The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a lot business to go online, which normally might not have done so.
We asked business owners all around the world if they have made a positive turnaround in online sales because of COVID-19 to share their story. Many did, and here is what they had to say:
My consulting business involved driving from one homeowner house to the next, I covered NJ and the tristate area. The average day was 200-300 miles When the virus happened and that was no longer possible I invested in virtual moving survey software. I schedule a time to meet with the client, we share a video link and go through the house.
The report I create is very similar the in-house report and now I can do twice as many in a day without the travel expenses. My income is about the same, there is still some consumer nervousness about how complete the survey will be, but I see less of that as time goes on.
Tony Baumer, Old Grey Tiger Consulting
Snapology is a new learning concept that combines play with education. We provide a fun, interactive environment for children to learn science, technology, engineering, art math, robotics and video game design concepts using LEGO® bricks, K’Nex and technology. We do this through after school enrichment programs, summer camps, workshops, birthday parties, scouting events, field trips, play dates, creative play and custom events! With the recent COVID-19 outbreak, we’ve had to adapt our curriculum to take our popular STEAM classes online.
We connect with students through ZOOM which works on almost any phone, tablet, or PC- as long as it has a microphone and camera. Families register for a class of their choosing on our website and 30 minutes prior to the class, we send a private ZOOM link. The students love the novelty of the process and it creates a sense of normalcy in their lives. During private playdates, children are able to interact with their friends through structured play and guidance. All of our classes are taught with LEGO bricks or materials that can be found around the house. We suggest a generic brick kit should parents need to order supplies.
Although there were a few hiccups in transitioning teachers to Virtual Educators, they’ve adjusted very well with limited onboarding support. Many of the schools we support in person have decided to take advantage of our Distance Learning programs and although this doesn’t replace the full amount of income we were receiving before COVID-19, it certainly helps lighten the burden. We’ve grown our email list by 20% and look forward to capitalizing on our efforts once the social distancing order is lifted and things slowly get back to normal.
Jessica Stasi, Snapology
Real Estate Website
As the leading real estate website for consumers shopping for a newly built home in the U.S. with 36 million visits per year – our 20-year old website has made a complete pivot in the last four weeks to a virtual and online experience for new home buyers. With 1,300 builders and 13,000 new home communities across our website, we have:
- Redesigned out home page, learning centers and calls to actions to move the new homebuyer’s journey online and virtual
- In states where model homes are closed, or have moved to By Appointment Only, we are partnering with builders to offer private online tours of model homes and quick-move-in homes via smartphone video tours conducted via FaceTime video, Skype, WhatsApp, Zoom or Go-to-Meeting
- Partnered with an innovative company, Utour, to allow home shoppers to enter a locked model home – that is cleaned before and after a homebuyer’s private visit – where the homebuyer’s questions about new homes for sale can be answered via Amazon Alexa or Dot or Google Voice
- Offered virtual tours, interactive floor plans & interactive site plans online – that show lots available for sale and which homes can be built on a given lot
- Our company’s Envision Online Design Center includes 375,000 building products from 350+ leading building product manufacturers. Builders select products they wish to offer as standard features or Good-Better-Best upgrades. Consumers compare options online, see how they look together using a room visualizer, and see the cost per month in incremental mortgage payment to upgrade an appliance, cabinets, faucets, flooring, countertops and more. Homebuyers can even make their final Design Center Options Choices Online working via Zoom with a builder’s design team.
Some builders we work with are now taking deposits for a new home online. Other builders are offering secure online purchases where a homebuyer can apply for a mortgage and get approved – and even close online. Final inspection can be done online. The new home is then cleaned and locked – awaiting the first owner to move in. We can supply examples of leading builders doing this and intros to them, as well.
Purchasing and designing a newly built home is the most expensive purchase a consumer makes. Working with leading builders, our company is leading the industry’s pivot to sell new homes online. We started the journey 20 years ago with the launch of NewHomeSource.com – but the speed of change in the last 3-4 weeks has been stunning.
Jay McKenzie, Builders Digital Experience (BDX)
Brew Tour Guides
I work in the Craft Beer industry for a company called City Brew Tours. Normally, we are a craft beer tour company that offers all-inclusive brew tours with behind-the-scenes access to the best local breweries in 11 cities across the US and Canada. In the current climate however, we’ve had to adapt to survive.
For the first time ever, we are offering live, virtual experiences that bring a taste of our craft beer experiences to our clientele at home. Our new Beer Events at Home are craft beer group activities led by our expert beer guides over Zoom, where participants choose from The Live Homebrew Experience or the Beer and Cheese Pairing Virtual Happy Hour!
Kalimah Mustafa, City Brew Tours
Civic Dinners is a community engagement platform that fosters deeper connections and understanding between individuals. Civic Dinners is normally an in-person gathering over a meal, but that obviously couldn’t work because of social distancing. They took action in early March and shifted to become a virtual dinner hosting platform and were able to keep their clients (and grow) as a result.
