Items that have now become staples — like face masks and hand sanitizer — were not always so easy to come across, especially during the initial months of the coronavirus pandemic.
But some savvy companies and business owners saw the need to bring these items to the masses, pivoting their usual production to meet the growing demands — and for many of them, this quick shift paid off handsomely. Others pivoted their ways of conducting business to make it more COVID-19 safe, allowing their companies to thrive.
Activewear brand Athleta began selling face masks in March 2020, a move that helped it to acquire more than 2 million new customers, Business Insider reported.
“Masks have been a great way for many new customers to be introduced to Athleta and a strong customer acquisition tool,” Athleta CEO Mary Beth Laughton told the site.
By September 2020, Athleta had reached its highest same-store sales in its history and is now forecasted to hit $2 billion in sales by 2023.
As people stayed home and ordered more delivery, Domino’s readied itself to meet the growing demand — and meet it safely. The pizza chain quickly added a contactless delivery option, which is now the default delivery method.
The pizza chain posted double-digit growth two quarters in a row in 2020, CNBC reported. In the third quarter, revenues were up 17.9% and same-store sales were up 17.5% compared to the same quarter in 2019.
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When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed its guidelines last April to recommend that all Americans wear cloth face masks, many turned to Etsy to buy these coverings.
“All of a sudden, we saw an explosion of demand, literally overnight, on Etsy,” Josh Silverman, CEO of Etsy, told Marketplace.
When he realized the demand wasn’t likely to wane anytime soon, Silverman put a call out to all of Etsy’s sellers to start making masks ASAP.
“Within two weeks, we had 20,000 sellers making masks,” he said. “Etsy could go from zero to hundreds of thousands of masks in days, just because of the dynamism of the Etsy seller base.”
In the second quarter of 2020, 110,000 Etsy sellers sold a total of 29 million face masks worth $346 million, CNN reported. Face masks drove 14% of all Etsy sales for that period.
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In March 2020, H&M — the world’s second-biggest fashion retailer — announced that it would begin producing and donating PPE.
“H&M Group is now quickly arranging for its supply chain to produce personal protective equipment to be provided to hospitals and health care workers,” a spokeswoman told Reuters.
Although H&M initially produced PPE specifically for healthcare workers, the company also now sells reusable face masks for the masses.
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Pernod Ricard, the French spirits company behind Absolut vodka and Jameson Irish whiskey, shifted its Arkansas production facility to produce hand sanitizer instead of liquor in March 2020. Although the sanitizer would be donated — not sold for profit — the move may have helped its corporate image, which in turn, could boost sales, Bloomberg reported.
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