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How has COVID-19 affected eCommerce?

How has COVID-19 affected eCommerce?
Social distancing, hand sanitiser stations and encouragement of contactless payments are just some of the ways that the shopping experience has changed on account of COVID-19.

It has gone from being a pursuit of leisure, to one of necessity and even fear for many due to the increased potential of catching Coronavirus that any unnecessary exposure to the masses brings.

It is this fear that is increasingly driving consumers towards online purchases, with almost half of those questioned as part of a global survey revealing that they would not be returning to bricks and mortar stores for some time even after Lockdown is lifted.

This has worked out well for many eCommerce businesses such as clothing colossus Boohoo who have seen their online sales rise by 45% Year on Year in the three lockdown months. Overall it has been a rosy picture for eCommerce businesses, with online sales accounting for 62% of all UK retail purchases in May.

However, not all eCommerce brands are prospering; particularly those who are also being forced to support bricks and mortar establishments as well. Cath Kidston, Debenhams and Ashbury Furniture are just three famous names with a prominent online presence to have gone into administration during this crisis.

So is there anything more that these big brands could have done to adapt to these changing consumer preferences? We may have the answer…

Case Study: Grosvenor Furniture

The key to any major changes in consumer behaviour is being fast to react and that is exactly what happened with our client Grosvenor Furniture.

Upon the onset of Lockdown, Grosvenor Furniture reported that sales were dropping along with their ability to carry out home deliveries until restrictions were lifted. We had a simple choice to make at this point, to either:

  1. End our PPC activity and website developments until lockdown had finished in order to limit the damage caused to the business financially; giving them the best hope for survival;
  2. Continue our PPC spend and develop the functionality on the website to be able to take orders which will be delivered as soon as is viable.

Reducing marketing activity would have put us in line with the 50% of brands who admitted to dropping their expenditure throughout the period, with only 7% having planned to spend more according to Marketing Week.

We decided to go for it, putting our necks on the line and recommending that Grosvenor Furniture continue their marketing spend in order to take advantage of the reduced activity of our competitors; many of whom had not offered customers the ability to place orders ahead of time. Indeed, one of the big name home furniture suppliers Next had even gone so far as to temporarily switch their website off!

Grosvenor Furniture placed their trust in us, convinced by our belief that these changes would enable us to:

  • Get a larger return from paid advertising than we usually do;
  • Take orders for furniture at a time when competitors were failing to satisfy customer demand;
  • Remain able to take orders, even though they couldn’t be shipped, by requesting a deposit only from customers.

Monitoring customer activity and general sentiment on Grosvenor’s social media accounts gave us the insight that many staff who were furloughed or spending more time at home were becoming eager to restyle the rooms which they were becoming all too familiar with. This was something we responded to with a blog post and accompany Social Media activity to highlight that unlike others, Grosvenor Furniture was still very much in operation.

The Results

The results were immediately clear to see, with sales levels going into an upwards trend; overcoming the initial dip experienced upon the UK entering lockdown.

rise in sales COVID-19

Our digital Marketing strategy helped Grosvenor Furniture overcome the challenges posed by COVID-19 & the UK Lockdown.

Not only has this approach helped Grosvenor Furniture overcome the pandemic, but it has also built up significant longer lasting brand awareness; taking advantage of the reduced activity of those larger brands such as Next who practically vanished from consumer site at a time when home furniture products were in high demand.

One of the key takeaways from this case study must be that marketing never sleeps, and reducing your visibility during times of crisis is never the correct approach.

See what Kolodo Agency can do for your business by getting in touch with our multi-skilled team today.

Our brand is a trading style of The Manta Group (We Are TMG Limited), registered at Town House Farm, Tarporley, Cheshire, CW6 0EG (10087681).