See Chief Marketing Officer Jay Gordman’s full video discussing this lawn & garden retailer’s pivot during the pandemic: Full Video Here.
The shutdown of retail sales was doubly challenging for Mulhall’s because, when the lockdown began, perishable spring plants had just arrived and needed to be sold as quickly as possible. Online ordering seemed the obvious solution, but the business’s website made no provision for ecommerce. An entirely new platform would have to be created from scratch. The prospect of an additional new website produced as many new challenges as it solved. Which products should be included? How do we take images and create descriptions of all of the new products? Should traffic be pushed to the old site or the new one? Who was going to answer all the questions that came in online?
yorCMO and the Mulhall’s team determined that Shopify would be the best system for the ecommerce site launch. Because of a previous client project, yorCMO had an existing relationship with a Shopify development partner who could make design adjustments to fit the Mulhall’s brand. The team developed a robust marketing plan to spread the word.
Splitting Duties to Accelerate a New Commerce Channel
To get the plan rolling as soon as possible, Mulhall’s personnel and yorcmo personnel were split into teams according to their expertise. Mulhall’s buying team used its deep understanding of customer needs to select 100 products to upload to the Shopify website quickly. The yorCMO team developed a marketing plan to drive traffic to the website. Marketing tactics included paid search, digital display, Pandora digital radio, pre-roll video, social posts and paid social ads, email, and traditional PR.
Repackaging Television and Radio
Mulhall’s customers are used to hearing about the company’s exciting new spring offerings on local radio and television. To educate the audience about the switch to online ordering and prompt them to use the new e-commerce site, the company recorded a new radio spot.
Moving Customer Service from In-Store to Chat
Once the new e-commerce website was launched, it became clear many customers needed personal service before they would be comfortable purchasing products remotely. Live chat is being added to the site and managed by the Mulhall’s stores team just as they would have managed in- store sales and other pre-pandemic customer solution activities.
Customers were thrilled with the new way to shop. They wanted more than the 100 items initially launched on the e-commerce site. The Mulhall’s buying team added many more items over the next few weeks to take advantage of the demand.
High Interest and Fast Response
The new e-commerce website generated many questions through the email address included on the website, as well as through social media, indicating customers’ willingness to buy online and their excitement about the new format. Mulhall’s personnel were repurposed to answer these questions and move customers through the new buying cycle to online checkout.
Landscaping during a Pandemic
The team assumed demand for Mulhall’s landscaping products was accelerated in part by the fact that many consumers were confined at home to reduce spread of the coronavirus. They had more time than usual for do-it-yourself home projects. Quick response by the Mulhall’s/yorCMO team ensured the demand could be filled by Mulhall’s.
The Mulhall’s pandemic marketing plan worked because the business understands its own customers’ needs very well and because it deployed yorCMO and buying, marketing and stores teams to do what they do best. The new website and ordering process opened many new possibilities for the future, even after lockdown expiration. After the initial marketing push, the team began looking at ways to integrate the main website with the new e-commerce site, using landing pages to connect the two and integrating educational content into both. Mulhall’s new e-commerce capability also provides exciting potential for new offerings to serve wholesale customers.
YorCMO’s fractional marketing solution partners you with a member of our expert team (a yorCMO), who follows a proven process to help you drive profitable growth, ensure sustainability and build intrinsic value. Our process supports B2B and B2C companies regardless of size or industry. YorCMO is headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, with a distributed team of highly experienced yorCMOs serving clients throughout the United States and worldwide.
About the Author:
Jay is co-founder of yorCMO.
Jay also founded Webtivity Group to help companies break through the confusion of how to effectively use their website and digital marketing efforts to meet their business objectives.
Jay is a successful digital marketing and ecommerce professional that helps companies across multiple industries grow revenue using a broad range of strategies. He has a deep understanding of the challenges companies face when trying to balance the diverse components of growing revenue across all marketing channels. He has been called “Tactegic” for his ability to blend strategic thinking and tactical execution to achieve measurable results.