, apparel and household supplies but also makeup, snacks, alcohol etc.


Small business tip: Websites such as Wix, WordPress, Squarespace and Shopify are becoming a must for small businesses to rise in the online space.


Identify and push products within your business that meet current consumer needs

It’s no surprise that the COVID-19 Pandemic has forced a sudden shock on consumption and consumer spending with partial and total lockdowns all around the world. This has resulted in a change in what consumers are buying and prioritising which is consequentially pushing businesses and retailers to adapt and push products that weren’t normally selling as well.

Namely, there has been an identifiable increase in the purchasing of loungewear, candles, masks, care packages, graze boxes, pre-packed groceries and takeaway items as consumers seek convenience and value with stay at home orders. Many businesses are recognising this need and the products they already have to centre marketing campaigns around this.

One retailer that is paving the way and demonstrating its adaptability, placing relevant products front of mind to their consumers is The Iconic.

Now including a #StayHome section – you are able to find all relevant items such as workout wear, WFH footwear and even face masks all in one unique hub.

A shoutout to small business in Metro Melbourne, Mini-Me Mango @minimemango cafe who have managed to utilise their current staff members to do free delivery within 5km of the store. Noticeably with tighter restrictions, they have also expanded their takeaway menu offering and pushed items like their vegan donuts which are a perfect gift for #isobirthdays.

JAX Tyres for Ponderings

Change/add to your product range

For other businesses, the pandemic has forced the introduction of additional product ranges and offerings to majorly pivot and remain operable at this time of uncertainty.

Harvard Business Review advises that a pivot to the product range and offering for restaurants could be “to offer a flat rate for a set number of meals per week or per month, with limited menu choices” or “to offer a combination of precooked dishes with sides or additions that could be prepared at home using ingredients supplied by the restaurant. The restaurant could send a link to a video that walks the customer through preparation, thus incorporating an experiential and learning element.”

This pivot has successfully been undertaken by a local Italian restaurant who hit the nail on the head for Father’s Day, offering customers a ‘homemade cannoli kit’, keeping the brand front of mind and ensuring their customers felt as if they were eating cannoli together in the restaurant.

In the same way, businesses from all categories learnt to respond to the shortage of face masks and sanitiser around the world and jumped on the trend quickly – especially with the introduction of mandatory face masks in many places.

Open a new business based on new talents

Stay at home orders and significant job losses have urged people to become more creative, trying new things and learning new talents that have eventuated to a surge in new small businesses.

In fact, the ABC reports, “There were 253,529 new business names registered between January and July this year, compared with 222,516 over the same period last year,” proving how individuals have become more malleable and adaptable than ever to hasten future ideas and dreams.

CCIWA chief economist Aaron Morey has indicated that they are now seeing startups that respond to changing consumer demands as well as a surge in consultancy type businesses.

Small business tip: If you have started creating your own candles in your garage, learnt how to arrange aesthetically pleasing platters for graze boxes or been busy sewing garments throughout the night – now is the time to take that plunge and carry out your dreams.

If you have either started a new business, diversified your product range or shifted to online during the COVID-19 pandemic we would love to hear your success stories! And if you’re busy working on your new Business Strategy and need someone to ramp up your Social Media strategy post COVID-19, Melbourne Social Media can help! To get in touch, email renaelaurenfailla@gmail.com or call 0448 875 934.

Instagram: @melbournesocialmedia


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