Three Australian-based businesses and NetSuite customers have shared their response to the COVID-19 pandemic and how they adapted their business models and operations to reflect evolving market dynamics.

Producer of handcrafted premium chocolate, Koko Black was forced to temporarily shut its stores and Melbourne head office at the height of the pandemic, so staff members were deployed to help meet online demand and service warehouse partners.

During the Easter period, Koko Black experienced online growth of 600% and growth has remained at triple digit figures ever since.

With comprehensive CRM, inventory and finance functions in a single NetSuite system, Koko Black can track profitability on every unit sold in real time and refine decision-making. There are plans for further integrations with payroll, Click & Collect and dashboard reporting.

Chief financial officer, Alex Xuereb said, “As a direct response to the lockdown and surge in gifting purchases from customers, Koko Black has also not only maintained business continuity, but embraced the time to innovate through developing and launching new product lines, including our Native Collection and premium chocolate gift hampers, which are now here to stay.”

Koko Black also partnered with Deliveroo and UberEats to allow customers to send special gift packs for events such as birthdays and anniversaries.

Newcastle distillery and bar, Earp Distilling Co is a new venture started in December 2019 by one of Australia’s oldest family businesses. Founder and joint managing director, Michael Earp transformed an existing warehouse into a multifunctional, modern distillery offering premium locally produced gin, vodka, limoncello and absinthe, alongside a cocktail and tapas bar.

When COVID-19 hit the business faced shortages of hand sanitiser for its own staff to continue operating safely, so the team decided to make their own hand sanitiser, which was then sold to the community and supplied to larger businesses like Australia Post.

Earp Distilling Co introduced experiences and events for customers including a gin school and distillery tours to unlock new revenue streams. There are plans to expand its kitchen operations and develop additional products, with a key focus on online and social media channels.

2020 has also seen the launch of new initiatives including Gin refill pouches to refill signature ceramic Earp bottles and the Next Generation Gin set – a curation of selected modern gins with unique Australian flavours.

Manufacturer of the world’s safest trampoline, Springfree Trampoline saw a huge spike in global demand with kids spending more time at home and the closure of public playgrounds at the height of the pandemic.

Globally, the business has experienced 300% growth year-on-year across key markets including Australia, New Zealand, the US, and Canada, with NetSuite as the primary data source to identify shifts in consumer buying trends.

Head of sales and marketing, Danielle West said the sales normally seen in November and December, were seen in March and April.

“While many businesses dealt with delays in sourcing products due to global manufacturing disruptions, we were able to continue filling orders as our factories are owner managed. The business has end-to-end control over the supply chain, and we were able to continue manufacturing products, only with minor disruptions. The business adjusted its marketing strategy and ramped up customer service to manage the spike in orders.”

Springfree Trampoline introduced augmented reality technology to its website to help customers choose the best possible fit for their backyard and family size.

“COVID-19 forced us to look at the broader picture, allowing us to re-define what is possible and discover new opportunities,” West said.