Any other business: 22 May 2020

Anna Thompson
Anna Thompson
Discover content team
3 min read
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Small businesses get the help they were searching for, a reason to reach for the bubbly for wine retailers, a cardboard packaging first for La Roche-Posay, how restaurants are getting back to business, and a reminder that it's not all doom and gloom from IKEA. Here's this week's AOB.

British shoppers encouraged to find local small businesses

To help keep Britons aware as to which of their local businesses are still open for business, the Independent Retailers Confederation has launched ‘We are open’1 – a new online directory for small high street retailers. Mark Walmsley, Chairman of the Independent Retailers Confederation, welcomed the move, stating "The public still needs the products, services and knowledge that independent retailers provide and the ‘We are open' directory helps them to quickly locate those shops that are open for business.”

With customer expectations changing throughout COVID-19, even letting people know you’re open for business can be important. After all, if they think you’re shut, they might look elsewhere…

Online wine retailers are breaking out the good stuff

After an April that saw a 208% year-on-year surge for 'buy online, pick up in-store' (BOPIS) orders, online wine stores are in a celebratory mood2. We’ve mentioned before how consumers got in some panicked pre-pandemic purchasing, and it seems that there’s a thirst for more when it comes to the wine industry. Wine.com surveyed over a thousand new customers back in April and found that only 24% were regular wine buyers online. However, that number is now 86%, with 88% expecting to continue buying in this fashion once all this is over. Whether it’s the pandemic having driven us to drink, or the sign of a shift in supplying habits, it’s certainly an interesting sector to keep an eye on.

Cardboard beauty tubes take on the plastic pollution problem

Sustainable packaging is a topic of discussion we know all too well, and French beauty brand La Roche-Posay has clearly read our article – doing away with plastic with the launch of its new cardboard sunscreen tubes. Developed in collaboration with packaging wholesaler Albéa, it claims to be the first of its kind in the beauty category – although due to its plastic opening, it’s not fully recyclable. La-Roche-Posay has reduced the need for plastics by 45%, however, will this be part of a wholesale change in the industry itself? We look forward to finding out, and so do Gen Z – with 90% of those surveyed believing that companies have a responsibility to address environmental and social issues3.

Eating out’s innovation revolution

As restaurants around the world begin to open up again, there’s a different feel to the surroundings – but how are eateries tackling the issues that social distancing rules create? Creatively, is the answer. Mediamatic ETEN4, a restaurant in Amsterdam, is trailing the use of outdoor greenhouses as a solution, while Bord för En5 in Sweden is taking a more radical approach, allowing just one customer to dine at a time, with meals delivered via a basket on a washing line - whilst German eaterie Rothe6 has taken the prize for the most share-worthy solution with their socially-distanced headgear.

With safety at the heart of every conversation around returning to normality, it may be some time before we truly see the restaurant business as it was before. However, as companies such as Patty & Bun7 offer kits to make their restaurant favorites at home, could subscription services be the way to combat the disappointment of not being able to dine at your favorite food outlets?

And finally… IKEA moves into forts, tents and caves

How do you stay in mind when your customers can’t leave their front rooms? By showing them all the great things they can do in their front rooms. Showing us that a little laughter can go a long way, IKEA Russia released flat-pack-inspired blueprints8 to creating perfect play areas for families (or grown-ups living on their own, we don’t judge).

Giving your brand a personality is important, and can really help you stand out from your competitors. And, with IKEA, we’ll find out if taking yourselves less seriously can drum up some serious business.