Business is Still Booming … Online

Apr 13, 2020 | Agency Blog, Digital Media | 0 comments

The COVID-19 pandemic is hitting the global economy hard, but has driven online sales across many key verticals.

Plunging stock markets. Record unemployment filings in the United States. Schools, offices, stores, gyms and hotels temporarily closing. It may seem the world has come to a screeching halt amid the coronavirus outbreak, but there’s a glimmer of hope: Many top retailers are continuing to generate billions of dollars in online sales.

Data collected by Attentive, a mobile messaging platform company serving e-commerce and retail brands, shows that global online sales across all verticals have increased by 27 percent from February 2020 to March 2020. With shelter-in-place orders in place across most of the United States and restaurants offering take-out only, the category with the most online growth is food and beverage. Month-over-month, sales are up a staggering 471 percent.

Here are other categories that have experienced growth:

  • With gym closures, the categories of gym equipment and health supplements have seen a 64 percent spike in online purchases.
  • While perfume sales are down (because your signature fragrance doesn’t carry through a Zoom call), online purchases of beauty products such as in-home hair color and skincare kits are up 10 percent because people can’t get to the salon.
  • Products that help make our homes more comfortable and functional, such as office supplies, décor, and comfort apparel, have seen an increase in online sales.

If the importance of having a robust online presence wasn’t already clear, the impact of the pandemic on brick-and-mortar locations has pushed it to the forefront. And this goes beyond having a well-oiled e-commerce platform. Electronic outreach to consumers can help drive online sales and is welcomed by shoppers, 43 percent of whom say it is reassuring to hear from brands they know and trust right now.

Forge connections by shifting focus and customizing your messaging

Whether you connect with your customers through email marketing or text campaigns, it’s helpful to understand key trends in electronic messaging that have emerged as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Consider focusing on the following topics to generate more interest and drive online sales:

  • Discounts. Communicate any sales you’re running or discounts you’re offering. The volume of messages which include information on percentages or dollar amounts off, free gifts with purchase, BOGO and free shipping is up significantly.
  • Focus on essentials. Highlight essentials such as health and wellness products, soap, cleaning products and comfy wardrobe basics.
  • Messages from company leadership. A letter from your CEO or founder with an update on your business can be reassuring to your customers and help build trust. Tell them how you’re taking care of your employees, how your online fulfillment centers and other facilities are adhering to health standards, and what you are doing to support charities. If shoppers’ orders can contribute to charitable giving or if subscribers can participate in philanthropic initiatives, make sure to include those details.
  • Non-promotional messages. Notify your customers when products are back in stock, or share content updates and tips related to items they’ve shown interest in or purchased in the past.

Above all, focus on showing genuine appreciation for your loyal customers and helping them adapt to the changing landscape. Because consumers across the world are being affected differently by COVID-19, consider experimenting with different types of segmentation, including geotargeting, to customize your messaging. And remember to edit any automated messages to convey a tone that is empathetic and sensitive to the struggles and challenges your customers may be facing. Take a look at your content calendar for the next few weeks and decide whether the automations and content you have scheduled—whether directly related to the coronavirus or not—are suitable.

Need some guidance in customizing your online outreach in the current climate? Vela’s digital marketing strategists can help you convey your desired messages in a way that resonates with your customers. Contact us today.