Stay At Home Experiences Amid Covid-19 13th May 2020
How Brands are Pivoting to Provide Stay-At-Home Experiences
By Oceane Daigneau Frugier
Synopsis: Since the lockdown started , life has changed dramatically – services and products are developing and transforming to cater to life at home. The pandemic has changed the landscape of retail, hospitality and entertainment amongst other sectors, subsequently paving the way for innovation. From partnerships, collaborations to adapted services and products, new options and offerings are emerging to make themselves once more accessible to consumers. We’ve collated the many ‘Stay at Home Experiences’ that showcase how industries, sectors and brands have adapted and evolved to remain relevant and continue to serve their customers.
The lay of the land :
While 2020 seems to be shaping up to be very uncertain amid this unprecedented situation, not all is lost—opportunity lies in times of crisis. Before Covid-19, with the decline of the high street, there had been conversations of what the future of retail could be especially with the ever-growing power of online shopping. We saw the start of great innovation amid the food and drink industry, with dark kitchens appearing in a strategic location to better-cater to online food delivery platforms such as UberEats and Deliveroo, helping them not compromise on freshness. We also saw large retailers from IKEA to Aldi rethinking their network format strategy, to provide for on-the-go consumers and cater to expectations surrounding ‘convenience’. DIY experiences, personalisation and at-home convenience were gaining momentum – from ordering restaurant takeout through your app and eating it while watching Netflix, that was becoming the standard.
When looking into how brands are pivoting to serve consumers at home – we observe how these already rising trends continue to prevail. If anything, Covid-19 has acted as a stimulus and accelerated the growth of these trends.
But there will be casualties like in any time of crisis. With nearly all retail having their doors provisionally closed and uncertain as to when they can reopen, it may seem like brands are farther away from consumers than they have ever been. Yet, some brands have taken it as a chance to try new things, test new concepts and strengthen the digitisation of their offering.
This week we are reviewing the stay-at-home experiences across the Retail sector. Stay tuned as we cover more sectors and industries offering stay-at-home services and experiences.
To say these are interesting times for the retail sector would be an understatement. COVID-19 has turned the commercial landscape upside down, creating a contrast which we’ve never seen before. Throughout this lockdown, consumers’ shopping habits have altered as they continue to adapt to this ‘new normal’. As the crisis continues to impact nearly every sector, retail will be affected more than most—amidst the chaos. Whilst online groceries and healthcare products have seen increased online purchases, the opposite is true for non-essential goods. The retail sector has had to re-think its customer experience and journey to cater for the at-home consumer, including developing new touchpoints and putting a significant focus on what that looks like online.
Virtual Consultations for Customers
John Lewis has launched a range of virtual services to meet the needs of customers staying at home during the Covid-19 pandemic. The retailer has adapted store-based services so they can be accessed online, such as one-on-one video consultations with experts. From virtual styling, virtual home design to nursery appointments…
AR See My fit App by Asos
Asos is dramatically accelerating its augmented reality (AR) “See My Fit” roll out, allowing users to accurately see what items look like in different sizes and on different body types. First launched in January, Asos’ AR tool digitally maps its products to 16 different real-life models with different heights and body shapes, ranging from size four to 18. Now Asos says it will digitally map hundreds of products to six different models every week, ensuring “product presentation remains as realistic and engaging as possible while supporting social distancing by removing the need for models to enter the ASOS Studios.”
Livestream retail – A lifeline for China’s Retail Industry
When most of China went into lockdown this year as the coronavirus emerged, small retailers quickly found themselves struggling for survival. However, in China livestreaming had experienced its big boom in 2019. It is no surprise that amid the pandemic, brands and independent retailers have counted on and turned to livestreaming to keep their businesses going. Retail livestreaming sessions have a become a staple for Taobao, China’s online C2C shopping platform – Sellers can either host the session under their own store channel or partner with a social influencer to do it on their Taobao channel, enabling them to target the influencer’s existing fan base. It has the advantage of enabling live interaction – consumers can enquire and send comments appearing on the screen in real time, and sellers can explain, demo and showcase their products in their personal way.
During this unprecedented period, so far, we see an unparalleled acceleration in digital innovation and infrastructures across retail. Existing e-commerce platforms and online-only retailers are leading the way with existing knowledge and experience. This central focus on digital transformation will see increasing amounts of retailers partnering with tech companies to solidify their organisations, acting as part of future-proofing measures as well as catering to the ‘homebody economy’ that is likely to persist post-pandemic. Our future of retail analysis suggests that digital will be the first touchpoint in the shopping experience. Therefore, stores will have to become more inspiring and innovative spaces to merit a visit; aside from a hygiene first approach, physical stores will likely focus on brand experiences that help them strengthen and build relationships with consumers.
Fitness is no longer about just staying in shape and offerings have evolved to become more sophisticated, often blurring the lines between working out, self-care and the self-help movement. Fitness continues to play a part in the overall “wellness industry” with cult-like phenomenons happening in group exercise, emerging ‘mindfulness’ concepts mixing the likes of yoga, soundscapes and sensory services like sound healing to better mental health alongside physical wellbeing.
