Pivot to grow online sales via Amazon and your website.
Who would’ve thought something too small to see with the naked eye could bring the global economy to its knees? COVID-19 has taken loved ones from us, upended our way of life, and challenged everyone to adapt to a new normal most of us weren’t prepared for. But you know that already.
Can you pivot to more e-commerce sales?
First and foremost, we're sending you and your families our thoughts and prayers. We want you to know we’re here to support you. We all need someone to hold onto – as we hope and pray this whole thing will be resolved with as many lives saved as possible.
And the economy? Well, remember when we all met, shook hands, packed into Moscone Center, breathed on each other in crowded aisles, and hugged at the Fancy Food Show? That was a dozen weeks ago.
According to Reuters, in an announcement ten days ago, due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, Amazon will be postponing its annual Prime Day this year – usually set for mid-July – until sometime in August. Amazon is also seeing its share of shifts.
A trying time. But also an opportunity if you can pivot.
If you’re a gourmet brand, you’ve most likely noticed this pandemic has flipped shopping altogether. So the question is, can you flip it back? Can you seize this window of possible opportunity and pivot toward more online sales? Maybe you've done it and are seeing good results. Great! But if you haven't, it'll mean building out and optimizing your Amazon, your website, and perhaps even Walmart Marketplace.
E-commerce is on fire for many of our specialty food clients.
Just because people are trapped at home, doesn’t mean they aren’t buying. In fact, we’ve seen an average of 60% spikes in e-commerce of our specialty food clients – from February to March. Some are seeing over 300%+ increases in Amazon and online sales. So it’s no wonder Amazon’s stock recently surged over 5%. We spoke with three of our clients about this transformative time and wanted to share their thoughts with you.
Susie Hojel, Founder of Chile Crunch, generated two-thirds of sales from brick and mortar stores (nationally at Whole Foods) before the pandemic.
“Right now, e-commerce is taking off, because people are not going to the stores...but people are still buying. So if you already have a consumer that likes your product but can’t find it in a store, hopefully they’ll look online. I would say e-commerce for me is getting key advertising, social media, placement ads, emails, marketing every contact I have, to our base… We’re reminding people we’re still here and we’re enhancing our presence and telling them this is where you can go to get Chile Crunch.”
Pivoting with a strategic purpose.
Despite the hardships we're facing, we're seeing in the news the curve might be headed toward flattening. There indeed may be a small flicker of light at the end of this tunnel. But while we're stuck at home, why not use the time to reflect on how you can boost your e-commerce marketing and sales strategies? If you don’t, you won't meet customers and potential ones where they are – here and now. Online. And you won’t be positioned for the long game ahead.
People are doing more online shopping. It will become a habit.
We're seeing major growth on Amazon and Walmart Marketplace. Those who don’t typically shop online have started. And the number of people already shopping online will only increase. So it’s more important than ever to flip your website into a 24/7 Salesperson using helpful, human, and holistic Inbound Marketing rather than just imparting how nice your brand is with pretty pictures or a cool design.
Expanding and investing during a crisis. Really?
For Bonnie Burgart, Marketing Manager at Sigonas Fruit For Thought, their shift has been from office delivery to e-commerce. She’s also doubling down on fueling Amazon e-commerce sales via Amazon PPC Advertising...
"Since people are for the most part at home, they’re having to find different ways to get food and snacks that they normally would have gotten at the store or at work. Amazon in particular is a great way to be able to access those goods. Currently on Amazon and on our own website, we’ve seen an uptick. We are not yet on Walmart, but we are actively looking into that. At this point, wherever you can be available to consumers, they’ll find you. Whatever we can do as a business to make things available and get them to homes as quickly as possible, without contamination -- that is something that especially as a food product, we’ve taken additional precautions to oversee in our facilities. We’re taking extra steps with masks and PPE as we pack the product.”
It may feel prohibitive to make a move.
But investing more heavily in Amazon Sponsored Brands PPC Advertising like the Sigonas Fruit For Thought team is doing will drive more sales in the short-term. This will inevitably result in more brand exposure for 2020 and big increases in Amazon Rankability for the long-term.
Want to pivot? Ask yourself these questions...
Up until the pandemic, what was your percentage of brick & mortar to e-commerce sales?
How has COVID-19 changed that, and which key areas of your business has this impacted?
What’s a reasonable growth goal for e-commerce sales for short, medium, and long term?
