Sitting Idle Is Not an Option: Innovation in the Time of Corona

Posted in CRO, Serving Your Customers

This is a painful and uncertain moment for everyone. May we all find the peace of mind and health to carry on strong.

I want to take a moment to talk to ecommerce retailers specifically. For the past 15 years and counting, I have worked with people building retail businesses in the midst of an industry that changes at warp speed. To all business owners and ecommerce directors, remember: change and adaptation is what you do. I’ve witnessed this first-hand for a long time.

I’m thinking non-stop about how this crisis will impact all of our businesses, and who will ultimately survive and who will not. The unfortunate reality is that many companies will not make it. BUT I also believe that times of crisis are catalysts for innovation. When we’re eventually on the other side of this – and we will be – innovation will have led the way. Innovation is going to be what separates those who succeed from those who close their (virtual) doors. So let’s innovate. Together.

What does change and adaptation in ecommerce look like now?

Sitting idle and watching everything go to shit around us is not an option. In order to survive, you know what, screw surviving – let’s come out THRIVING – we have to stay grounded and clear. Another thing to remember: we already operate in the digital space. As we minimize physical interactions, there will be an increased demand for retail via digital channels.

That’s not to say it will be seamless. Just on Monday, Amazon announced that they are not taking orders to restock their warehouses with nonessential products until April 5th. They will keep processing orders for merchandise already in their warehouses. But, if you’re an apparel company, for example, and you want to get new shirts into their warehouses to send to your customers, you’ll have to wait until April 5th.

At the same time, Amazon also announced they will hire an additional 100,000 warehouse workers to facilitate online orders. This is testament that people are at home and doing EVERYTHING online.

In response to these dynamics, and others, what should your retail company do now?

  1. Minimize all non-essential expenses. You’ll have to assess what these are for your company, but cutting on innovation is not the place to scale back.
  2. Do not stop marketing. Do ensure your marketing is crystal clear and differentiated. Then balance your marketing budget with your conversion rate optimization (CRO) budget. Often we see clients whose marketing spend exceeds their CRO spend. This will lead to decreased ROI on your marketing investment.
  3. Invest in CRO. Now is the time to make damn sure that you are as equally invested in CRO as you are in marketing. You must be converting the users who are coming to your site. A CRO plan takes time and strategy, so putting this in place now is going to be the key differentiator between you and your competitors who are struggling to catch up a month from now.

Sticky add to cart button example

Here’s an example of what I mean. We recently changed a client’s add to cart button to be sticky. The company already has great products and a lot of engaging content. As users scrolled down through the content, however, the add to cart button previously disappeared off the screen. Now it’s perpetually visible no matter where they are on the page. By making this change (and measuring it), we achieved the following results:

  • 28% Increase in revenue
  • 11% Increase in add to cart rate
  • 5.6% Increase product page conversion rate

These strategic wins are critical at a time like this.

I have always envisioned Command C to be a business that eases the burden for others. Over the years, we’ve earned our place in the world as an agency that rescues companies struggling in ecommerce. This feels more relevant now than ever.

Collectively we are all facing challenging days ahead. We know this is a scary and painful time for many of you, and we have your back 100% of the way. We are interdependent upon one another – and the only way through is together.