Emerging Business Models That Came Out of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Emerging Business Models That Came Out of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Innovating and pivoting the business model is a capability that every organization needs from time to time, but updating the model near-instantly and even dramatically is very difficult. Regardless of whether they adjusted the model or completely transformed it, nearly all businesses have had to make improvements since the pandemic started.


adapting to COvid-19 in the digital Age

According to McKinsey, COVID-19 responses have increased the introduction of digital technology by many years, and a lot of these new habits may stay here for the long-term. The biggest of them all is the increase in remote working, which, according to employees, happened 40 times faster than they thought was possible before the pandemic. As a result, companies and organizations are now quickly looking for solutions to circumvent these challenges.

The wide adoption of digital technologies has given companies a lot of inspiration to find new ways to become more productive. Some of them even created new products and business models based on the “new normal.”

Either by Zoom and Hangouts meetings, online exercising or take-out alcohol drinks, businesses are shifting to get through the crisis in about every industry. Some ideas, like individual fitness capsules to bring people back into gyms, have been extremely innovative. But many creative new methods and market models have arisen beyond short-term solutions and are likely to stick, even though many communities are beginning to reopen in a limited capacity.

Although many of these changes and ideas were coming even before the pandemic, the way we are all obligated to behave under these unusual circumstances has accelerated their introduction to the market. The biggest factor to affect these pivots is the change in customer behavior. The customer has changed, expecting more flexibility, comfort, and the ability to do everything from home, having nearly the same experience as when they used to go out to crowded places. Technologies like bots, drones, AI, VR, and AR, are here to provide this. 

Here are some of the emerging business models that came out of the coronavirus pandemic.

dating from a distance

Now that people are more lonely than ever, they have the biggest need for love and affection. Pandemic loneliness is a real thing. According to  “The Pandemic Effect: A Social Isolation Report,” two-thirds of adults are experiencing social isolation, while 66% state that they have increased anxiety levels during the pandemic. 

virtual storefronts for virtual shopping

Those who love shopping can’t visit the high streets and try out their favorite pieces on the spot. That’s why Streetify has decided to bring high-street storefronts to their homes. Streetify hopes that its free platform can help connect customers to nearby shops and help keep them alive. It also provides merchants in the UK, the US, Canada, India, and Australia with free access to the site for one year.

Users can go to the app or the website and pick the street they want to visit. Then, they scroll up and down left or right to move around the street they’re in. They can see digital storefronts and can click on every store to access its Streetify site. Consumers can see all the exclusive sales, discounts and coupons that have been received from top sale pages such as Groupon and Rakuten while within the ‘shop’. Company owners can also add messages, offer deals, distribution options, in-stock products and more in their interactive storefront windows.

Shoppers can also build their own personal streets with stores, where their favorite retailers are selected and then share them on social media.  Shoppers can also follow popular celebrities, who can share their code with fans, allowing them to buy at their favorite store’s Streetify edition.

Streetify uses geo-referencing to switch on the shop and street lights to increase the program’s realistic feeling. For example, if it’s snowing in the actual street, it’s also snowing in Streetify.

online wine tasting

Over the years, wine tasting parties have become increasingly common, but the COVID-19 pandemic put an immediate end to the social tasting of the new cabernet sauvignon. However, Marco Castelanelli didn’t get discouraged. The founder of Club Vino, the company that organizes wine-tasting parties, found a way to digitize his company.

Marco Castelanelli is an Italian sommelier who used to work with winemakers, fascinated by the “story behind the bottle.” This inspired him to create Club Vino and offer users tasting of wine produced by small, family-owned businesses. 

Every party was concentrated on a single theme of wine and was held in some of Manchester and Cheshire’s most prominent properties. In March, with the prohibition of all social events and the closing of pubs, restaurants, and hotels, the COVID-19 crisis made the Club Vino concept fully obsolete. 

Then, clients started asking Castelanelli to send them wine and organize online wine tasting events. So, he decided to pivot and provide clients with wine tasting parties from the comfort of their own home. Customers can order from the website a home sampling package that includes a customized bottle holder, printable tasting notes with suggestions for food matching, and a video that guides them through the wines and describes the history of the bottle like they’re at a real party. According to Castelanelli, this is the perfect parallel to what he used to do before the pandemic and a very scalable alternative.  

digital auctions of art pieces

Where there’s wine, there’s art. Once the world shifted online, art was also one of the experiences you couldn’t visit at the spot. The art auction market then went on hold. To have at least some pieces in their own homes, many people started collecting art. Galleries noticed this trend and went online to meet their clients. 

Sotheby’s pivoted rapidly in the wake of the crisis, hosting more than 100 online transactions between March and June. According to Amy Cappellazzo, chairman of the fine art division of the house, new buyers made up about 30% of almost all transactions. During that time, online sales totaled nearly $200 million, while the same period in 2019 saw 40 online purchases that took in $23 million.

Another innovative business models also emerged. With an emphasis on new, independent artists who are transforming the market, The Auction Collective offers unique art pieces to art lovers collectors. Their new ‘Green Perspectives’ curated auction was focused on the way artists adapt to climate change, with one work sold for £1,800. As traditional auctions can’t occur due to the pandemic, the gallery’s leading art expert Tom Best took all auctions online with real-time bidding. What is more, the auctions offer downloadable bidding paddles for participants to wave during the auction.

fitness goes digital

Aside from physical benefits, exercise is also beneficial for stress control and cognitive performance. However, many individuals have struggled to find the time, especially when trying to balance their jobs, and personal, family, or social commitments. A common obstacle to fitness has also been the high cost of gym memberships.

However, after the COVID-19 pandemic struck and at-home exercises immediately became the norm, in the form of live online and pre-recorded courses, many who also desired the collective class experience switched to virtual wellness.

The events of this year can be interpreted by entrepreneurs as a warning that the world now needs more creative solutions that bring real value to consumers. We expect the world to look different after the crisis, and although the short-term forecast may be pessimistic, history shows that markets can not only recover, but also become more resilient and sustainable after major shifts.

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