21 Inspiring Businesses That Digitally Transformed to Overcome COVID-19

By
Writers@Aspire
Published
May 18, 2021

As a result of the ongoing and developing pandemic, we’ve seen a tremendous amount of businesses across Singapore turn to online solutions to keep their companies afloat in the last year. From fitness studios, hospitality chains, and retail stores, here are 21 businesses that are leading the charge in their respective industries through digital transformation.


We’ve put this together with the hope that you gleam some inspiration to guide your own business through these challenging times! #SupportForEntrepreneurs

Fitness 


1. Kulture Studios  — Taking the Bouncefit Workout Experience into Your Homes 


Kulture Studios are the creators of Singapore’s leading rebounding workout experience, Bouncefit. While they are closed physically in light of the latest COVID-19 measures, they are still holding livestream classes, recorded classes, and even pre-orders for custom trampolines to continue enjoying the Bouncefit experience from the comfort of your home.


Website: https://www.kulture.com.sg/ 

Physical class price: S$59 for 4 Class Trial Package, S$100 for 4 sessions, S$209 for 12 sessions, and S$369 for 18 sessions, 

Virtual class price: S$2.99 for a 14-day subscription trial, S$29.90 for a monthly subscription for unlimited classes 

Pre-order for custom trampoline: From S$175 to S$407.40 (instalment plans available) 


2. Absolute Cycle — From Physical Spin Classes to Livestream Sessions

Asia’s leading rhythm cycling studio, Absolute Cycle was also hit hard by the pandemic. From heart-pumping physical classes, they had to take it down a notch and revert to virtual classes online and renting bikes to members through the Home Bike Experience. Despite the drastic change, many existing customers have been receptive to the switch due to the convenience factor and have even attracted new members at the same time. 


Website: https://www.absolutecyclesingapore.com/ 

Physical class price: S$49.00 for 3 Class Trial Package, S$49 for succeeding drop-in classes, S$450 for 10 Class Pack, and S$860 for 20 Class Pack 

Virtual class price: Depends on your country of residence (inquiry needed) 

Stationary bike rental: Depends on your country of residence (inquiry needed) 



F&B 

3. You Tiao Man — From targeting corporate clients to Singaporean families 

You Tiao Man started as a manufacturer supplying frozen you tiao (dough fritters) and has rapidly expanded its clientele to caterers, hotels, airlines, and restaurants. During the height of the pandemic last year, where hotels stopped receiving tourists and flights were at a standstill, their revenue took a dip by 50 per cent. With that, Founder Audrey Chew modified their product offerings to fit common home appliances like air fryers and even launched an e-commerce site that sells to consumers directly. 


Website: https://youtiaoman.com/ 

Price: S$15.00 for you tiao mini bundle deal and S$43.80 for family feasting bundle deal 


4. Swee Choon — From dine-in restaurants to islandwide delivery services 

Loved by locals and tourists alike, Swee Choon is one of Singapore’s best dim sum restaurants known for having never-ending snaking queues outside its doors during peak hours. When Singapore entered the circuit breaker in April, Swee Choon saw a massive loss in dine-in sales, which led them to turn to online sales via food delivery services. While dining at Swee Choon is an entire experience altogether, many Singaporeans can still enjoy the taste of their favourite hearty dishes right from their homes. 


Website: https://www.sweechoon.com/ 

Delivery fees: $5 islandwide delivery with a minimum purchase of S$35 

Nightlife & Alcohol 


5. Zouk — From one of Singapore’s leading nightlife venues to a lush dining experience 

We all know Zouk as one of the country’s best clubbing experiences in the heart of Clarke Quay. But as soon as safe distancing measures were in place, the local clubbing scene was gravely affected. To adapt to the change, they turned their dance floors into a pop-up dining experience named The Capital Kitchen. Visitors can now enjoy delectable bites and a vast selection of wine and spirits against the backdrop of Capital Lounge while reminiscing on the good old party days. 


Website: https://zoukclub.com/outlets/capitalkitchen/ 


6. Trouble Brewing — From serving the corporate market to local beer enthusiasts 

Local craft brewery, Trouble Brewing, operated in the B2B space and primarily supplied their beers to top bars, restaurants, and hotels only. When the closure of bars and food establishments took effect during the circuit breaker period in 2020, Trouble had to change its business model in a matter of hours. From an offline B2B brewery, they began targeting the B2C market through direct sales by offering same-day delivery for their beers. With the convenience factor in play, Trouble Brewery received over 200 orders within the first two days and close to 1,000 orders in just over two weeks. 


