Creative Tactics To Improve Your eCommerce Performance During COVID-19

Experts from APL, CEVA, Kustomer, Thankful, and Convey discuss what creative solutions retailers can take to connect with customers

It’s no secret that COVID-19 has changed retail. With quarantines in place all over the world, consumers must shop online, and retailers have been forced to quickly adapt and pivot to their eCommerce channels to see success with selling their inventory. 



In this video, Kirsten Newbold-Knipp (Convey), Rhonda Moon (APL), Chad Horenfeldt (Kustomer), Willetta Collier (CEVA) and Jonathan Morris (Thankful) discuss how retailers can pivot to eCommerce and set themselves up for success now and in the future.  

This video is a segment from an on-demand webinar, ‘It’s Not A Disaster: Solidifying Customer Loyalty During Ecommerce Supply Chain Shocks,” co-hosted by APL, CEVA, Kustomer, and Thankful. Listen to the full on-demand webinar by clicking the link to the right, and read on to learn more about creative solutions retailers are using to optimize eCommerce performance despite a fluctuating market and supply chain.


Kirsten Newbold-Knipp, Convey:
“We want to talk about creative solutions, so adaptability is sort of going right to it. I’ve heard of brands literally standing up e-commerce stores overnight that didn’t have an eCommerce arm, if you will. Hearing a lot of different and interesting things. I wanted to start with Rhonda because I know as we think about where there are inventory problems or where we’re trying to get things to customers faster, there’s a lot going on in the transportation space around the creativity that’s important.”

Rhonda Moon, APL:
“Absolutely. eCommerce has taken the lead for non-essential retailers right now. So they’ve had to adapt with creative solutions on their websites, how they push communication via social media, and their marketing campaign’s really essential to their sales right now, since most of it is online. The challenge is really how and with what speed they get that product to the customer.”

Kirsten Newbold-Knipp, Convey:
“One of the things that Rhonda was going to share and that we were talking about earlier that I’ll just jump in on, was forward-stocking. And for those of you that might not be familiar with the concept, it is this idea of getting your inventory closer to the customer and really putting that out into other environments, whether that’s through using warehouse solutions or other capabilities. Rhonda, I was just talking about the idea of forward-stocking.”

Rhonda Moon, APL:
“Speaking of eCommerce, I got a delivery. We’re seeing some retailers who are outsourcing distribution, forward-stocking of high-velocity items, trying to get the product closer to the customer to really reduce that transit time and get it in the customer’s hands as soon as possible. Those are some of the things we’re seeing. My Chewy order just showed up, by the way.”

Kirsten Newbold-Knipp, Convey:
“Chad, I know you’ve seen some customers doing some creative things. Tell us a couple of them.”

Chad Horenfeldt, Kustomer:
“Yeah. Some of the things that we’re seeing are that, because volume may not be as crazy as it was pre-COVID, companies are trying to understand how they can re-use my agents or use them in a different way to drive more business, rather than just leverage them to answer requests that are coming in on the reactive side. 

So what we’re seeing is one example, one retailer, who is collecting information as to when people may put stuff in their shopping cart, but may not actually purchase it. And then that comes in through the customer platform, and they’re able to serve that up to agents.

So agents can proactively reach out to these customers and just maybe ask them if they have any questions. And so again, there’s this proactive component. 

We’re also seeing the better leveraging of proactive chat, where it’s a similar type of thing, but instead of calling as a channel, they’re [customer agents] using proactive chat. Like, hey, how can I help you? It’s almost just like a mall, when you go into a store and people say, “Hey, is there something I could find in your size?” This company is doing something similar, but leveraging their agents and even retraining their agents. 

And I think the retailers that are really thinking this way, understanding how can they leverage their technology and leverage their resources, they can really do a lot more and be creative. At Kustomer, we’re trying to push out new technology that our clients can use, whether it’s leveraging better reporting that we’re making available, or even what we’re calling collaborative licenses where people can kind of chime in and help out. It’s helping the agents in their time of need where our customers don’t necessarily have to pay more for these types of licenses, but it’s giving them the guidance that they need. 

And then lastly, with some of the more proactive elements where people are trying to leverage some of this AI technology, where you can have serve-up information, where it’s based on data that we have already. Now this situation is almost forcing everyone to say, “Hey, we need to stretch the resources we have. How can we better leverage these types of resources?”

Kirsten Newbold-Knipp, Convey:
“Yeah. I actually think the proactive example is a really good one. Pre-COVID, one of our clients, Grove Collaborative, actually was using our technology to reduce total tickets. And they found that they had the bandwidth, so they retrained their agents to be guides and to help cross-sell and upsell. And they found some really great revenue lift out of that. 

I know, Willetta, you mentioned you were doing some creative things as well, or seeing customers do creative things. What does it that you’d love to share with the audience today on creativity?”

Willetta Collier, CEVA:
“Well, I think one of the things each of us have touched on is thinking outside of the box. What solutions can your carrier provide to you that you may not normally request of them? 

We are seeing a decline in business-to-business shipments right now, so maybe there is warehouse space that could be utilized to help during this time where you’re not able to stock your retail locations or your storefronts. 

And so it’s really about that partnership and having those conversations, presenting your problems so that we can work through solutions and figure out what we can do to support your business in ways that we never have.”

Rhonda Moon
Sr. Director of Value-Added Services, APL
Willetta Collier
Sr. Manager Home Delivery Service Center, CEVA
Chad Horenfeldt
Director of Customer Success, Kustomer
Jonathan Morris
VP of Sales & Delivery, Thankful
Kirsten Newbold-Knipp; Chief Growth Officer, Convey
Kirsten Newbold-Knipp
Chief Growth Officer, Convey