There are a lot of touch points in the path that connects the production of a product to its end consumer. These touch points are called marketing channels — they involve organizations that work to make products and services easily available to final users. Intermediaries, the companies that deal with producer and sell to the consumer, are essential in the marketing channel process. And the coronavirus lockdown has shown how vital intermediaries can be to an industry.
Take the restaurant business, for example. According to public trade data, restaurants in the U.S. lost $152 billion in market capitalization from February 10 to March 23. Lockdown and social distance guidelines meant suspending dine-in and offering only delivery and takeout in most of the states.
The new reality led to companies furloughing or laying off employees in an attempt to sustain the business. Restaurants that didn’t have a delivery structure had to find a way to deliver food to customers so they could stay open. Enter the intermediaries.
Food delivery apps like Uber Eats, Grubhub and Postmates see a steady increase in usage: between February and March, the number of parents using delivery apps increased from 16% to 20%, according to CivicScience. The apps have also been eliminating fees from restaurants to help the business survive the pandemic. While the restaurant business’s future is still uncertain, intermediaries have been helping to connect the industry with their customers during these trying times.