Website: https://troublebrewing.com/ 

Delivery fees: S$10 for islandwide delivery, free delivery for orders over S$60 


7. Spiffy Dapper — From dining experiences to curated virtual cocktail masterclasses 

The Spiffy Dapper is no stranger to the nightlife scene with its artisanal cocktails and buzzing atmosphere. Alongside other affected F&B establishments, they took their business online and now provide personalised cocktail masterclasses over Zoom to mixology enthusiasts. Perfect for absolute beginners, each masterclass comes with an entire kit complete with everything you’ll need from garnishes, booze, bar spoon, and recipe book. 


Website: https://spiffydapper.com/ 

Masterclass price: S$99/person 


Travel & Hospitality 


8. Marina Bay Sands — Prime global events venue turned leading staycation destination  

The Sands Expo & Convention Centre at Marina Bay Sands is a leading venue in the global events industry, especially for large-scale conferences at MICE events. With fewer in-person events in light of safe distancing measures, Marina Bay Sands turned from conventions to staycations, which was well-received among locals during the pandemic. Not only did this shift in approach benefit the local economy and tourism sector, but it also provided Singaporeans with a momentary escape from the hustle and bustle of their daily lives. 


Website: https://www.marinabaysands.com/


9. SIA@Home — Bringing in-flight dining to your doorstep 

There’s something about enjoying a meal thousands of feet above the ground, especially if it’s on a Singapore Airlines flight. With air travel at an indefinite halt as a result of the pandemic, Singapore Airlines launched SIA@Home, where locals can experience first or business class dining in their own homes. For the ultimate SIA affair, purchase the all-inclusive package to get a taste of a luxurious meal paired with exquisite tableware. 


Website: https://www.krisshop.com/en/store/siahome 

Price: From S$180 to S$328 


10. Vouch — From a digital concierge service organising your hotel stays to offering work-from-hotel packages 

App-less hotel digital concierge, Vouch SG, was not spared from the effects of COVID-19 on the hospitality industry. With the lack of international tourists entering the country, the Vouch team tapped into this opportunity and launched Work From Hotel packages to target locals. This initiative invites remote employees to change up their environment and work in their hotels for a simple fee. Some of these hotels include Furama RiverFront and lyf Funan. 


Website: https://www.vouch.sg/ 

Corporate Services 


11. The Kettle Gourmet — Sharing the taste of locally-made popcorn from corporate clients to the average Singaporean  

In the short time that they’ve been in business, The Kettle Gourmet has grown from a humble startup to an entire popcorn empire spearheaded by Founder and CEO Zac Chua. During the start of the circuit breaker last year, they shifted their focus from mainly supplying corporate customers to targeting locals who have started working from home. Marketing themselves as the work-from-home snack of choice, many locals loved and embraced the local flavours of Nasi Lemak and Kaya Butter Toast popcorn as well as the classics like Chocolate and Salted Caramel. 


Website: https://thekettlegourmet.com/ 

Price: S$15 for family packs and S$30 for 6-pack sets, 



12. Fun Empire — Corporate team bonding activities have gone virtual 

Team bonding activities are a great way to break the routine at work and bond with your colleagues outside of the office. Specialising in curated team bonding experiences, the Fun Empire embraced the digital shift and moved their team bonding services online amidst the pandemic, making them the first and only events company in Singapore to offer virtual team building for remote teams. With different activities to choose from and a fully guided experience facilitated by in-house professionals, team members can stay connected with one and another despite the physical distance. 


Website: https://www.thefunempire.com/ 

Price: S$25/person for creative home kits 


13. Epic Workshops — Facilitating online team bonding workshops through Stay Home Experience Kits 

Similar to Fun Empire, Epic Workshops offers comprehensive corporate bonding programs for teams. Instead of facilitating virtual team bonding activities, their offerings are far more niche and include unique activities such as virtual candle making, perfume making, resin art, terrarium making workshops. For companies who want to get their employees’ creative juices flowing while staying connected as a team, Epic Workshops is a great place to start.


Website: https://epicworkshops.com.sg/ 

Price: From S$28 to S$208 



Property & Cars 


14. Carro — From physical branch visits to an online marketplace for all things automotive 

Little did you know, the automotive industry in Singapore also took a hit from the effects of COVID-19. In response to the change in customer behaviour brought by the pandemic, Southeast Asia’s largest automotive marketplace, Carro launched a contactless purchase service in an attempt to digitise their current offerings. Today, locals can purchase pre-owned cars without physical visits to showings and provide both sellers and buyers with a safer alternative to trade used vehicles. 


