Pivoting Businesses During Pandemic


Covid 19 has muted many businesses over the world. How can crisis be turned to an opportunity? Are businesses ready to deal with such turbulences and pre-empt it? Amid the doom and gloom, one can learn lessons from small yet top performers.

Improving the Customer Experience

Ria was reading reviews of mattresses at Amazon. She was pregnant and also working from home during this pandemic. She was finding it hard to sleep well at night which was causing a toll on her health and leading to severe backache. She came across orthopaedic-memory-foam mattress* at an affordable price. After all her research, she ordered one from Wakefit website but she had to wait for another 15 days to get her order. To her surprise, she got a call from the company, promising it to be delivered within a week. They lived up to it and delivered well within 3 days. It was a perfect end to all her sleep related problems. The company also had a policy of 100 day-return with 100% refund.

This is not a dreamy fiction of happy endings. It is possible to have such customer experiences, if businesses can “reimagine customer-first-digital architecture”1. Wakefit sells its well-designed high density memory foam mattresses only online with no physical stores.  Wakefit does not believe in ‘touch and feel’ strategy and have challenged the traditional business model. Businesses have to rethink and challenge their mental models2 to navigate through tough times.

Pandemic Encouraged New Approaches

The pandemic has been ruthless, but there lies a silver lining too. There exists seamless opportunities for businesses to transform and experiment with new approaches.  Following are some other ways:

  • Challenging existing models – Even Ivy League universities did not wholly embrace the online digital mode till the pandemic pushed them to innovate and rework on online pedagogy. Now, when globally the students are online, there is no choice.

When advertisers cut their budget, free user base was not adding much to Spotify’s revenue. Hence, Spotify focussed on streaming of original content podcasts and thus found its way as a curator and not just music streaming company.

  • Reimagining businesses – how best can you alleviate customers’ pain. Zomato and Swiggy delivered groceries during lockdown. Airbnb engaged hosts and guests by offering virtual tours, experiences, events on meditation, music shows, live cooking, song-writing etc. with a reasonable fee3.
  • Understanding the trends– Remote work has offered a vast pool of talent for companies and hiring has taken a U-turn as anyone can work from anywhere.
  • Agility: While other advertising agencies are strangulated, Sir Martin Sorrell’s S4Capital- a pure- play digital agency, has successfully hijacked profits by riding on the digital wave. It is guiding its clients to navigate through Netflix, Google and Facebook platforms and providing virtual brand experience at all touch points. The agency structure is simple – content pillar, media and programmatic and data pillars4.
  • Successful disruptors – 12 year old Paytm has moved laterally to add value to its customer and firm. Paytm has pivoted as being more than just a digital wallet and working more towards seller side during the pandemic and as a virtual bank and digital marketplace. They have offered QR code, soundbox and ‘Paytm for business platform’ to help merchants grow their business. Merchant business reduced the cash burn5. Hospitals/ medical practitioners are offering telemedicine and using technology efficiently.


Businesses have to find pivots which can build growth and resilience in coming times. These pivots must offer a path of enhanced customer experience and brand value, sustainability and growth. Businesses have to come out of their comfort zone to save them from being weeded out. For a stronger tomorrow, companies must learn from pandemic and reinvent themselves.

Learners’ Opportunity

Pivoting is making right decisions at the right time to change the direction of the business.  These skills can be mastered through learning through examples.  Online MBA program from IFHE provides ample insights to various situations where businesses are successfully steered in challenging situations. Various eLearning and flexible learning methodologies support this. Check out @ https://online.ifheindia.org/

Discussion Question

How can companies address customers’ pain points and reimagine their approach to serve customers and survive during such unprecedented times?


* Orthopaedic-memory-foam mattress:  This mattress distributes the sleeper’s bodyweight uniformly and conform to his/her body shape. The support and firmness of this mattress prevents the spine bending in an unnatural way. Source: www.wakefit.co

Source Articles

  1. Rakesh, Nitin, and Jerry Wind. Transformation in Times of Crisis.
  2. Nair, Athira, and Apurva P. “How Did Wakefit Earn Rs 114 Crore Revenue in 3 Years?
  3. Guillén, Mauro F. “How Businesses Have Successfully Pivoted During the Pandemic.
  4. Dan, Avi. “How Sir Martin Sorrell Hijacked The Radical Revolution In Advertising.
  5. Dugal, Ira. “Paytm’s Pivot To BNPL: Bernstein On What’s Buzzing In Digital Finance.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Related Post