Movers & Shakers

Competition, variety, and innovation are the three key ingredients for businesses to survive in the reality created by COVID-19. In our current Movers & Shakers series, we are looking at five companies that have taken the heart pounding plunge into uncertain waters and succeeded. The chaotic nature of 2020 can be difficult for all of us to navigate, but there are guiding lights out there representing the way forward. Last week we reviewed the progress of Nathan’s Famous Inc. and Instacart; and now onward to innovators No. 3 and 2 on our list.

Best Buy
Source: Mike Mozart via flickr

#3 – Best Buy was one of the first companies to roll out sweeping changes when the pandemic struck in March. The chain erred on the side of caution and immediately shut down in store shopping even though they could have been considered an essential retailer given their merchandise. The retailer was in a beneficial position since they offered many electronics that would be vital to people transitioning to a remote environment. While they already had a sophisticated online marketplace, but the lost revenue from in-store traffic would have been significant. To address this, the company rolled out contactless curbside pick-up within a week of closing stores. They were one of the first retailers to offer the option and the transition was seamless. Curbside was offered to customers on foot or vehicle and served to protect employees while the company ordered the proper PPE. When stores did reopen, Best Buy offered shopping by appointment and assigned an employee to each guest to keep track of interactions and cut down on contamination. The company also redesigned their online store for the back to school season and positioned themselves as a one stop shop for school supplies.

Source: DoorDash

#2 – DoorDash had already positioned itself to expand coming into 2020, but their business opportunities exploded in March. With the majority of restaurants dealing with closed dining rooms, delivery became one of the major ways to generate revenue. Proprietary delivery systems can be cost prohibitive and require extensive planning which caused many companies to turn to DoorDash for their delivery needs. In addition, the business had vastly increased its company profile and new customers were offered special delivery deals. While all of this proved fruitful for the company, it brought a microscope on their business practices. DoorDash, along with their competitors, charged significant fees from partners that could go up to 30% of profit sharing with each order. This news caused public backlash and even some local governments put caps on the fees delivery companies could collect. They had to rework some of their contracts and had to push innovation further to maintain partners that had begun developing their own systems. Their most recent innovation was the debut of DashMart, a grocery delivery service that partners with their existing restaurant clients to provide customers with necessities like toilet paper and fresh produce. The move puts them in direct competition with previous entrant on our list Instacart and provides restaurants an outlet to sell surplus supplies. DoorDash was able to turn bad press into a way to provide more options for both their partners and consumers.

Best Buy and DoorDash have been able to give customers new options to shop during this pandemic while creating new products that will be useful when business returns to normal. Stay tuned as we announce the top innovator of 2020, a company who is on the cutting edge of technology and customer service.

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