Retail Ecommerce vs. Coronavirus

Rick Wilson sat down with SCOTTeVEST C.E.O. Scott Jordan to discuss how this digitally-native clothing brand is managing the daily uncertainties of doing business during the COVID-19 crisis.  

In a candid and encouraging talk, Scott describes an incredible way to interact with customers, gives an update on working with an international supply chain, and charts an innovative course for the future of a healthy online retail business. Listen now. 

For Idaho-based digitally-native clothing brand SCOTTeVEST, the magic of outdoor adventure is built into every garment’s DNA. So, a nearly nation-wide shelter-at-home lockdown is uniquely challenging for this family-run business.  

Founders Scott and Laura Jordan have approached the situation with humanity and warmth, setting a tone for tackling what is certainly the most difficult historical moment for all retailers. 

Community and inspiration are more important than marketing.

They key feature of SCOTTeVEST’s product line is utility for leaving the house, with a pocket for pretty much any tech gear or daily essential item for city to wilderness excursions. 

Leaving the product links and standard marketing behind, SCOTTeVEST has instead communicated with customers over social and email to celebrate travel stories and the wanderlust which fuels them. Brand fans have sent in a mountain of images, which SCOTTeVEST is now sharing with armchair travelers around the world, to remind them of great memories and better times ahead.  

Thanks to a small, nimble team and a digitally-managed ecommerce workflow, SCOTTeVEST has been able to retool communication on the fly to suit the strengths of the product, while being very sensitive to the real-world conditions customers are living in. 

Visibility into your supply chain is always critical…now more than ever. 

If there are no products, there is no business to talk about. 

Information about the availability/timing of raw materials, production processes, and order fulfillment is always key to planning, and to keeping customers well-served and happy. 

The flow of goods out of China in recent weeks has struggled with catastrophic logistical hurdles, though there are hints emerging of recovery. In the meantime, resource planning from months or even years ago will be the difference that helps sellers get through. 

SCOTTeVEST does rely on some international vendors, and while as of now the signs are indicating a return to somewhat workable timelines for product flow, we are a long way from “back to normal.” Luckily, the brand already had enough orders in place to maintain and procure products during the slowdowns. 

Planning long in advance for an unpredictable shortfall keeps the lights on in lean times—and when interruptions to demand and supply are unstoppable, it’s time to innovate. How can you celebrate the customer, and connect them with good solutions, even if they have to wait longer for orders? 

The future of retail ecommerce will be a hybrid of digital innovation and practical solutions

While pre-existing plans for a local retail store have been delayed, SCOTTeVEST has reimagined the core benefits of a showroom experience for customers. 

Using livestream and virtual meeting apps, customers will be able to enjoy a personal shopping appointment with the C.E.O. himself, who can interact one-on-one and offer advice while displaying the entire product line, comparable to a retail showroom.  

When the customer is ready to buy, Scott can connect them with customer service reps who handle the details. This concierge experience, innovated by necessity, is already proving so popular that the brand will probably continue it in some form long after the lockdowns have ended. It’s a fun, customer-first approach which humanizes the brand and really sets it apart from the mindless, ugly shopping experience on Amazon. 

Looking ahead: this is a time to regroup and imagine bigger

Ecommerce companies that adapt and endure this moment will be better, stronger, and more thoughtful on the other side of the crisis. Right now, they have time to reimagine, refocus, and retrain, building on the strengths of product and community in new ways. 

In time, restrictions will be lifted, the virus will abate, and the public will be excited to travel again. Hopefully very soon we’ll all be able to grab the keys, the phone, a protein bar, and some amazing adventure gear built to carry it all—then step out for great adventures with family and friends.   

SCOTTeVEST is preparing, with optimism and humanity, for that moment.

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Work Together: A collection of industry updates, insights, and resources designed to help independent sellers scale and support our community during the coronavirus pandemic.

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