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How to create e-tailer success through a pandemic

17 March 2021|Business Growth, Latest Posts

By Johnny Paterson.  Naturally like any business did through the first pandemic when shop doors were shut, we had to change course, and we had to do this quickly. We had to change things at speed to ensure not only job security for our team who thankfully we didn’t need to furlough at all throughout 2020 but also the continuation of the business as a whole. 

We looked closely at all elements of the business and changed course in places we thought could create not only the fastest impact but the biggest. This included re-looking in detail at our core consumer customers, we had data sitting there that we knew we could utilise more and the closing of non-essential retail gave us the push we needed to do this. We looked at our e-tailer customers too, those that were still open and still operating, this is now where people would look to get what they need so it was paramount, to ensure these platforms were performing the very best they could. Lastly we looked at both our PR strategy and social media strategy, both of which had a huge impact on not only seeing us through 2020 and the pandemic but helped us to come out stronger, more established and with a reputation we are proud of. 

E-tailer replenishment

This was our first stage. We immediately did a detailed analysis of all our e-tailers, first and foremost to make sure that we were fully stocked. We had an advantage in knowing that our products were likely going to be something people really did need to continue purchasing throughout this time, our buyers recognised this too and ensured quickly that all lines were stocked, and stocked well. This helped us hugely with new and increased sales that we were now missing from our non-essential retailers due to closed doors. We were also hugely lucky due to timing that we launched on two major e-tail sites just as lockdown hit. Although sales were dipping elsewhere these two new major listings that we had been working on securing and launching for a long time really did throw us a lifeline when we needed it most. We worked closely with all our customers to work on discounts, promotions and exclusive listings to have plans in place to secure a continued online presence and a continued regular flow of orders coming in. One of our long-standing e-tailers saw a huge increase of 55% in sales for Dr.PAWPAW through the first national lockdown, which in itself really demonstrates the power of e-tail and the success that can be had – even in such hard times.

Direct Consumer Marketing 

Next we looked to our direct consumer customers. We had a list of data that we utilised regularly but we ramped this up. We needed our most loyal customers to know that we were still here. Similar to how we worked with our e-tailers we ensured that we were fully stocked, we ensured we had regular exclusive discounts for our customers too. We also launched a frontline initiative offering two free products to all frontline workers. We saw a lot of people offering incentives for the NHS only, but there were so many more people that were there working on the frontline in unprecedented conditions that we felt could really benefit from our products and also from a little pick me up, so we offered the initiative to all frontline workers. Through this initiative that we hosted on our site, we were able to not only fully facilitate the Dr.PAWPAW team – everyone was behind the scenes making this work, we also benefited our warehouse team who were facing a decline in workload before our frontline initiative launched. Through this campaign we had over 25,000 orders through our website – and although a huge amount of these were people claiming their two free products – many are now returning customers or as they were getting something for free chose to add more products to their basket before checking out. During lockdown one, our website saw a huge increase in traffic and also a 1000% increase in orders, during the second lockdown the four week period in November/December 2020 were-launched the frontline initiative and again saw a huge increase of 695% on website orders. 

Social Media Focus 

Social began to really boom during the first national lockdown. We immediately changed course and strategy and applied a strong focus to our social media channels. We knew this was a tool we could use to really influence people to buy our products more than ever before during this time. People were stuck at home and people were using it constantly, we had a captive audience. We implemented a strong focus on our most relevant products for the climate and times, e.g. our Original and Shea clear formulas that really benefit the skin and our new hand creams and sanitisers, both of which were very much in demand and becoming increasingly hard to get a hold of but nonetheless great products in their own right. We also took our frontline initiative of offering two free products and catapulted this on our social channels. We had dedicated posts to frontline workers that gave people the chance to highlight their frontline heroes, spread kindness and at the same time get our products to as many people as possible. People recognised what we were doing and appreciated what we were doing by dropping the hard sell and focussing on individuals and positivity and this is something we really hope we will continue to be remembered for in years to come. 

PR Approach 

Our frontline campaign really took off in the press. We were fortunately one of the first to react and offer something for our frontline workers and our efforts were recognised in top consumer and national titles. This helped not only drive more people to our website and ultimately more sales but also as a brand it really amplified our core pillars and mission. Our e-tailer customers responded by supporting us every step of the way with re-orders due to the overwhelming demand for Dr.PAWPAW in the UK. We had created demand through this newly implemented strategy of E-tail drive, direct consumer marketing and social media and PR relevant focus to create success during a pandemic with our e-tailers. 

About the Author

Johnny Paterson is a multi award-winning entrepreneur and marketing expert and currently holds the title of Great British Entrepreneur of the Year. He possesses over 25+ years experience in the beauty and hair industry and works closely with Gov+ as a UK London Export Champion providing advice for businesses looking to grow their export business around the world. Johnny is applied, hard working and proactive in all aspects of business.

In 2013 alongside his wife Pauline, Johnny launched his own brand. Dr.PAWPAW, a multi-purpose family product line is now globally regarded, multi award-winning and internationally available. Philanthropy, steered by Johnny’s personal approach and influence on the brand, sees Dr.PAWPAW embark on multiple charity partnerships year on year, a main pillar in the business and one Johnny is keen to expand on as the business grows. 

Johnny is hands on and oversees all sectors of the business from marketing, branding, social media, production and sales and manages a growing team of dedicated staff. 

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/johnny-paterson-61a9b710/ 

About the Brand:

Dr.PAWPAW, the brand that always gives back, was created in 2013 by Johnny & Pauline Paterson and is a UK made and manufactured brand. Dr.PAWPAW’s philosophy has always been to make inclusive beauty products. It is our main mission to create multi use products for everybody and the whole face and body. We are pioneers of the skincare meet cosmetic movement, which means our products not only make you look and feel good but also benefit and improve the skin at the same time. A % of Dr.PAWPAW’s annual sales is donated to Teenage Cancer Trust.

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dr.pawpaw/ 

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/dr-pawpaw 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Dr.PAWPAW?fref=ts 

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCClAp1Kh8gc9Td5zJDnqaug 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/drpawpaw 

Tik Tok: https://www.tiktok.com/@dr.pawpaw?lang=en