Since the lockdown, there has been a surge of innovation in the fitness sector, bringing even more fitness and wellbeing experiences accessible in the home home through digital services and channels. Fitness instructors have been quick to move online via live workouts on zoom or youtube videos; brands themselves have been creating easily consumer online and app content. Employers are mobilising partnerships with mental health applications that have seen a tremendous increase in usage, while workers are increasingly turning to their employer-provided mental health plans for guidance as well as fitness and wellbeing support.
The Body Coach Joe Wicks (and various)
Led by a multitude of influencers and personal trainers such as ‘The Body Coach’ Joe Wicks and yoga guru Adriene Mishler, consumers have taken to YouTube and other social media and got creative with their exercise routines. Joe Wicks made headlines when his first live-streamed workout class for children attracted 2m viewers, further demonstrating that there is massive interest for this kind of content – and a real opportunity for brands.
ClassPass shifting its membership to online
ClassPass, a subscription service that partners with local boutique fitness classes, launched live workouts: More than 500 studios have added live, bookable classes to the platform, and 100% of livestream proceeds go directly to the studios.
Peloton last month (April 2020) said it held its largest class ever, with more than 23,000 people streaming it from home. The company, which sells a spinning bike for $2,245 and a treadmill for $4,295, is predicted to be one beneficiary during the Covid-19 pandemic, as gyms remain shut to the public and people are looking to burn calories elsewhere. Peloton members, in addition to buying their own equipment, pay $39 per month to have access to the company’s live streaming classes, which boast cult-like followings across social media platforms.
On demand inclusivity and flexibility. Trends towards open-plan living, working from home and technological advancements have fuelled appetite for staying healthy, conveniently, at home – this has been intensified amid the confinement and has created nee consumer habits that are likely to have an impact post-covid. Fitness streaming brands and home gyms are focused on bringing in top talent to deliver exceptional fitness programs to subscribers, regardless of region. Thanks to new tech it allows inclusivity. On the long term at-home fitness will continue to prevail mainly for the likes of millennial mothers that need flexibility and convenience in their schedules; followed by, small town inhabitants where gyms and fitness brands aren’t as prevalent.
Beauty brands leverage mental health (various)
Many independent beauty brands are developing content surrounding self-care and leveraging mental wellbeing, amid the stress and effects caused by confinement. Brands in the beauty and wellness space, like Goop, Wander Beauty and Indie Lee, are adapting their content and shaping their products around this demand for DIY wellness to reduce anxiety and aid overall wellbeing. Leaning into “lifestyle-focused content,” as “people are honing in on work-from-home tips” and what to do to “pass the time”.
The Rise of Mindfulness apps – Headspace (and various)
Headspace, a mindfulness and meditation app which counts Google and LinkedIn as employer clients, has seen users completing calming meditations 13 times more often than in the previous month, and meditations targeted toward managing anxiety have climbed. Headspace has responded by creating a free content hub with guided meditations and mental health exercises for all its subscribers.
At-Home Retreat Packages – Virtual Retreat, Yoga On a Shoe String
In the absence of being able to retreat around the world, Yoga on a Shoe String has created a virtual retreat via zoom, more than a yoga session it is a full day programme with various practices and teachers, to experience from home. For 35 pounds guests can have a retreat starting at 8am until 8pm, introducing live activities from yoga, meditation to mindful discussions, where guests will connect with their YOAS coaches and the wider YOAS community.
People are balancing a mindset of wanting to know what’s happening with COVID to wanting a distraction. As the coronavirus pandemic causes new levels of stress and isolation, people are getting more involved in a variety of wellness activities, from working out to meditating and other self-care methods. The most successful brands are the ones able to tailor their marketing content and angle their offering around indoor pass times and wellbeing.
Concerts and crowd-based events have been severely affected during this pandemic. However, thanks to social channels and video platforms, it has enabled these types of events to continue reaching out to its audience. While these adapted experiences have yet to compare to the atmosphere of a live and group gathering; this shift to digital experiences has created new communities and social groups. These behavioural, social changes have been exacerbated by the current situation, which could lead to further behavioural shifts beyond this period and define the next generation of digital content consumption.
Live From Home By Live Nation
Live Nations Live from Home! Live Nation is celebrating online streaming events from around the world. With the rising trend of virtual performances, Live Nation built the Live From Home site. An online hub that gathers daily livestreams from the biggest artists around the world into one destination.
Secret Sofa by Secret Cinema
In an official collaboration with Häagen-Dazs, Secret Cinema has launched a home entertainment series to bring critically acclaimed films and cinematic masterpieces to life while in the home. Titled Secret Sofa, the new initiative will see the ice cream company partner with Secret Cinema, as audiences create their own immersive experiences based on movies, with a new film selected each week for 8 eight weeks.