They work with business clients, like Facebook and Mailchimp, so that organizations can set up virtual dinners around important topics. It allows people from different teams to get to know one another better in a casual virtual setting. There are 3 big questions and various moderation rules to facilitate the conversation. The idea is that people are much more comfortable when sharing a meal together (even virtually).
Jenn Graham, Civic Dinners
Home & Garden Wholesaler
We have a wholesale line of business in the home & garden industry. It’s an item that is a great add-on item or small gift. However, due to the closure of most retailers, our orders stopped as well. Therefore, we decided to finally give our own eCommerce store a try. It was something we had been pushing down the road for a long time.
We got on a conference call with our fulfillment partner and quickly figured out how to fulfill B2C orders. They were extremely helpful. Then we had a freelancer on Upwork put together a basic Shopify website. We were up and running within 72 hours. Now we’re working hard on figuring out the most successful ads. It’s been a promising start so far.
Daniel Warmuth, Sprigbox
I’m a Certified Public Accountant with a field-based accounting firm, Southern Tax Preparation & Services, in Atlanta, GA. While income tax preparation is our flagship service, Southern Tax has been specializing in bookkeeping, financial consulting, payroll, credit counseling, estate planning, financial education, and spreading financial literacy around the globe for the past 5 years.
As a result of the coronavirus, Southern Tax has pivoted its focus from providing education through the sale of our services to simply making education readily available to our audience through our social media platforms and online communities, email campaigns, and live video conferencing. We realized that because of the shelter-in-place orders and executive orders that have been put in place, many people’s jobs have reduced hours and/or wages or closed completely subsequently affecting their finances.
Therefore, Southern Tax decided to provide in-depth education not only on the facets of financial literacy, but also on the provisions of the CARES Act, what the provisions mean for everyday people, available relief efforts, and how to manage and adjust their finances to navigate through this time of uncertainty.
Southern Tax also developed and launched a 100% online format called Financial Literacy University (FLU). FLU delivers high quality financial education and offers exceptional flexibility, accessibility and affordability to any individual striving to better their lives and improve their financial health. From budgeting to credit to taxes to life insurance to health insurance to retirement planning to estate planning and the overall importance of financial literacy, FLU develops and presents courses targeted at each facet of financial literacy to ensure that its students master the concepts of each facet and make real-life applications using the education provided.
Pivoting our focus has caused our company’s visibility and social proof to increase; our social media likes, follows, reposts, and requests to join our online community are increasing by the day. Refocusing has allowed us to establish ourselves as an authority in the accounting/finance industry.
However, most importantly, our audience’s desire to establish and maintain a stable financial structure has increased. The amount of participation in our live videos, the overwhelming amount of direct messages to our social media accounts, the client referrals from our audience, and the increase in revenue is an obvious indication that our decision to pivot our focus was a step in the right direction for our company, and most importantly, for our clients and audience.
Southern Tax’s net income for the past month has doubled compared to last year’s net income for the same time period.. As a result, we plan to continue to put more focus on providing readily-available education to our audience by showing up through all mediums in which our audience is present as it is proven that the revenue will continue to follow.
Jasmine Young, Southern Tax Preparation & Services
Eyebrow Maintenance and Restoration
My name Onisha Claire I own Bossy Brows in Philadelphia, Pa. As a licensed Esthetician and Permanent makeup artist, specifically catering to eyebrow maintenance and restoration I have successfully launched an amazing Digital Course Keratin Brow Lamination for Aspiring brow Professionals …and people are buying it !! We included a step by step tutorial, a full kit which we ship and 30 minutes virtual follow up!
For Brow enthisiasts we’ve created a quarantine brow kit…along with a video how to tutorial.
We also created a coaching platform for professionals @6figuresoloboss to help others pivot and realign during this pandemic.
Onisha Claire, Bossy Brows
Skincare & Beauty
My family owns and operates a dermatologist backed skincare and beauty site.
We sell hundreds of brands and thousands of products.
Post COVID-19, Amazon stopped selling beauty products because it was non essential. We instantly saw a nice uptick in our sales and conversion rate percentage when this happened.
Consumers also could no longer go into their dermatology offices to get the skincare products they always used. Instead, they had to order online, which was helpful for our sales.
Lastly, consumers would spend hundreds of dollars at their salon and spas on treatment and products. WIth this option out of the equation, it triggered more online sales.
Sales for DermWarehouse have increased 25% post-COVID-19. We’ve increased our advertising and ordered enough inventory to position our company for this.
Jason Parks, DermWarehouse
Our company has always had an online presence, but it was only about 10% of our business and was focused around selling nationally. Due to COVID-19, we had to close down our brick and mortar store, and push customers to buy from us online. To help increase sales during this time, we started doing an online show selling gemstones to our local customers. Our first show did very well, with a few 100 customers watching and bringing in over $5,000 in sales. We plan on continuing to run these shows weekly until we are able to open up again.
