Retail Sales During COVID
For our latest Trailblaze blog today, we’re talkin’ shop. Retail shop(ping), that is. Much has changed over the past year when it comes to how we’re buying things and we want to keep you in the loop. If you operate a retail business or happen to sell that one product no one can live without (read: D2C business), you’ll want to read on to learn how our clients adjusted in real-time to, well, The Times™ using Trailblaze Marketing’s digital transformation approach.
Like most things in our world, retail businesses were forced to change drastically – and abruptly – over the past year. To appropriate the popular line from everyone’s favorite SmashMouth hit, “the [changes] start comin’ and they don’t stop comin’.” Changes were found in what retailers were selling, how they were selling, and, most importantly, where they were selling.
What Happened to Sales in 2020-21 and Why
Some business made it through this year of universally trying times, and some didn’t. At this point, we’re able to see how varied approaches affected different businesses and entire industries. We can firmly state that it was the retailers that took the scary plunge to digitally transform that had the better shot at making it - à la the oft-used misquote by Charles Darwin, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, but rather, that which is most adaptable to change.”
Luckily, the jump to a digital platform for most retailers wasn’t as scary as it could’ve been thanks to the abundant examples of successful D2C companies like Warby Parker, Dollar Shave Club, and BarkBox. We already knew this business model was effective for a few reasons:
- The retailer is meeting the consumer where they’re already spending their time: online. It’s reported that 88% of 18- to 29-year-olds use a form of social media, as well as almost 80% of 30- to 49-year-olds and more than 60% of those 50 to 64.
- Despite all the costs that go into operating an e-commerce store, it’s still more cost-effective than running a brick-and-mortar. All those dollars you save by not renting a storefront can theoretically go to things that will make you money like targeted ads.
- Speaking of targeted ads, when you utilize this part of digital marketing you’re able to reach a wider audience of consumers that are more likely to buy your product.
What’s even more encouraging than this is the fact that D2C retailers not only met expectations for 2020, but they exceeded them. Going into the economic upheaval, analysts predicted that by-and-large businesses would suffer because consumers would stop spending money. They weren’t entirely wrong, but they weren’t entirely right.
For those who were able to – and did – make the switch to online retail, business boomed. According to eMarketer, D2C businesses were expected to see a 24.3% growth in sales in 2020. What they achieved as a whole almost doubled that estimate, growing 40% from the previous year.
So, how do we fit into all of this? Glad you asked (we assume you asked…).
Digital Transformation with Trailblaze Marketing
Through our work, one of our clients enjoyed a 16.73x return on investment, 310 conversions, and a 255.25% increase in sales in 2020. Wait...how?
When it comes to digital transformation, Trailblaze Marketing is the place to go. We offer a range of services that’ll make your eCommerce experience feel seamless.
Looking for a well-designed website? We’ve got you.
Need content that’ll drive potential customers to your online shopping cart? Look no further.
Want to know exactly how your website is performing month-to-month? We know just the people (it’s us, we’re the people).
Okay, but what about the client that client example we mentioned earlier? We'd love to tell you about how we grew: Ballard’s at Block Island during this time.
Rhode Islanders don’t like to go too far, especially as we’re experiencing a global malady. In order for a local business that relies on tourism to survive, they have to really convince their targeted audience that they’re worth the social-distance trip.
Last year, Trailblaze Marketing went to work to help Ballard’s retain their business by building a summer marketing campaign that sought out to show tourists that the historic beach resort was a safe destination. This was done in multiple steps:
- Building a brand new e-commerce website for cabanas using strong visuals and a clear path making the booking experience easy and straightforward.
- Enabling motion marketing by optimizing the site through the use of video headers. The Trailblaze team ran a mix of Google Ads and Facebook Ads for Ballard’s that focused on Brand Awareness, Events, and Re-targeting Campaigns.
- Taking these ads, our team was able to utilize a conversion of video thru-plays, gain RSVP conversions through the events, and generate bottom-of-funnel cabana sales through the website traffic from the retargeting ads.
Digitally transforming your business can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Yes, there’s a leap from the space you’re currently physically -- and metaphorically -- operating at, but we encourage you to meet the moment.
And really, it’s not all that different from what you’re doing now (well, aside from the computer aspect).
Trailblaze Marketing's Strategy
Customer experience is important in your store, right? So is user experience online. User experience (UX) can make or break the digital interaction between your business and the customer, so it’s imperative you are intentional with each part. Is it easy to use? Accessible? Convenient? Good, you’re off to a good start.
Customer service, too, hasn’t changed much. Just like in a physical storefront, you want to appear as approachable as possible in order to help your customer have the best experience. Online this looks like having an easy-to-use contact form and a prompt, helpful response.
See? Not all that different.
Long before the world turned on its head in 2020, businesses were gearing up for a digital revolution -- and the events of the past year only accelerated that process. At Trailblaze Marketing we offer services to digitally transform your business, extend your marketing lifecycle, and enhance the client experience from beginning to end.
Wondering where to get started? Contact us here and we’ll be happy to help begin the process.