Any other business: 15 May 2020

Anna Thompson
Anna Thompson
Discover content team
3 min read
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This week’s AOB looks at the latest e-commerce news from across the world including Amazon’s new service in India, and what a small bookstore is doing online to keep customers entertained.

Wanderlusters’ online adventure

At a time when we need escapism more than ever, one bookstore in America is doing its part to spark our imaginations with a creative brand strategy. The well-loved Wild Detectives store in Texas was forced to close during lockdown, so launched the Book a Trip website1 to keep customers engaged. At first glance it may look like a travel website, but once users enter a destination, they’re taken to a selection of books about the chosen place which they can then browse and purchase.

The campaign has boosted the shop’s online sales by 200%, and owner Javier Garcia Del Moral has been moved by the response: “Aside from the much-needed economic return, the emotional responses and reactions to the campaign have been some of the most rewarding messages we have ever received.”2

Now more than ever is the time to perfect your business’ online offering so you can connect with your customers.  Our Golden Rules of E-commerce article is packed full of valuable tips to help you get started.

Deep cleaning gives consumers peace of mind

As some hotels in the US tentatively prepare to reopen, it’s no surprise that new cleaning protocols are a priority. In a first for the hospitality business, the Hilton chain has partnered with Reckitt Benckiser, the maker of Lysol and Dettol, to launch CleanStay.3 The initiative will incorporate RB’s know-how and scientific approach to cleaning practices across Hilton’s 6,100 properties, and be supported with further advice from Mayo Clinic’s Infection Prevention and Control team. The focus on cleanliness will be visible to guests throughout their stay – from their private rooms to the restaurants and gyms.

In a post-pandemic world, adapting to tighter hygiene standards will become essential for brands in order to cater to consumers fearful of further outbreaks.  Find out more on how you can respond to the changing consumer needs and wants in our article here.

Spicing up customers’ kitchens

With restaurants around the world temporarily shut (or at the least closed to seated guests), online ingredient retailer Spiceology4 has shifted its customer focus. Typically, the brand sells directly to chefs, who make up 40% of its customer base, but during the lockdown the number has declined.

“We basically made the decision on March 16 that we’re a consumer spice company for the next three to six months,” says CEO Chip Overstreet.5

The brand has tailored its e-commerce site content for ‘everyday cooks’, with new tutorials and recipes, as it alters its business strategy to keep up with the evolving consumer landscape. As a result, ‘non-hospitality’ consumers currently account for 80% of its sales and the business has had to adjust its supply chain process – fulfilling these orders requires more labor as the smaller quantities of spices require more jars to be filled than the bulk-buy orders from chefs. “People on the sales team are doing shifts on the product line,” Overstreet says. “It’s all hands on deck!”

Read more about the adjustments businesses are making in the face of changing customer demands in our special Pandemic Report.

Amazon brings COVID relief to India

Amazon has launched the COVID-19 Supplies Store6 in India, to help institutional buyers like nursing homes, hospitals, government agencies and other businesses purchase critical medical supplies and safety items in bulk. The e-commerce store has a wide selection of items including N95 masks, gloves and infrared thermometers.

It comes at a time when many countries are easing their lockdown restrictions, prompting businesses to think about introducing measures to protect their workers as social distancing becomes slightly harder to maintain.

Clean goes green

UK-based startup Oxwash7 is hoping to revolutionize the way people do their laundry – with a focus on transforming it into a more sustainable process.

Customers can have their laundry picked up by couriers on electric bikes who take it to be washed at the company’s cleaning sites. The water used in the washing process is reclaimed from a previous cycle, saving up to 60% of water consumption versus a typical commercial washing machine. In addition, all the technology on-site is carbon neutral. 

Oxwash has 4,000 customers, and business partnerships with the likes of Marriott Hotels and NHS GP Practices, tapping into growing consumer demand for eco-friendly services.