Jeff Moriarty, Moriarty’s Gem Art
TherapyWorks provides pediatric speech, occupational and physical therapies in-home and in-school. Secondary to COVID-19 we have successfully shifted all service delivery to teletherapy. Insurance companies have changed their telehealth coverage policies to our benefit; enabling us to launch nationally and grow the teletherapy aspect of our business which had not taken off previously.
Erin Vollmer, TherapyWorks
We are a traditional board games store moving online. We have had to close our store down to function solely online. We have needed to more all staff over to the warehouse and keep on all staff to meet the demands of board games at this time. A number of individuals are finding they have a significant amount of time available to take on a new interest or a hobby. We indeed operate on 4 platforms and have had to optimise all of our platforms to continue online. These platforms include Amazon, eBay, Etsy and our very own website.
Rizwan Girach, Chessgammon
I am the owner of Top This Chocolate, a premium customizable-on-the-spot chocolate store in Ventura, CA.
I opened my retail store just this past September and it was going well. I had to quickly pivot to online sales and cut my shipping charge in half. Most people are not accustomed to buying chocolate online so it’s been a big hit. Plus I was already losing money on shipping and now I am losing more. However, it has been a great marketing opportunity to reach those who were not previously aware of my business.
I am finding that people with more time on their hands are reading my emails and social media posts. They are also trying very hard to support small businesses. I’ve posted that I am open on several listing site and received online orders through those.
I have learned that people really want to pickup instead of having their chocolate shipped and so I’ve had to set pickup hours. It may be because they want to get out to my beautiful harbor location or maybe just that they really do not want to pay a shipping charge (even reduced). I got a lot of Easter orders from people who usually buy from Sees Candies and am hoping to do well for Mother’s Day as well.
Shana Elson, Top This Chocolate
Health and Fitness
Well known as a face to face business, personal training and boutique fitness classes had to adjust, and do it fast.
When boutique fitness was not even a thing, Grassroots Fitness Project was doing it. It became clear that a fitness company’s sustained success must be tied directly to the success of its clients. They created a boutique fitness studio that had everything that many commercial gyms were missing – education on the why and how of fitness, a team of trainers to lead you through your workouts and keep you motivated, and a community where you feel respected and supported. They opened their studio on the Upper West Side where a growing team of trainers provide programming from Group Fitness Classes to Personal Training to Youth Programs.
A month ago, when everything changed, Heather and the Grassroots team had to roll up their sleeves and figure out a new plan–in 24 hours time. Our approach to fitness is about building a foundation of movements that can be easily accessible to our members, regardless of their fitness level. By focusing on these movements, we can modify and progress our workouts to meet the needs of our members, whether they are looking to improve their general fitness or working on a specific fitness goal. Grassroots Fitness Project exists to be the conduit for your ideal lifestyle and for any fitness project you are working on. And now we can do this from our living rooms and our community has not dwindled at all – in fact, it’s grown! Now we are accessible, not just to our neighbors, but to people in Florida, people in DC, people in Australia and it’s really wonderful!
Grassroots now has a busy schedule that offers:
- Online kid, tween and teen classes (Sibling classes, age limited classes, etc)
- Online children’s birthday parties
- Adult classes
- Adult training
Heather Gunn Rivera, Grassroots Fitness Project
Online Business Training
I run a business called Internet Income Jamaica that teaches people how to start an online business. The interesting thing about us is that we used to teach the majority of our sessions to students in a classroom setting.
However, little less than a year ago, we decided to scale our business due to increased demand to reach a wider audience, so we transferred all our classes to an online environment. For example, we had a Virtual Summit planned before the pandemic, that we have turned completely into online sessions. We now have consistent Facebook Live streams to our audience and multiple Facebook groups and online webinars.
Therefore, when the COVID-19 crisis hit, we were well equipped to continue to serve our students and clients. As a result, we have realized a larger demand for our services, as more people try to transfer their businesses online or those who may have lost jobs are seeking better ways to earn an income.
Additionally, many of our normal office functions such as meetings, weekly reporting and brainstorming sessions had to adapt to an online environment as well, and it has made us more agile, efficient and productive. First, virtual meetings have fast-tracked team communication and productivity and second, because we work remotely, we have more time to allocate towards other avenues to expand the business.
Alicia Lyttle, Internet Income Jamaica
Max Darwin, known to fans as “The Amazing Max,” has performed a popular family magic show Off Broadway and on tour around the United States for the past decade. In the wake of COVID-19, Max and his wife, Christine Cox, quickly pivoted their model so they could stay in the business of inspiring and entertaining kids.
Since mid-March, performers all around the country have been forced to find innovative ways to share their talents, and The Amazing Max has risen to the challenge. For the past four weeks, Max has been offering virtual magic lessons, using Zoom to provide 30-minute classes to kids who are trapped at home … wherever home may be. Max’s students live all over the United States and as far away as Curacao, Finland, Kuwait and Mexico. In just one month Max has taught just about 250 magic lessons.
Christine Cox, The Amazing Max
Do you have a business which has made significant changes to get online because of the Coronavirus? We’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below.