The COVID-19 pandemic has been impacting business in different ways – employers and employees have had to pivot to adapt and survive in an ever-changing environment.
In our Business as Unusual series, we’ve been speaking to companies supported by Virgin StartUp to explore the impact of coronavirus on small businesses and entrepreneurs.
Ruby and Milly are the founders of By Ruby – the West London start-up making delicious, nutritious frozen meals that can be delivered straight to your door. We recently spoke to them about how the pandemic has affected their business.
According to Milly. “When lockdown hit, people began to panic buy and make the most of their freezers. Sales were up 200% through our online store and 400% to retailers in the first three weeks of lockdown. We have great relationships with our suppliers and didn't struggle with sourcing any ingredients (aside from cannelloni tubes and lasagne sheets - not the end of the world)!”
Ruby and Milly adapted to the swift change in user needs, ensuring their customer service in these uncertain times was second to none and that customers were always informed and kept up to date with the progress of their order. “More than anything it has been wonderful to have grown our customer base. We have felt great warmth in the knowledge that we have helped make people's lives that little bit easier and more tasty,” said Milly.
Food delivery companies are thriving in the current climate and By Ruby needed to make the most of this. Ruby and Milly decided to focus on the direct to consumer side of their business and invest in marketing to highlight their services during this period. They created new bundles on their site highlighting new takeaway and ‘feasting’ options to make eating at home more of an event. “I truly believe that post Covid people's shopping habits will change and they will remember the businesses that treated them well throughout this period,” said Milly.
So, what tips does By Ruby team have for other businesses during these times?
- Stay positive, think laterally, keep standards high and talk to your customers
- If there are problems out of your control, like delivery issues because of the crisis, people are very understanding as long as they are kept informed.
Read more about how businesses are adapting to the coronavirus pandemic in our Business as Unusual series: