There’s nothing to love about COVID-19. It’s quickly becoming one of the greatest disruptions in modern history and it’s bringing a lot of pain to a lot of people. Lives are in jeopardy, the economy has been upended, our kids are out of school indefinitely, and it seems like half of LinkedIn just became a “how to work from home” consultant. All of these things are bad.

Still, there have been some strategic moves from the companies that gap intelligence tracks that are very worthy of some love. These moves weren’t made with coronavirus in mind, but they were all future-focused, and they’ve set these companies up to weather (and potentially win) this disruption until our society gets back on track.

Moves to Love

Best Buy, a Digital Company – Best Buy did a very un-retailer thing last fall. They shifted to online-centric “Top Deals” promotions and away from the retail industry’s traditional weekly circular ad structure. This caused some confusion among the brands selling through Best Buy, who are still trying to figure out their share of voice (gap intelligence can help with that), and it certainly risked turning-off some shoppers who’ve been trained to check the Sunday circular before they head to stores. However, by untethering its main marketing vehicle from in-store retail, Best Buy is so much better equipped to launch and continuously adapt its coronavirus era online promo strategy.

Walmart and Target, Essentials Companies – Walmart and Target have always been super important retail partners for most of the electronics companies that work with us. However, as “non-essential” stores are shut down across America, Walmart and Target’s previous moves to expand their grocery business made them so much more “essential” to everyone. During these COVID-19 days, folks are mainly going to Walmart and Target to stock up on groceries and household items (and Costco too). However, these shoppers are also going to buy plenty of electronics too as they prepare to work/stream/cook/listen/gadget their way through their home-stays, and the electronics brands with a strong presence at these chains are going to come out on top.

Canon, a Medical Imaging Company – During my time as gap intelligence’s office and production print analyst, I could always count on Canon to have solid products, a great reputation, and end each quarter with almost no debt and tons of cash in the bank.

Canon finally put that money to use in 2016 when it dropped $6 billion on Toshiba’s medical imaging unit. This made a lot of sense back then, as it kept Canon within its imaging wheelhouse, while expanding the company outside of the challenged print and photo industries. It makes even more sense right now, as the key role of Canon/Toshiba’s CT scanners in treating COVID-19 helps offset the fact that social distancing is temporarily making many offices (and their office copiers) obsolete. And when people do go back to work (hopefully soon), there will still be plenty of need for CTs and MRIs.

Amazon, a Social Distancing Company – During my super-eerie neighborhood dog walks these last few weeks, the only folks I’ve come across were other spooked dog walkers or Amazon’s brave army of delivery workers. The fact is, Amazon has played a massive role in getting many of us stocked-up as we prepared for social distancing from home. That’s not a big surprise on its own, but this was different and potentially habit forming. Tons of Americans just made their first AmazonFresh orders and Amazon shopping just shifted from a convenience decision to a public/personal health decision, both of which may have lasting effects in how/where people shop.

gap intelligence, A Culture Company – If you asked a gapper why we’re in business, they’d tell you that its to “do great for each other, our clients, and our community” and if you asked them what we do they’d tell you something along the lines of “we tell companies what their competition and industries are up to.” These are part of the foundation of our culture and they’ve guided how we’ve handled COVID-19.

As coronavirus’ disruptions started making their way into our lives and the channels that we track, gap intelligence acted fast with our “why” and “what” in mind. Within a day, we shifted everyone except our CEO to their ~45 respective home offices, bought notebook PCs for all gappers who didn’t already have one, and created a taskforce focused on quickly evolving our services to meet our clients’ suddenly-changed needs. Within a week we’ve already talked with our clients to understand what parts of the channel have their attention, doubled our weekly market intelligence report cadence to help them keep track of how merchants and brands are reacting to COVID-19, and prepared a list of ecom-focused enhancements that we’ll roll out over the coming weeks.

All the strategic love aside, coronavirus has been awful and the thought of it continuing deep into 2020 is really scary. Here’s to a fast and full comeback and bravo to everyone out there fighting this thing and helping their fellow humans. Now’s a great time to help.

For more than 17 years, gap intelligence has served manufacturers and sellers by providing world-class services monitoring, reporting, and analyzing the 4Ps: prices, promotions, placements, and products. Email us at or call us at 619-574-1100 to learn more.