Upskill and Chill: Shopping Ain’t What It Used To Be Recap

Shopping Ain’t What It Used To Be: Turning Commerce On Its Head

We held our third educational webinar about communications during this time of uncertainty. This session, we had an awesome team of e-commerce experts. In this session, you’ll get advice from Meg Coffey, Tim Doyle, Hugh Stephens and Laura Dew.

Catch the video replay of the entire session at the bottom of this post.

Here are the questions and key takeaways that we learned:

Q1 : Give us a little bit more background on your business and how you’ve been impacted by the Coronavirus.

  • Customer sales are down 80-90% for our clients 
  • Have had to spin up e-stores really quickly and shore up other stores because of the huge increase in need for online 
  • Have had to re-balance the portfolio due to how consumer demand has shifted
  • “Grocers are doing a booming trade, so we’ve had to focus on getting their stores were up to scratch as they change their models.” – Laura
  • “Some parts of our business have exploded, and others have went way down – so it’s interesting to shift the balance as consumer demand shifts.” – Tim
  • “People in essential services are seeing a big bump – but even then, it’s not the same kind of demand.” – Hugh

Q2: How have your brand communications changed at the moment? More of them? Less? Have you stopped all together? Why have you taken this approach?

  • “I’ve never been in a situation where one issue hangs over everything. – Tim
  • Every piece of content has to be contextually relevant
  • Have had to re-skin all of our comms – but doing this has caused a massive spike in engagement and other KPIs
  • Facebook CPMs are half of what they were a month ago, that creates a cheap opportunity to engage with your audience – and they’re inside, they’re highly engaged. If you can use paid media, now is the time to do it. 
  • Offerings and comms are changing sometimes daily
  • Need to convey the message about health and balance with the happier, authentic messages and brighten their customers days 
  • Have to find the happy medium – we still have to market but sensitively 
  • Have to really listen to the customer, more than ever
  • People are being more vocal than ever on social. Craft the product offering and comms about that feedback. Use the feedback you see on your page, posts, in groups and other places to craft messaging. 

Q3: E-commerce will have been impacted differently than traditional bricks and mortar shops. I’d say it’s more about ensuring the website is up to the increased traffic more than anything. Are your e-commerce clients acting any different at the moment?

  • Supply chains are incredibly unpredictable right now, so we have had to ask for flexibility and be honest in our communications. You can earn the right from your customers to be a bit more flexible.
  • We’re in unprecedented and difficult times. If you place your communications in that context, it can help.
  • Some clients are posting more – they’re using social to draw people to online posts, videos and classes – which then lead to an e-commerce purchase funnel. These businesses are doing a great job of making the shift that’s necessary.

Q4: How far ahead are you planning your comms at the moment?

  • “We have to be responsive to what happens on a day to day level, so operationally we’ve been trying to keep the team focused on the things that are changing day to day. And yet, we’ve also thought that a lot of the noise that will happen over the next few months doesn’t necessarily change the long term outlook for the brand.” – Tim
  • Figure out how you come out of this with the strongest possible offering, what’s your long term strategy and marketing plan.
  • “We are looking at campaigns for the end of COVID and moving into a more slightly normal space and keeping it slightly more loose for the next three months.” – Laura
  • Work on reactive work model.
  • “There’s a short term plan and a long term plan and our long term plan hasn’t necessarily changed.” – Hugh 
  • Balance your messages between fun and respectful.  

Q5: As we finish things up, what’s your one piece of advice for brand comms at the moment?

  • “We’ve never had a more captive audience at home for digital. I think it’s good to take that opportunity.” – Laura 
  • “Making sure that you have crafted your brand story really well and you’re using sensitive and somewhat fun communications to engage with your audience.” – Laura 
  • “Know where you’re relevant and where your right to play is.” – Tim 
  • “Ask where you can be helpful and where can you be valuable and then dictate what your tone is.” – Tim 
  • “Take this opportunity to grow your audience. Whether that’s collecting emails or building followers.” – Hugh


Q: Have you seen any brands that are nailing it with their comms and messaging?

  • The Guinness ad that was a couch on a black background that made it look like a glass, saying stay home – Meg
  • Direct Response facebook mid funnel stuff where people contextualize home workout or yoga courses – Tim
  • Big budget brand responses that can play to small changes in their overall branding but are relevant at the time – Tim
  • Masterclass 
  • Small and big brands working together to help people out whether it’s healthcare workers or the elderly and providing something specific for them – Laura 
  • Fashion EDMs changing to work from home fashion – Hugh

Q: Which way would you recommend for small businesses to promote their business at the moment? Social media? Google? Something else?

  • “There’s never been a cheaper time to go back to the channels that have worked for you historically.” – Tim
  • If you can afford spending money on ads, now is a cheap time to do it.

Full Webinar Video

Click here to watch the full recording of this session:

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