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The ecommerce heroes connecting with consumers during COVID-19

The ecommerce heroes forging connections with consumers during COVID-19.

Working in ecommerce, we talk about surprise and delight a lot. And there’s no question that over the past weeks, people around the world have surprised, and delighted us. From the weekly claps to show appreciation for healthcare workers, to the brands who have completely switched up their production lines to make extra equipment and essentials.

You will have read about the actions of bigger brands such as Burberry and McLaren in the news, but there are a lot of smaller brands who have also taken big steps to help their customers as the COVID-19 crisis has unfolded. We’re here to celebrate these unsung heroes, and tell you more about how they’ve used their loyalty programs to make a difference. 

First of all though, let’s discuss why this is so important to retaining your customers. Back at the beginning of 2020 we identified Conscious Consumerism as a big trend that should be on every merchant’s radar this year. This was because our research showed:

68% of consumers are motivated to be loyal if a brand shares their values and beliefs. 

This trend has not gone away, or even dipped in the face of social distancing and isolation. In fact, if new data is anything to go by, if you want to keep your existing customers coming back, it has become even more important to demonstrate that you are aligned. According to Edelman:

71% of consumers agree that any business perceived as putting profit over people will lose their trust permanently. 

Moreover, data from ClickZ shows almost half of consumers want brands to be transparent about their response to Coronairus, and find it reassuring to hear from the brands they know and trust at this time. 

So who can we learn from when it comes to connecting with customers? We’re going to talk through examples from the following stores: 

Hero #1: Waterdrop

Transitioning shoppers from offline to online 

Waterdrop were forced to close their physical stores early on. In response:

  • They prioritised communicating with their loyalty program members to help them find what they needed online 
  • They also took the opportunity to brighten up darker days for their members, offering free shipping and a double points promotion
  • They did their bit to encourage their customers to act responsibly by using the personalized code “STAYHOME” 

By immediately letting their most valuable customers know that they had closed their physical stores, and giving them a reason to find them online sooner Waterdrop made their transition to a purely online business a seamless one.

Hero #2: withSimplicity

Showing understanding of individual challenges

Clean skincare brand, withSimplicity wanted to send a heartfelt message to customers that would stand out from other email messages. To achieve this they: 

  • Transparently communicated every measure they were taking to operate safely, such as a curb-side pick up option for members who were local to their store
  • Included a recipe for home-made hand sanitizer within their loyalty emails so that customers could navigate the shortage in the shops and stay safe

By prioritizing customer safety and providing shoppers with real ways to solve some of their day-to-day problems, withSimplicity demonstrated that they had their customers’ best interests at heart – something that will help them to retain shoppers long into the future. 

Hero #3: Beauty Bakerie

Creating a community despite social distancing

Baking brand, Beauty Bakerie quickly understood that their loyalty program members may have a little extra time on their hands. They acted fast, responding by: 

  • Creating a content series called ‘5 days of stay at home glam recipes’ with a strapline of ‘let’s have a virtual baking party’
  • Giving members of their loyalty program access to a discount on a different ingredient each day

By creating a daily activity that their members could participate in, Beauty Bakerie gave customers something to look forward to. More importantly, they gave members a feeling of community and participation that they won’t quickly forget, while ensuring that their brand engagement remained high. 

Beauty Bakerie

Hero #4: Astrid and Miyu

Being more than just a brand

Jewelry brand Astrid and Miyu have a long-standing loyal customer base, to whom they are far more than just a brand to buy from. They reiterated this fact in their response by: 

  • Using emails to their loyalty program members to send messages of positivity with things such as quotes of the day and feel-good playlists 
  • Providing inspiration outside of their own product range with content around decluttering, Netflix parties, and brunch ideas
  • Offering mentorship and advice to smaller businesses who might be struggling to react to the COVID-19 situation 
Astrid and Miyu

Demonstrating that they were there for more than just discounts during a difficult time, Astrid and Miyu have likely secured themselves more sales in the long term, showing members just how much intrinsic value they can add through a brand-consumer relationship. 

Hero #5: Taylor Stitch

Showing support for others

There’s always a danger that the messages brands put out during a crisis can come across as self-serving. T-shirt brand Taylor Stitch, were quick to acknowledge that their customers were ‘more interested in stockpiling TP than t shirts’ and instead, concentrated on engaging their loyal customer base in other ways. They responded by:

  • Finding multiple ways to tell customers which small businesses they were planning to support in order to help them through a challenging time
  • Asking customers to add to that list of businesses with their own suggestions 

Sending a humble message that showed what they were passionate about, and asking customers to share in that passion helped Taylor Stitch to connect with their customers on a truly personal level. It also gave them a new and different way to stay engaged with their member base, even if they’re not making purchases just at the moment – an action which will pay dividends in the future. 

These are just a few examples of brands who have prioritised retention by connecting with their consumers in unique and special ways during the COVID-19 crisis. There are many more and here at LoyaltyLion, we’ve been truly inspired by what we’ve seen so far. 

If you’d like to discuss adapting your retention strategy to help you create longer-lasting customer relationships, then our loyalty experts are here to help! Just book a time that works for you and we’ll talk you through some examples in more detail. 

This article originally appeared in the LoyaltyLion blog and has been published here with permission.

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