What are you willing to invest in terms of company and human resources, time, and money?
As a digital marketing agency devoted to helping gourmet brands grow online, we think you should consider pivoting in three key areas:
1. Your Amazon Store.
Amazon. Now synonymous with 'the place where you get everything.' Naturally, having strong brand presence there is key to help you stand out amongst the thousands of other offerings that will pop up on a simple search for 'healthy granola' or 'gourmet dark chocolate.'
It's therefore critical for you to improve the 4 Key Pillars every brand should use to grow Amazon sales, branding, and customer engagement. We developed and continue to use this recipe to help our clients grow and thrive on Amazon. And it will work for you – no matter what your Amazon situation is. For existing storefronts or for launching new products.
If you haven't a clue as to what I'm talking about, don't worry. Here's a FREE Amazon Optimization Checklist you can use to understand why this is essential to grow on Amazon and specific strategies and tactics you need to consider and implement – step by step.
As a digital marketing agency, it's something we can help you with - just Connect with us on a FREE Strategy Call or DIY it.
And if you do want to DIY Your Amazon optimization or launch...
Start with Marketplace Seller Courses.
Our good friend and former Amazon Specialist, Shannon Roddy, has a really nice FREE 15 Minute Course For Food Brands you should check out.
We've worked with Shannon to help numerous gourmet brands. Access his full course HERE. It's worth every penny and will propel you forward along your Amazon growth journey.
2. Your Company's Web E-commerce (Consumers / Mom & Pop Retailers).
People who know your brand or are searching for it for the first time should be able to find your company website. But don't just do e-commerce – one bottle or bag at a time for consumers. Instead, consider building out a backend portal on platforms such as WooCommerce or Shopify to allow mom-and-pop retailers to order from you wholesale in small case quantities.
Any small retailer should be able to login, create an account, submit their resale creds, see your case prices, get product and SKU info, and place an order on your website. It may be way more simpler for them to keep their shelves stocked by ordering on your online store – simple and fast. It's what PCS Gourmet Foods will be launching for their portfolio of gourmet brands.
Ken Kellerhals, CEO of PCS Gourmet Foods feels business shifting...
“We’re sensing putting an emphasis on e-commerce is important. We go out and find unique, small companies that want to become unique large companies in the food business and help bring them to market. One of the things we are doing is helping with Amazon. We ship all our products there. What we’re finding is that the whole e-commerce avenue for consumers and retailers is growing, because people can simply sit down, get on the computer, order things, and be done. The age of people on the internet has also gotten older now that everyone’s sitting at home and can’t go out. We’re having different people look at us than before. This week last year, we shipped 25 orders through the internet for one of our clients. That same week this year, we shipped 315. I think that trend is going to continue, and I think it’s going to continue for a long time, and we’re adjusting to make that happen.”
Using Inbound Marketing & Sales to get people to your website.
You can have the most beautiful website. But if you're not marketing correctly and converting strangers into visitors, then into leads, and then closing them as customers, what's the point?
Specifically, this is the essence of what Inbound Marketing is. It means you'll ATTRACT consumers and mom & pop retailers. ENGAGE them with helpful content that speaks to where they are in their buyer's journey. And finally, DELIGHT customers and turn them into ambassadors for your company and brand.
3. Your Walmart Marketplace E-Commerce.
Thinking about expanding sales avenues? Moving to a new channel might be a good strategy. Walmart Marketplace has simplified its 5-Step process of product on-boarding. Plus their Sponsored Products advertising can boost your visibility.
As a digital marketing agency, we’re also pivoting to expand our services to include Walmart Marketplace as another go-to platform.
On April 23 from 1pm-2pm EDT, you can also learn more in a Webinar co-hosted by our friends at Teikametrics and Walmart. Get some key information on how to launch products. Plus learn the differences from Amazon that can help guide your strategy, Sponsored Products Advertising, best practices, and tips for success. Register HERE.
As a Digital Marketing Agency How Can We Help?
If you want to connect, we’re here for you. It may mean DIYing your e-commerce pivot. Maybe you feel like you can’t afford to work with an agency right now. That’s okay. We're here to speak with you and maybe point you towards helpful resources. After all, we're all part of the same industry.
Whether you’ve been at this for years or you've just launched, we’re here for you. In our upcoming posts, we’ll go more in depth in each of the three key pivoting areas. Until then, stay safe. Finally, Lou and I sincerely wish you and your families peace, good health, healing, and hope.