D2C business

Succeeding in the months ahead: an eCommerce brand survival guide





Succeeding in the months ahead: an eCommerce brand survival guide

Channel mix

With many businesses putting a premium in saving cash, you may have to revisit your paid ads strategy and spend. At the same time, understand there is an opportunity to capitalize on the decrease in competitive bidding for ads and the increase in screen time. In any way, make understanding what's working in paid, doubling down on those campaigns, and cutting down on what doesn't convert your priority.

In your owned channels, there are two main areas we recommend you look at this week.

First is your website - screen time is up, people are browsing more, and consumption for most categories is increasingly shifting online. Based on the type of product you sell, think about relevant ways to capture those new users that may not be necessarily ready to buy, but that you can introduce to your brand for future purchases.

Second, lean into your outreach channels: your email list, text, social. Target your most engaged users with relevant offers.

The 'Time' opportunity

If nothing else, the downturn in order volume and time spent in operations may be an opportunity for you to develop your marketing strategy for the third quarter and beyond.

Use this time to build owned channels. If starting a blog, a video series, a podcast, working on SEO, or building an email list were part of your 2020 strategy, this is the ideal time to start. Understand that those strategies will not give you results right away, but six months from now, when you are working on your Christmas campaign, you will be happy you started developing those channels in April.

With lower order volume, there is also an opportunity to install or improve your analytics and attribution models. Attribution is the key to making smart marketing spend decisions, and you will want to increase your marketing budgets when all this inevitably passes.

Crisis messaging

Understand this is not business as usual, and do not be afraid to address your loyal customers' current situation. Be thoughtful in the way you do it and prioritize empathy. It is the time to help, not to sell opportunistically.

Review the tone in your marketing automation stack and chatbots. Make sure the messaging is consistent with the times. Chances are your customers' lives have changed quite a bit in the last 30 days.

Understand that your users are also getting the same type of messages from tens of other brands, so put thought into making your messaging relevant and unique.

Also, please do not hesitate to communicate your altruism to your customers. If you are helping to make your employees' lives, the public, and/or your customers, tell that story - just don't use it as a sales opportunity.

Focus on Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)

If we oversimplify, there are two main ways to increase revenue at the bottom of the funnel: make the top of the funnel bigger, or make the funnel wider, also known as, improve your conversion rates.

Although you may enjoy a nice organic traffic boost from the sheer increase of screen-time and online consumption, chances are it will be challenging to grow your traffic beyond that.

It is the time to pull out (or start writing) a playbook of different offers, content, copy, and creative that you want to test for performance. Use this time to design those tests, and that extra traffic to add velocity to your testing process.

The key is, think big. While other marketers focus on small items such as sections of copy or calls-to-action in selected landing pages, which will unequivocally give small lifts in performance. Instead, challenge yourself to think about big picture offers that give you an edge in the current landscape.

Here's an idea: think about convenience in delivery. Amazon is deprioritizing what they consider non-essential items, some of which are in high demand - fitness gear or kitchen appliances, for instance, which may take up to three weeks to deliver. If you compete with Amazon in that category, consider offering free express shipping, instead of competing on price.


While many brands are doing large sales with discounts anywhere from 30 to 50%, we do not think this is the right time to discount unless you have large margins, your website traffic has taken a big hit, or you NEED to raise cash.

For everyone else, hold off on discounting and instead think about bundling and finding creative ways to add value efficiently. Altruistic initiatives (buy one give one away, % of revenue goes to charitable initiative) can work great for high margin businesses.

If you are undecided, try a small offer with most engaged customers, and let sales performance guide you from there.

Subscription models

Subscription businesses should put a premium on reducing churn. As uncertainty increases, your customers will look at ways of reducing their monthly overheads, and subscriptions are one area they are guaranteed to look at.

Re-explore your unsubscription flow. Make it easier for people to cancel the subscription, but entice them not to do so with a discount, extra products, the ability to put their subscription on hold, or any other method that addresses your customers' unique challenges.

Again, prioritize creativity and empathy, and understand some of your least engaged customers may need to shift that money towards less discretionary items.