Even though the coronavirus pandemic has been a bust for some industries, it has been a boom for many e-commerce companies.

People are avoiding crowded places, and as stores begin opening, restrictions are in place. In some localities, only a small number of people are allowed inside a store at a time, leading to long lines, extensive wait times, and frustrated customers.

Yes, it’s much easier to buy online, but there are situations where it may not be ideal to buy online. For example, it may be difficult for beauty and clothing brands to sell online because customers wish to try before they buy.

This is why some brands offered free shipping, free returns, and curbside pickup during the pandemic. Didn’t like your purchase? Use the included label to ship it back for free.

They Did Something Different

Some companies were prepared for the pandemic through their e-commerce platform and adjusted quickly to meet customer demands.

MECCA

MECCA, a beauty brand in Australia and New Zealand, had a great idea. The brand understood that customers were accustomed to beauty consultants. Although customers were not allowed in the store, MECCA found a unique consultation solution.  They rolled out virtual consultations. Customers could schedule free time to connect with a specialist for skincare lessons, fragrance consultation, makeup lessons, or a beauty consultation.

Mecca Brand Virtual Service Linkedin 655x1024 1
Credit MECCA

MECCA could have relied on their strong e-commerce presence to sell products during the pandemic, but they went a step further and offered the “hands-on” approach that customers wanted, all from the safety and comfort of a virtual environment.

Cue Clothing Co.

The Australian fashion brand Cue Clothing Co. was ready before the pandemic struck.

They combined their online and in-store experiences, every customer interaction – website, social, live chat, call center, POS, and more – to engage customers across all channels at any time.

This level of engagement provided true 1:1 omnichannel personalization and they accomplished this by combining all their data into a single platform. Customers received a seamless shopping experience as offline and online shopping were connected, leading to personalized communications.

The brand also made it easy for customers to avoid crowds, where they could buy online and have it shipped, or buy online and pick up curbside at the store.

Final Thoughts

This pandemic threw off every e-commerce adoption curve. Instead of a nice gentle slope, it jumped like no one thought possible. Will newly formed online buying habits be the norm, post-pandemic? It’s possible.

Multiple Countries Since January
Year-over-year retail online activities for the US, UK, DE, and AUS.

Shopping and customer expectations have both changed. Each customer will have a different level of comfort about how they wish to shop, versus buying online and avoiding the crowds altogether. It’s up to you, the retailers, to connect 1:1 with customers when and where they prefer.

Shopping and customer expectations have both changed. Each customer will have a different level of comfort about how they wish to shop, versus buying online and avoiding the crowds altogether. It’s up to you, the retailers, to connect 1:1 with customers when and where they prefer.

As you read above, both Cue Clothing and MECCA were able to successfully engage customers during difficult times. Although retailers will want in-store traffic, creating an omnichannel engagement strategy to connect 1:1 with customers will be vital.

Shopping and customer expectations have both changed. Each customer will have a different level of comfort about how they wish to shop, versus buying online and avoiding the crowds altogether. It’s up to you, the retailers, to connect 1:1 with customers when and where they prefer.

As you read above, both Cue Clothing and MECCA were able to successfully engage customers during difficult times. Although retailers will want in-store traffic, creating an omnichannel engagement strategy to connect 1:1 with customers will be vital.