Ecommerce has grown 44% year-over-year for the second quarter of 2020. According to the US Department of Commerce, we have seen as much online buying in the past eight weeks as we have in the past 10 years.
Some products won the spending lottery right out of the gate, and hand-sanitizer, toilet paper, and antibacterial wipes really cleaned up <pun intended>. Home baking and gardening products surged, along with sewing machines, bicycles, and home office supplies. High demand brought shortages and long waits for delivery.
It created opportunities for some businesses that had both the right product and the ability to pivot.
At Buzzgen Media our clients continue to be in multiple stages of marketing response — endeavoring to plan for ongoing non-opens without hurting the next full launch. We have some rock stars in the pivot and adapt categories and we’d like to share some of their stories.
Dulles Glass & Mirror in Manassas, VA is one of the largest e-tailers of custom glass online. This is a bit unusual as the construction industry as a whole, and glass manufacturers and sellers, in particular, can still be strongly pen-and-paper based. We all have the image of a contractor who pencils out measurements on graph paper and scratches details in the margin for estimates of our home improvement projects.
Bahram Nasehi took over the business 12 years ago and deeply invested in automation – including maintaining his own technology department. He became the first custom glass retailer online and has recently “changed the world of shower doors” with an app that allows easy measurement and purchase of custom shower doors that are shipped across the US.
Once the pandemic hit, the technology team was tasked with finding products to monetize and bring in revenue. COVID-19 has changed the world of shopping, and as luck would have it, not a lot of glass retailers were online and Nasehi was fully prepared to pivot and cope.
One new product that was launched was the now ubiquitous glass guards that we see in retail and service workplaces. Dulles Glass was designing and building items that were helping to turn essential workplaces into safe environments for customers and employees. Nasehi says that local government programs were key in helping the business launch this product.
“Needless to say, you need a little bit of luck. We were given lemons during the pandemic, but our lemons were fresh and could be squeezed,” Nasehi said. He also noted that other businesses, including some he is involved with, are stalled and won’t be back until after COVID-19.
Dulles Glass has continued its pre-pandemic marketing activities. “Marketing strategy is the window to opportunity in any business. You have to be nimble; you have to be able to shift. You have to go after your opportunities and market them.”
As for the budget, Nasehi said that budget should be based on return. “If I am getting a 6 or 7x return, why would I spend only $100? You leave your budget open until it can’t bring in anymore (revenue),” he said. Staying in the market has had other advantages, with less competition digital campaigns have seen large CPC and cost per lead drops.
During the pandemic, Dulles has experienced a surge in new business leads and a reduction in advertising costs, by as much as 40%. We attribute this to the fact that many competitors pulled out of the market, thus lowering the media costs and reducing the competition.
Currently, Dulles Glass is re-tooling the glass guard campaigns as restrictions on COVID-19 and pandemic wording is changing (yet again). For a while, publishers were not allowing ads to use words that called out the virus making it particularly difficult for products that were safety-related.
Check out Dulles Glass & Mirror products and offerings, besides showers and custom glass, they offer gym mirrors, shelves, and tabletops, with free shipping nationwide.