We launched Vajro 2.0 in November 2019 and it was a huge success for us. Dec 2019 had spillover effects and was reasonably successful. Then we had a couple of dull months in Jan and Feb 2020. However, we did a lot of foundation work during these two months and also made a few key recruits to get our sales and marketing engine running. Unfortunately, we were hit hard by the impact of COVID-19 and the lull in sales continued into March. As we step into May, I wanted to share what we did to turn around the situation to our advantage and how we made April 2020 one of our best performing months ever.
1. Predict Buyer Behavior
Immaterial of your business, you need to fundamentally understand the situation in hand and try to anticipate human behavior in general and your client behavior in particular. This core thinking is essential for success. We thought about this more than a month back and I stuck my neck out to make some predictions based on anticipated consumer behavior here. We anticipated a significant increase in sales for eCommerce stores and it turned out to be true.
2. The Devil is in the Details
It is not sufficient if you just anticipate. You need data to back it up. So, we spent hours digging up and analyzing store data from Vajro’s perspective and that gave us indications on the direction in which consumer behavior was likely to go. A lot of eCommerce stores were killing it because buyers now had a lot more time in their hands and that translated to a lot more eye-ball time on their mobile phones. This directly translated into more sales for their stores. And the stats for stores using Vajro were astounding – most of the stores that we tracked reported a disproportionate increase in sales through the app channel!
3. The Trigger
Now, the key question to be answered is, what would be the trigger in this situation for eCommerce stores to try out Vajro? First, the stores needed to understand that an unprecedented 40% surge in mobile traffic meant that this was possibly the best time to try out a mobile app for their Shopify store. Then they needed an incentive to try out Vajro. That is where we decided to make it easier for them to make a decision – we decided to provide a 60-day free offer. We felt it would make a lot of sense for the stores. If they are apprehensive about whether their customers would like the app or not, this would get answered in this 60 day period. If they are wondering whether they would be able to leverage the app and get sales, they have sufficient time to promote the app and give it a good shot.
4. The Plan
The whole plan was centered around the trigger. It was a classic AIDA plan. The attention part was about asking questions – whether the stores are going to be proactive or reactive to the COVID situation. The interest and desire part was about how a mobile app can make a difference. The final action part was all about the extended free trial.
5. The Challenge and the Team
We have a young team and despite all of us working from home, the team’s commitment towards pushing us ahead was incredible and that played a major part! A lot of things were stacked against us:
- We had a couple of dull months before March and didn’t know if this would be successful
- Our team was new – our marketing lead joined Vajro just 6 months back. The others were either freshers or had just a couple of years experience and had joined just about a month back.
- We were only now putting together everything on the marketing side and had no experience in using complicated marketing automation tools.
- While we had our thoughts on anticipated consumer behavior, what if our assumptions were incorrect? That would have meant a complete backfire of the campaign!
However, despite a million questions and doubts, we pushed hard as a team and overcame a lot of obstacles to make it a successful campaign!
6. The Success
It helps to focus on the tasks at hand rather than keep thinking about “goals”. My philosophy is just concentrated on delivering something great, and the result would take care of itself. And it turned out to be a great month for Vajro. In fact, it was the best month ever – our revenue grew exponentially!! While there is still a long way to go, it certainly motivates us to get up every morning and get to work with enthusiasm despite so many challenges all around us! And remember, this is only the tip of the iceberg. Real success lies in replicating this month-on-month and making this the new normal. We need to work incredibly hard to own the Shopify mobile app market!
7. The Luck
Call it luck, or Karma, or God’s grace, or Guru’s blessing – but you need it! While we diligently went about planning and executing our campaign, we needed loads of luck!! We were lucky to have been in eCommerce, which turned out to be a beneficiary in this situation. If the COVID situation had manifested itself in a different way, eCommerce may not have been a beneficiary at all. We were lucky that our primary market, North America, did not do anything like the lockdown that we have in India. If the US had done something similar, it would have possibly been curtains for many of us in the eCommerce industry!
What we’d take away and also encourage businesses to do is, adapt and proactively react to each economic situation and not look too far ahead. While it was a combination of effort and fortune, we can never discount the decision to believe in our abilities and stay committed to the goal.