What We’re Reading: 5 Stories on How the Coronavirus is Impacting Ecommerce | 04.27.20 | Coronavirus Series


Editor’s Note: This article is part of a series that explores the impact the coronavirus crisis is having on the world of ecommerce. Explore daily insights surrounding the coronavirus crisis or check out these additional resources to help you navigate your marketing strategy during this time.


Featuring employees in brand marketing is resonating with consumers

Source: Glossy

The coronavirus pandemic has forced brands worldwide to rethink their marketing and advertising strategies. With stay-at-home orders in place, traditional photo and video shoots are on hold.

Instead, brands are getting creative with campaigns by putting their employees front and center to help connect with customers. The results of these more human campaigns show the approach is resonating with customers and it even has brand builders rethinking their approach to costly marketing campaigns in a post-pandemic world. 

“We allocate quite a bit of budget to our photoshoots. As a DTC brand, we live on the internet, so we need to have strong images. But now, our product campaigns cost the price of FedEx-ing the product to our employees, and they shoot the images on their iPhones. Everyone is changing their marketing strategy, and this is making me realize that maybe it doesn’t make sense to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on photoshoots all the time. That’s not to say we won’t go back to more polished campaigns, but we will be more creative about lowering costs,” said Melanie Travis, founder of DTC swimwear brand Andie.

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RSE Ventures’ Matt Higgins: How DTC brands should approach fundraising right now

Source: Modern Retail+ (Member Exclusive)

As many brands grapple with a cash flow crisis as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, many are thinking about raising capital but worry that it’s not the right time to do so.

RSE Ventures’ CEO, Matt Higgins, says that “While now may not be the best time to raise a new round, founders can use it to get out there and talk about their company. Instead of asking for money, ask to put your brand’s story in front of VCs.”

Explore the story for his insights “…for retail founders in need of fundraising and how to extend their runway to survive the pandemic and come out on the other side” and how he cautioned brands to avoid becoming tone-deaf while fundraising in this current climate. “Don’t try to sell strength. If you tell me you’re one of the few businesses doing great, I’ll delete the email,” he said.

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Pet retailers see a boost during the pandemic

Source: Retail Dive

Over the last month, we’ve heard stories about consumers panic buying essential items like toilet paper and household cleaning products, while others have been stocking up on new essentials like comfort apparel, toys and games, and health and fitness equipment to keep them comfortable while at home.

Another category that’s also seeing strong performance? The one that serves our furry friends: pet suppliers.  

“We still see business looking pretty solid in the wake of some great uncertainty. … The overall trend is that people are continuing to spend on their dogs in a time of uncertainty, because I think not only do they care for them, like their children, but the idea of just that bit of joy and happiness that the whole family can kind of share in is so valuable right now,” said Suzanne McDonnell, chief commercial officer & head of ventures and partnerships at Bark.

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The current crisis has big CPGs rethinking their DTC strategies

Source: Modern Retail+ (Member Exclusive) 

Consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands are in a tough spot. For companies that have historically relied on retail and wholesale sales (think: movie theaters, restaurants, and vending machines), the coronavirus pandemic has brought on a need to innovate and to innovate fast, which is leaving many brands looking for ways to accelerate their direct-to-consumer (DTC) strategies. 

“What these big CPG players are on the hunt for, said [Zak] Normandin [CEO at Iris Nova], is a way to facilitate more direct commerce with customers — as well as something that lets companies more easily collect customer data. Platforms like Amazon, for example, give scant user information beyond the fact that a sale was made. In Normandin’s eyes, this lack of control may bring about the e-commerce giant’s downfall. ‘We think in the future — specifically in over the next six to twelve months — Amazon is going to be extremely fragmented,’” wrote Cale Guthrie Weissman.

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As Amazon tries to tamp down on false claims and price gouging, some sellers say it’s going overboard

Source: Modern Retail (Member Exclusive)

In recent weeks, Amazon has been working to stem the rise of bad actors on its platform—people selling counterfeit products or price gouging in a time of crisis.

The problem? Many sellers say their legitimate goods are being erroneously flagged by Amazon and costing them significant sales. 

“The over-the-counter allergy relief brand Curist has used Amazon as a sales channel for the past two years. According to the company, it accounted for “a really high percentage” of overall revenue. But a month ago, that entire channel was shut off resulting in thousands of dollars of lost sales. The reason: Amazon claimed its products weren’t actually over-the-counter, despite the fact that Curist said Amazon had approved its products since 2018. [Ethan] Goldstein [Curist’s CEO] estimates that his company will lose hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales when all is said and done, despite the fact that he and his company have taken great pains to have high seller and product ratings on the platform.”

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