(8 minutes read)

The Coronavirus is here, and until it’s over, we have to get used to the changes it is bringing. And it’s not all bad. Unique situations create unique opportunities, and this is true in the world of SMBs as anywhere else. 

Like with past crises, in order for businesses to stay afloat in this situation, and even to thrive, they will need to adapt. This is the time to look out for evolving business categories – those that are still functioning and adapting to survive, those that have become more relevant than ever and even stand to gain from this crisis. Operators and agencies need to keep their fingers firmly on the pulse and search traffic trends, in order to understand which business categories will grow, which new categories will arise and which will sadly sink. This is the time to create new categories, for the time of the crisis, as well as for the day after.

Medical supplies
- Obviously in the time of an international medical emergency, medical supply demand is at an all-time high. More and more stores and workplaces are using temperature guns to check people’s temperature without touching them. N95 masks and respirators are also in high demand, while supplies are dwindling in many places. This B2B category is definitely on the rise. 
Coronavirus essentials
 - We all know what the most popular items in this time are: hand sanitizer, surgical gloves, masks, disinfectant home cleaning products and toilet paper. Businesses that manufacture, sell and deliver those items are in for big business in these troubled times. This is a totally new category that needs to be addressed. 
Photo by Tai's Captures on Unsplash           Title Photo by Volodymyr Hryshchenko on Unsplash

Courier Services - Courier services have become a strict necessity in this time. Whether they live in areas that are under lockdown, whether they are in self-isolation or are just practicing social distancing, consumers all over the world are confined to their homes. This means that groceries, office supplies, and any other goods they might need, will have to be delivered directly to their doorstep (without any contact between shoppers and couriers). While people are practicing social distancing or are in self-isolation, curbside deliveries are not only making sure they can have everything they need at home, they are also keeping businesses afloat. Business owners, on their side, will quickly have to switch to or boost their e-commerce activity, to address needs of consumers at home.

Food deliveries
 - Restaurants and cafes aren’t hosting at this time, but many of them are still open for take-away  and people can still order from their favorite eateries. Uber Eats, for instance, reported a 10 times increase of signups by restaurants in mid-March -- this is crucial because restaurants are one of the categories most affected by the coronavirus outbreak. At this time, delivery services are the ones keeping hungry customers happy and keeping restaurants in business. 
Photo by Kai Pilger on Unsplash

Home made food - An up and coming alternative to ordering from restaurants! Not everyone likes to cook, or even knows how. In a time where people can’t go to restaurants, many need someone else to cook for them. Fresh home-made food for delivery is a great solution not only for people who don’t cook, but also for the ones that do and lost their job during this crisis. A fast developing trend for people who are unemployed at the moment and love to cook, is making and selling home-made hot food or perhaps granola or cupcakes in their community. After getting the proper permits, of course. If this is a category you don’t yet have -- it’s worth considering.   
Home exercise
- People can’t go to the gym or to their regular Pilates classes these days, but they don’t want to stop exercising. Home exercise is on the rise. Many people are buying home exercise equipment like treadmills, exercise bikes, yoga mats or dumbbells. Others are subscribing to home workouts with professional trainers, who on their side had to close their studio or gym or were working in one that closed down. Julia Buckley, a personal trainer in the UK who provides home workouts, saw a 20% increase in registrations in her paid-subscription website.

Freezers and frozen food
- Where do we store? the UK reports a 200% rise in freezer sales. People are stocking up on frozen foods and they are buying freezers as well. 

Non-perishable foods
- While some foods may be deemed as unnecessary luxuries in this time of recession, everyone has still got to eat. And the food people are stocking up on the most are non-perishable foods, with no looming sell-by date. Although hoarding is not recommended, and may cause shortages in supermarkets, people are still filling up their pantry with canned goods, pasta and rice. 

Online courses
- With schools and universities closed in many locations, online learning is the way to go, for children and adults alike. Almost anything can be taught online, from yoga to languages, from academic courses to web design. This is the perfect time to learn from home, and online teaching is on the rise.   

The coronavirus epidemic is changing our world -- at least for the time being - and many changes will last after the coronavirus threat will leave. SMBs and operators that will adapt to these changes, will thrive.
So look out for these changes - in directory or search engine search patterns and stats, in social media, listen in to incoming calls to support, outgoing from sales - and from your SMB customers themselves.
The trends are out there!