- The pandemic has cultivated unique niches that businesses should pay attention to, according to Rashan Dixon, a senior business consultant for Microsoft.
- Successful companies are pivoting to remote, safe, and sustainable alternatives, as more customers seek out services and products they can access from home.
- Businesses are also starting to leverage their direct-to-consumer retail, which is one of the most convenient and risk-free ways to deliver products to customers.
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The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented downturns and uncertainty in markets worldwide, but the negative effects of the disease have not been distributed evenly. Even as business shuttered their doors for good, Apple became the first company in history to reach a $2 trillion valuation.
Your company might not have Apple’s level of resources at your disposal, but that doesn’t mean that growth is impossible. As the pandemic has torn a path of destruction across the globe, it’s also created opportunities for companies to step in and address new needs along the way. Here are some of the niches created by COVID-19 that business leaders should be paying attention to.
1. Lean into remote everything
Businesses and storefronts may be reopening, but that doesn’t mean all customers are willing to follow suit. There are still so many unknowns about the long-term effects of COVID-19 and the possibility of another outbreak; not everyone is ready for things to return to normal.
In order to fill this gap, companies need to start coming up with ways to facilitate this newly remote world. In just three months, Zoom saw its usership expand twentyfold; it’s time for other companies to jump onto that bandwagon. There are a number of niches within this niche. ClassPass, for example, has staked out its claim as one of the most successful platforms for connecting remote fitness instructors with people looking to exercise. What space will your company occupy?
2. Focus on health and safety
The single biggest factor preventing things from returning to some kind of normal is that people simply don’t feel safe right now — and who can blame them? COVID-19 can be a deadly disease, and far too many businesses and governments aren’t taking the steps necessary to secure the wellbeing of the general population.
More and more applications are appearing that are helping the world open up and operate more safely. TeamSense is one of the newest players in this field, giving employers a platform for tracking the symptoms, testing status, and general health of their hourly workers. With no app download required, it’s easy on the employees and employers alike. As people are looking for tools to keep themselves and their employees safe, look for new ways to help provide that sense of security.
3. Consider sustainability
Even during a pandemic, people still want to do everything they can to ensure the wellbeing of their environment. More than half of Americans want both brands and the government to focus on sustainability during the pandemic according to a survey done by Genomatica. Sustainability is no longer just a bonus for businesses — it’s a must.
The green craze is starting to reach places many never would’ve imagined it going. The Fat Tire Amber Ale became the first carbon neutral beer ever domestically produced and distributed in the United States just last month. People want to buy sustainably, so selling sustainably will connect you with new, excited customer bases.
4. Embrace the direct-to-consumer boom
In March, people started ordering directly to their homes in order to avoid the risk associated with going shopping, but what many customers soon realized was that ordering what they need online didn’t only keep them safe — it was also incredibly convenient. Direct-to-consumer retail is here to stay, and businesses are scrambling to find their place in the newly booming market.
No company has had a greater impact on this market than Dollar Shave Club, whose simple business conceit has ballooned the value of their business to over $1 billion. The idea is a slick one: Provide a good or service that millions of people rely on cheaply and conveniently. For years it reigned over all competitors, but now COVID-19 has created opportunities for similar companies to thrive. If your business can reach its customer base directly, now is the time to start doing so.
It’s impossible to predict what the impacts of COVID-19 on the world will look like one, three, six or 12 months from now. One thing, however, will be certain: The companies that took the leap and leaned into getting people what they wanted during the pandemic will be the ones that came out on top. These tips can help ensure that your business is part of that group.