Website: https://carro.sg/ 

Retail 


15. Zerrin — Physical retail store turns to social media to engage audiences 

Sustainable fashion brand Zerrin relied heavily on their physical pop-stores for customer engagement. Now that most retail stores have shifted online, Zerrin tapped into their online platform and strengthened their digital presence through social media. By hosting live stream events and experimenting with at-home creative shoots, this kept both new and existing customers engaged with their brand and advocacy. 


Website: https://zerrin.com/ 


16. Candles of Light — Shifting from physical retailers to online platforms 

All-natural soy and beeswax candles are all the rage now and Candles of Light is leading the charge. “Traditionally, if we had customer enquiries on our candles or product range, we would normally tell them to head to our physical retailers”. Founder Daphne Chan shared that pivoting their business model was key to keeping their audience engaged during this time. With that, they will be launching samples and tester kits for customers to purchase online to let them create their own scents in the comfort of their home. 


Website: https://www.candlesoflight.com/ 

Price: Starting from S$29.90 


17. Humid House — Tapping into e-commerce solutions to expand their in-house services 

Local botanical design studio Humid House utilised the extra time and space during the pandemic to gear up for a secret project that they’ve been working on. Coming this month, Humid House will launch a fresh new e-commerce platform, offering floral arrangements with locally-grown materials and non-commercially available flora. Through this innovative way, they have extended their services to locals nationwide who want to get their hands on artisanal floral arrangements. 


Website: https://humidhouse.com/ 

Price: Starting from S$60 


18. JeannieRichard — Maximising the online business model and making use of the power of collaboration 

As soon as local jewellery brand JeannieRichard wanted to shift their online business efforts to physical pop-up stores to better engage with clients, the circuit breaker hit them like a storm. Despite all in-person engagements being put on hold, the JeannieRichard team decide to build on their current online offerings and use them as a tool for collaboration as well. Today, they have worked with notable Singapore brands such as Nodspark and Tria the Label, as well as local influencers for their social media campaigns. 


Website: https://www.jeannierichard.com/ 

Price: From S$72 to S$380 


Pro Tip: Save up to 7x on FX fees when purchasing inventory overseas with Aspire. 


Arts 


19. The Projector — Using custom merchandise to supplement traditional income streams 

The cancellation of large group events in February last year came as a shock to nearly all service providers in the arts industry, including independent movie theatre, The Projector. With all traditional income streams from events and movie showings out of the picture, they shifted their approach to their online merchandising initiative by offering custom items from tote bags to cocktail mixes, which has garnered strong support from the community. 


Website: https://theprojector.sg/ 



20. Legacy Dance Co. — Making the digital shift from physical dance classes to virtual sessions

Along with various other dance studios in the country that had to temporarily cease their physical classes at the beginning of the circuit breaker last year, Legacy Dance Co went digital.

By offering virtual classes through live stream events and pre-recorded classes available for purchase on their website, current students were able to continue dancing despite the period of isolation and have encouraged aspiring dancers to sign up as well. 

Website: https://www.legacydanceco.com.sg/

Price: S$16 for a Single Class, S$45 for 3 Class Package, and S$70 for 5 Class Package  



21. A Merry Moment — Tapping into event live streaming for wedding videography services 

As heightened restrictions for weddings and large scale events took effect during the circuit breaker, wedding photography and videography service providers were gravely affected. But since the show must go on, many couples started to consider live streaming the event for their loved ones to witness the occasion without being physically present. Tapping into this opportunity, local wedding photography firm, A Merry Moment invested a few thousand dollars last year to provide comprehensive and quality live streaming services for couples. 


Website: https://www.amerrymoment.com/

Embracing the Digital Shift During a Global Pandemic 

There’s no doubt that adapting your business to the changes around us can be a challenging task. But business owners who tap into this as an opportunity to evolve and take their business to greater heights will be future-proofing their businesses for the years to come. We hope you’ve gained some inspiration for your own business.


To get you started on your digitisation journey, Aspire provides a full suite of payment services that can simplify the way you run your company. With the Aspire Business Account, users will gain access to an array of features from expense management, multi-user access for teams, automated bill payments and accounting integrations. Streamline the way you manage your finances in a unified digital platform. 


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