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Will Schnabel
SVP Business Development & Partnerships @ Yotpo
April 20th, 2020

Supporting Our Partners During COVID-19

As we continue to navigate the uncertainty caused by COVID-19, it’s clear that our entire community is adapting to a new normal. From our service partners to tech partners, customers and prospects, we’re all feeling the effects and adjusting.

Table Of Contents

Together is better

The entire business has been shifting in order to understand the new directions our industry is heading in, and how best to meet ever-changing requirements. The Partner team is responding with a specialized action plan to meet the needs of our partners and their clients to provide them with ongoing success opportunities and ensure they are supported. We strongly believe that mutual commitment and solidarity are key to weathering this storm together.

Last week, we invited our global partner community to join us in a virtual town hall meeting to discuss the trends we’re observing in the eCommerce market, share data obtained from our own customer base, break down the results of our Partners survey, and provide updates on how we’re addressing the situation.

Here are the top takeaways from each of the sessions:
 

State of eCommerce

An overview of important shifts happening in the industry, presented by Tomer Tagrin, Co-Founder and CEO, Yotpo 

  • D2C brands have a unique opportunity to build community and cultivate long-lasting relationships

With 65% of consumers reporting shipping delays and product shortages, it’s clear that COVID-19 has managed to push even Amazon to its limits, leaving the door open for D2C brands to move into that space. The time is ripe for brands to capitalize on this by making every customer interaction count, to ensure the relationship continues long after the COVID-19 crisis ends.

  • New demographics are being introduced to eCommerce

With a large portion of individuals sheltering in place, many groups that previously favored retail are being introduced to the world of online shopping, a phenomenon that is shaping new industry norms. In particular, eCommerce is gaining higher penetration among older consumers and among shoppers in more rural areas. If done correctly, businesses can expect to retain these customers in the long-term.

  • China as an indicator: stabilization and growth are on the horizon

Think back to two months ago when China was in the throes of its battle with COVID-19, instituting a nationwide lockdown to slow the spread of the virus. Let’s take Nike as an example, a company with significant operations in the region. During the lockdown, Nike’s eComm division grew by 30%. Fast forward to now, and 80% of their 7,000 retail locations in China have opened their doors once again, while digital shopping has continued to accelerate even more since that time.

 

Yotpo insights

Data-driven learnings from our merchant base, presented by Josh Enzer, VP Product Marketing, Yotpo

  • The Impact of COVID-19 varies widely by industry and by region

The effects on eCommerce mirrored the trajectory of the virus, as the repercussions were more noticeable in Europe by early March and reached North America by mid-March. Some industries, such as Entertainment & Media, are experiencing significant increases in order volume, while other verticals, like Fashion & Accessories, are seeing a decline in sales.

  • Loyal customers are more devoted to their favorite brands than ever

The average number of referrals per referring customer typically hovers around 5.5 to 6 per month. During the month of March, when the effects of COVID-19 really started to affect businesses, that figure almost doubled to 9.9 referrals, showing us that highly engaged customers are even more invested right now.

  • SMS marketing is on the rise

Customers are more receptive to marketing messages, particularly those sent through SMS, with 49% of customers reporting that they prefer to be engaged through SMS during these times. This uptick is clearly reflected in usage trends, with SMS marketing, MMS, and transactional messages steadily increasing through March and April.

  • Introducing: Yotpo Membership

During this uncertain time, merchants are especially eager to drive cash flow and bridge the gap to recovery. This was the impetus for building Yotpo Membership, a new feature that allows members to pay a lump sum for a one-year membership and, in return, receive exclusive benefits – a win-win scenario for both the brand and the consumer.

 

Partner survey results

We surveyed hundreds of partners globally to understand how COVID-19 is affecting their businesses and come up with a plan to best suit their needs. Here were our main conclusions, presented by Will Schnabel, SVP BD & Partnerships, Yotpo 

  • Top concerns and overall outlook

Unsurprisingly, weathering the uncertainty and financial instability were the most frequently reported concerns. In parallel, a majority of respondents reported a positive outlook and cited the importance of tech partnerships during this time.

  • Partner and client pain points

Most agency partners reported decreased pipeline opportunities as their most significant pain point. Fulfillment & inventory challenges and supply chain concerns were reported as most concerning for clients, followed closely by a drop across sales channels.

  • Merchant priorities

We asked our partners what types of projects would be top-of-mind for their clients during COVID-19. Respondents frequently indicated that customer acquisition (paid search/social) and UX-related CRO changes are of high importance, with replatforming coming in as a close second.

  • How can Yotpo help?

When asked how we can help our partners, co-marketing initiatives leading to new growth opportunities emerged as the top response, followed by Yotpo-led vertical-specific insights for mutual clients.

 

Yotpo Partners response: our action plan

After gathering data and insights directly from our partners, we put together a tailored plan:

  • Doubling-down on Q2 co-marketing opportunities for our partners
  • Offering curated partner enablement materials and resources
  • Extending partner funding to support implementation efforts
  • Promoting partner offerings to our customer community
  • Unlocking new features (such as the Membership model for Loyalty) and additional professional services

We’ve also created marketing assets to equip our partners with valuable COVID collateral. It’s all compiled in a centralized COVID-19 resource hub, complete with company updates, industry-specific strategies, and consumer surveys with the latest eCommerce data.

 

Yotpo’s commitment to our partners

During these unprecedented times, our priority has not changed. We’re more committed than ever to going above and beyond to support our mutual clients and one another. It’s during times like these that the strength of our partner community is so apparent, and it’s inspiring to see organizations coming together to help one another. We invite our partners to reach out at any time with questions, concerns, or collaborative ideas they may have. Our (virtual) door is always open at partners@yotpo.com  

 

About the Partner Program

Yotpo partners with leading players in the eCommerce ecosystem to accelerate growth for our direct-to-consumer customers. By working closely with key system integrators, digital agencies, and technology partners, we are able to ensure revenue growth by delivering impactful customer experiences that drive ROI.

The Yotpo partner community is supported by a global team of dynamic and experienced eCommerce professionals, dedicated to delivering partner success.

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