Healthy Online Raves By Morning Gloryville
Morning Gloryville offers inspirational, energising music and mesmerising visual entertainment as well as free massage, organic coffee and smoothie bars, yoga and personal motivation from trained and costumed performers. It has now shifted its events to zoom, offering various themed raves and seminars around well-being to support its community during Covid.
Autokino Düsseldorf Drive-In Cinema Stadium By Big City Beats
After the World Club Dome festival postponed to 2021 (due to the coronavirus), BigCityBeats, the team behind the festival, found a way to give people their party fix while still upholding social-distancing rules. They brought fans to Autokino Düsseldorf Drive-In Cinema Stadium, filling the parking lot with cars for a drive-in rave April 30. The drive-in beats fest featured artists such as DJ Le Shuuk, Tiefblau, Plastikfunk and Topic on the setlist along with fireworks and strobe lights. Ravers partied in their respective vehicles,, honking with excitement and tuning into the set through their car radios.
Luna Drive in Cinema
Drive-in theaters have long been viewed as an antiquated diversion — perhaps worthy of an occasional visit, if that. However, amid social-distancing rules, it has become a suitable solution as seeing a movie at a drive-in can require little to no human contact. Moreover, with the need to escape and distract oneself it has become a welcomed relief for families and adults looking for a little getaway from the house. Luna is also promising food and drink delivered to your car (or Uber, if that’s how you’re rolling), and all the sound social-distancing measures you’d expect in these safety-minded times.
Live Events & Entertainment – Livestream Entertainment: People are seeking support and reassurance amid the pandemic and are thus turning to online solutions and at-home experiences. When we consider the loss of social interaction – that loss of connection leaves a significant gap, happening at a time when people need to feel connected the most. Consequently, we see online communities and virtual event gatherings filling this vacuum, and becoming more active, important virtual socialising and meeting spaces for purpose, community and entertainment.
While in-person travel isn’t in the realm of possibility right now, and travellers now confined to their homes, demand for indoor activities and exploration has increased. Several cultural organisations, tourism boards have come up with online tours of their properties and experiences, so that the journey for discovery can continue, shifting only from the physical to the virtual.
Airbnb is ready to let you take an immersive, virtual trip from the safety of your own home. The company is launching a new set of programming by adapting its Airbnb Experiences into an entirely virtual activity. Airbnb Experiences initially launched in 2016; they’re unique, immersive activities that are designed and offered by local hosts. The new Online Experiences offer a digital version so that people can learn “learn a new skill, safely connect with others or pursue an interest.” There are now over 50 curated Online Experiences, led by hosts from more than 30 countries around the globe. The Experiences ranged in price from $1 to $40 and hosted via Zoom, offering many of the Airbnb hosts who are suffering financially right now some income.
The Faroe Islands
Visit Faroe Islands launches virtual island tours, allowing viewers to follow and control residents as they undertake their daily exercise. People from all over the world have been logging on to the dedicated microsite to watch the day’s local guide traverse the islands’ rugged coastlines, wide-open plains and postcard-perfect villages via a live streaming camera attached to her hat. People can also join the queue to ‘remote control’ the explorer – commanding her with a virtual controller to run, jump, turn left or right, continue forwards or turn backwards.
Virtual Helsinki By Zoan
The Covid-19 lockdown has spurred such a trial. “We realised we could use Virtual Helsinki for the local community, by inviting citizens to participate in a virtual celebration with one of the country’s most popular artists,” says Aalto. Development of Virtual Helsinki’s gig platform was accelerated, including new features, such as bringing in audience avatars. Zoan, the Helsinki-based VR studio behind the project, squeezed half a year’s work into five weeks. “The travel industry needs to reinvent itself and I hope this encourages other destinations to experience with digital platforms,” says Mikko Rusama, the chief digital officer at the City of Helsinki. “Some are suspicious and think no technology can replace a real visit – which in a way is true. But VR can bring about new experiences that are impossible in real cities.”
The Ghibli Museum
The Ghibli Museum is offering virtual tours of its exhibits while it remains closed due to the spread of the coronavirus. Employees of the museum in Mitaka, Japan posted a “video diary” of the building’s reception area at night on YouTube. Meanwhile, another video focused on the permanent exhibit room, filled with props and artwork from the popular anime productions.
Kew, Royal Botanic Gardens
In the UK, the famous Royal Botanic Gardens have developed ‘Virtual Kew’, allowing people to virtually tour and roam their gardens from the comfort of their sofa. Travel to the tropics, the desert and the mountains without leaving the house through their seasonal footage and a sneak peek at their glasshouses across Kew and Wakehurst.
Travel & Hospitality – Virtual Tourism: Customer behaviour is likely to change post-pandemic, while the scope of that transformation is still uncertain; it is fair to note that the way people travel and ‘why’ will evolve. Tourism and hospitality will have to be more in tune with consumer values and expectations and thus, an opportunity for virtual tourism – something different, not necessarily travelling but a visit and experience, nonetheless.
STAY TUNED FOR MORE! We will be updating this post with more of the latest stay at home experiences, upcoming we will look into Live Events & Entertainment industries, how they are responding and innovating.