This post was written by Paul Gray, Partner Marketing Lead at Shopify Plus.
Shopify Plus Partners work with some of the biggest brands in retail, helping them navigate offline-to-online, build and launch their online stores, and scale for profitable growth. As experts in their fields, our partner community has been stepping up to help merchants take on the challenges introduced by COVID-19 and to prepare for the next normal.
With their expertise in commerce, marketing, and customer experience, our curated Service and Certified App Partners have launched new services, tools, and resources to help brands in our community.
Our partners are here to help: Find a partner to help with your specific needs.
Resources to help you get online fast
With the retail landscape shifting overnight, brands have been hustling to adapt their strategies quickly. As retail locations closed, online shopping has seen significant growth, driven by experienced online shoppers buying more products in more categories, and also via people that did not typically buy online.
The above diagram is from The COVID-19 Commerce Insight Report, an initiative from Emarsys and Gooddata, leveraging purchase data from over 2,500 brands.
For many brands, ecommerce was something on the “to-do list,” which had to quickly become a priority. Lindt Canada is one example of a business that responded quickly to launch an online store in five days.
For brands that relied entirely or mostly on the B2B arm of their business, selling direct to consumer (DTC) can be daunting. Importantly, retail partners need to understand the DTC strategy and feel supported.
- If you’re interested in exploring how to take your business online, and the effects that will have on physical retail, watch the video series by Rocketeers of Retail.
- Or get the debrief from Virtual Commerce 2.0, hosted by BVA Commerce on the future of physical retail
- Consider retail partners, customers and employees, with Swanky’s blog post, breaking down 6 things to consider when moving from B2B to B2C.
- Get the inside scoop on how brands like Koala and MVMT Watches built and scaled on Shopify Plus, with a deep dive in Corra’s whitepaper.
Resources to improve store performance
The most successful Plus merchants leverage the capabilities of our Certified App Partners to add or enhance functionality on their stores. From automation to personalization, site search to recommendations, loyalty, and post-sale support, our partners are able to generate insights from leading stores.
- With increased traffic to online stores, merchants are being considerate of how they communicate with shoppers. Justuno analyzed over 1,000 COVID-19 specific communications on store websites to share best practices and ideas on how merchants should explain changes to inventory, shipping, and service. For example, an Australian recycled toilet paper retailer, Who Gives a Crap, had been ‘wiped out’ of inventory at the beginning of the COVID-19 impact. They used a site takeover to inform shoppers but also provide some cheeky brand personality. It showed alternative options until such time that their inventory was replenished.
- SEO may not come to mind when thinking about the store experience. However, if you have yet to consider assigning redirects for out-of-stock products, updating meta descriptions to reflect current shipping scenarios, and informational keywords to focus on, you may want to take a moment to review ROI Revolution’s SEO Coronavirus Checklist.
- Shoppers are looking for more validation before purchasing, because low inventory levels are forcing them to buy products they hadn’t previously. Reviews are more important than ever—read Power Reviews’ recommendations for important trust signals to add to your online store.
- Keep your business going as strongly as possible in this economic downturn with 8 low investment & high return tactics compiled by Verbal + Visual.
- Dig into a roundup of tools, templates and resources for merchants to use as they adjust to COVID-19, thanks to dotdigital.
- Communications, operations, team: Get tips and best practices from nChannel on how ecommerce retailers are navigating through this fast-changing landscape
- The Remote Team Management Playbook from Smart OSC provides practical strategies and info to help businesses maximize the effectiveness of remote teams.
- The unpredictability of performance trends can make decision making difficult. Tinuiti shares 10 analytics strategies to stay on top
- It’s more important than ever to improve loyalty. Analyzing data from over 600 stores, LoyaltyLion gives insights into what leading merchants are doing to increase store performance
- Delivery is becoming a powerful tool to help businesses get products to shoppers. WundermanThompson’s white paper explores how to navigate a shift or extension for merchants exploring delivery.
- Get that conversion rate up, thanks to VL Omni and AdNabu’s 20 conversion rate optimization strategies, and go into the behavioral shifts taking place with ROI Revolution’s recent panel discussion.
Resources to help you with marketing during COVID-19
Consumers are still looking to discover and buy products, and are seeking out convenient, secure, practical, and safe ways to shop. For many brands, online was not only a new sales channel but also a new platform for marketing. Discovery is a challenge, and below are a number of tools to help new retailers attract customers.
- Merchants are finding new ways to reach shoppers, using social channels like Instagram and TikTok. Visiture gives an ecommerce merchant overview of the fast-growing social platform, and how it can be leveraged to build a brand and drive sales.
- Even traditional technologies are seeing a bump, as merchants find success via increased use of SMS. Yotpo has observed that mobile phone usage is up 30% since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, with 49% of consumers saying they prefer to engage with brands through SMS in these times. Their SMS Marketing Primer is a great resource to get up to speed on SMS as a marketing tool.
- Email continues to be an effective tool to clearly communicate with shoppers. Fuel Made’s deep dive on email best practice explores ways in which merchants are adapting email communications to maintain and grow and increase business while being considerate of the challenging situation many customers are experiencing.
- Allbirds uses multiple marketing channels to showcase their community participation
- With consumers making more purchases online, there’s been data showing that marketing spending is driving a positive ROI. Woolman shares tips for exceptional paid advertising in this landscape, while a study from MuteSix explores ad spend, CPMs, and conversion rates by industry—after an initial dip, all verticals are seeing improving ROIs.
- From commuting to dining out to travel, many behaviors have drastically changed in recent months. Klaviyo’s Daily Coronavirus tracker analyzes spending patterns across a range of verticals. For example, consumer electronics saw a spike as people bought equipment to work from home, or for entertainment. Several weeks later other categories are seeing an increase, such as home improvement, toys, and hobbies.
- Studying this data helps brands decide where to focus their marketing efforts in the wake of COVID-19. If you’re up for a brief history lesson, Visiture’s CMO makes his case as to why economic slowdowns can be golden opportunities for eCommerce brands that are willing to make bold yet informed decisions about their marketing efforts.
- Diving into data further, WITHIN manages over $500M in ad spend, resulting in over $5B in online commerce, and they are sharing this data to supply merchants with excellent data insights and daily updates via their own Retail Pulse dedicated to commerce during COVID-19. They are advising their clients to think about how to cater to cohorts that typically buy in-store but are now being “forced” to move online. This means reconsidering free-shipping thresholds, first-order discounts, return policies, or marketplace strategies to reduce friction for less tech-savvy shoppers.
Navigating these unprecedented times brings challenges, but also opportunities for merchants. The Shopify Plus Partner ecosystem continues to bring insights, experience, and capabilities to help our merchants realize their potential in the next normal.
This article originally appeared in the Shopify Plus blog and has been published here with permission.