The unprecedented situation related to the COVID-19 pandemic has made companies all over the world face a new and difficult challenge: How do you maintain sales levels when shopping malls are permanently closed, the government recommends staying at home and growing unemployment hinders individuals’ shopping decisions?
Identifying an Opportunity
The current global crisis will naturally reduce the income of sales brands, which seems inevitable. However, such brands can be creatively supported by supplying them with a competence base and technical support, which could translate at least into partial securing of their income. My company approaches the crisis as an opportunity to use our in-house skills and find new areas of activity, and as a result, find new business partners. An innovative idea from clothes brand Quiosque’s, which we helped carry out, proved to be one of such opportunities. The business partners managed to successfully implement a solution that not only transfers sales online but also involves a modern approach to shopping via Facebook as one of the most popular social media channels, since it is used by 75% of internet users in Poland. Quiosque saw this as an opportunity to promote and sell the brand’s products live via Facebook.
The aim for Quisoque and us was to increase sales in the online shop and via Facebook — at the same time popularizing this kind of shopping — and to maintain good relations with customers, who have been shopping only offline so far. This was necessary to prevent the company’s long-developed image from gradual decline when offline contact is impossible. We also know the potential to build a brand’s following lies in social media, hence the decision to take the maximum advantage of possibilities of this channel.
Crafting a Strategy
The communication strategy for this project was based on a few optimal solutions. First, the clothes brand guaranteed the customers a limited time frame discount for shopping, dependent on the current sales of their product range, plus a separate discount coupon that was activated upon entering while a customer was placing an order in the online shop.
Second, the brand’s current range of products was shown in a descriptive and accessible way — by presenting clothes on a model with the sizes and measurements of a given product supplied. Additionally, in order to speed up the purchase decision, links to promoted products were provided, and the time frame for the livestream was estimated to take an hour.
Moreover, the time of starting livestreams was not random; it was based on an analysis of traffic and activity of the brand’s fan page followers. It was decided that the weekdays with the highest expected activity of potential customers be chosen. Hence, the decision was to conduct livestreams on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Customers unwilling to place orders in the online shop were given an option to have such action taken over by a help desk consultant, who placed the order while having a telephone conversation with a given customer.
Dealing With Challenges
The biggest challenge we faced during this project was placing an order and evading Facebook restrictions. Facebook prevents companies from writing private messages to their followers. We solved this issue by using comments during livestreams, which allowed the help desk to write a request to a specific customer for supplying the product number she was interested in and her contact phone number. Then, while making a phone call to a customer, a help desk employee was able to place an order on the customer’s behalf and according to their expectations.
The reach of livestreams held by Quiosque so far ranged from 28,258 to 40,260 followers, and the average sales increased by 44% compared to the day preceding the day of the livestream. Conversion was achieved during these online meetings, which, in this case, means selling a portion of the promoted products. Active advice by the help desk was also significant, which is the value that tipped the scales in favor of offline to online shopping so far.
According to the report, “E-commerce in Poland 2019. Report of the Chamber of Digital Economy and Gemius,” over 62% of internet users buy online. During the quarantine, this value will increase to the maximum; therefore, we strive to shape our customer’s awareness and have them transfer their activity online, and seek new and more interesting solutions there.
Cezary Kożon is the president of Fast White Cat, a Polish e-commerce house with software being one of its pillars. The company, founded in 2012, helps partners to boost their e-commerce with Magento and create strategy, budgeting, operational planning, online marketing, and recommend best-in-slot features to increase sales as well.