Warehouse Clearance Outlet (WCO) is a discount furniture retailer, specialising in outdoor Rattan garden furniture. With a range of furniture that can be bought at up to 70% off high-street prices, they help the everyday homeowner furnish their garden without breaking the bank.
In the first months of working with SA Agency, WCO saw a lot of success in the Facebook advertising strategy we put in place. This focused heavily on driving footfall to the shop, and running regular weekend events where customers could buy items at further discounted rates. Within months of rolling out this strategy, however, the business world was struck by COVID-19. The social distancing measures put in place soon afterwards meant this strategy was no longer viable.
To agitate the problem further, the brand didn’t yet have a website where they could drive traffic and encourage purchases away from in-store traffic.
With such a serious curveball thrown our way, we needed to find a solution fast. Without a solution, WCO could have risked a huge amount of lost revenue – a trend which could have continued for months. In addition, the UK was experiencing unseasonably good weather at this time, and the need to capitalise on this was ever more urgent. Finally, two key goals were decided upon:
1) To set up an ecommerce store for WCO as soon as possible
2) Devise a Facebook ads strategy to leverage this new online store, and achieve revenue figures that were similar to pre-COVID-19 sales.
Beforehand, the brand had only a basic organic strategy for their Facebook and Instagram. This consisted primarily of raw product photography posted on their feed. While this kind of strategy can work, especially for visual platforms like Instagram, it was only one piece of the whole organic strategy. To give WCO a solid base to start off from, they needed a more rounded, purposeful content strategy.
The organic strategy focused primarily on the three “A’s” of organic content – Affinity, Authority, and Awareness. Affinity is the “like” factor of the brand, Authority the “trust” factor, and Awareness is what entices purchases. The messaging of this strategy looked to tap into the conversations customers were already having in their minds about COVID-19 at the time: “Isn’t it Time to Get Outside?”
To make sure the new Instagram strategy had the best chance of success for WCO, we needed to make sure their profile was “Instagram Friendly”. With Instagram being such a visual platform, it was important to keep in mind the overall aesthetic of the page. For this reason, we undertook a social media makeover for the brand, inclusive of their Facebook page as well. This meant adding highlights to their Instagram profile, where they could showcase their products, reviews, and finance options in quick, easily-digestible snippets. On top of this, we added the unique feature of the “IG Shop” to their profile, which allowed users to seamlessly shop certain products from within Instagram.
In addition, we also conducted photography and videography days at WCO’s premises (where possible in accordance with social distancing regulations). This allowed them to build up a mixed library of both raw and professional photos, which would help give the brand a more rounded Instagram feed aesthetic.
To add to the effectiveness of the organic strategy, we also performed hashtag research for their niche. This would help their posts reach a larger section of their ideal audience, and give them a wider overall reach than is typically seen with organic strategies.
Once their new ecommerce store had been built, it was time to start leveraging paid traffic.
We chose to focus on the two biggest social media platforms to use in our paid strategy – Facebook and Instagram. This would allow us the best chance of reaching WCO’s target audience. Additionally, it would also mean we could combine elements of their organic strategy into the campaigns to boost the growth of their social media presence.
We chose to break the Facebook funnel strategy down into 4 key steps. The top-of-funnel, the middle-of-funnel, the bottom-of-funnel, and finally the loyalty phase. Each of these stages would focus on a different level of customer purchase intent. This 4-step system would become the “machine” of the advertising strategy, working to attract new customers to the brand.
Here’s how we broke these 4 stages down:
Also called the “Awareness Phase”, this is where customers are completely new to the brand. They haven’t heard about the business or the products it offers before. This represents the largest pool of potential customers, but also the least likely to buy. With customers still being new to the brand, it was important at this stage that we didn’t try to sell to them right from the beginning. Instead, we would use ads that showcased some of the most popular furniture WCO had in stock, and helped people understand the USP of the brand.
This stage is sometimes known as the “Consideration Phase”. At this step, the customers have heard of the brand, but still aren’t sure whether they want to buy anything or not. Often, the main goal at this stage is to build trust with the customer. To achieve this, ads featuring reviews were incredibly effective. What’s more, User-Generated Content (UGC), in the form of customer photos with their new furniture, proved successful here too. This showed any hesitant prospects that it wasn’t simply the brand singing its own praises on social media – it was other people too. Ultimately, this had a great effect at moving prospects further down the funnel.
Here, at the “Action Phase”, customers are ready to act – they just need the final nudge. For WCO, we achieved this by being more direct in the sales ask. The ad creative featured images of stock with the price of the item shown clearly to incentivise users to buy. Additionally, the ad copy leveraged an aspect of urgency to encourage the user to act now and purchase the same day.
Once a customer buys from a brand once, they are a lot more likely to do it again in the future. For this reason, the Loyalty phase encourages repeat purchases for the customer, with upsells or cross sells of similar products encouraging further custom. While this step could be seen as optional, it was in fact crucial in helping WCO to increase the Lifetime Value (LTV) of their customers.
As customers entered the funnel at the TOF stage, social proof played a key role. Page Post Engagement (PPE) ads proved very effective at achieving this. With a PPE strategy, ads are more likely to receive higher levels of engagement in the form of likes, shares, and comments. As these ads show up in users’ feeds, the advantage of social proof is amplified, with customers being more likely to take action after seeing the visible popularity of the post.
To lead customers further down the funnel a solid retargeting strategy was needed. This involved testing various retargeting “recipes”, from trying different ad copy and creative variations, to testing the performance of different audience segments in the back-end settings of Facebook.
This testing is often a key part of any Facebook advertising strategy. It not only allows brands to find which variations of ad copy, creative, and offers resonate the most with the audience, but it also helps them to find the most profitable pockets of audience to focus efforts on.
Finally, to create a truly rounded, multi-platform advertising experience, we introduced email flows into the strategy. These were automated emails set to go out when users took – or didn’t take – a certain action on the website. For example:
Welcome Series: An introductory sequence which helps users get to know the brand and find out what to expect. An effective welcome sequence can lead to higher open rates and email click throughs from new subscribers – something which we saw in full effect in the WCO campaigns.
Cart Abandonment: These are triggered when a user adds a certain item to their cart, but doesn’t finish their purchase. What’s more, these emails are tailored to the product that was left in the cart. This extra personalisation aspect often led to higher actions taken from the email, and ultimately more recovered carts.
Post Purchase Flow: This sequence would be sent out on a delay soon after the customer finished their purchase. Emails would encourage users to take a picture and leave a review on the website, leading to further UGC which could be leveraged in the paid advertising strategy.
With all the organic strategies, the paid advertisement, and the email marketing strategies in place, we were able to create a well-rounded, omnipresent advertising strategy for WCO which resulted in one of their most successful months – even despite the obstacles of COVID-19.
Within 1 month of rolling out these strategies, even we were surprised by the results.
In the month of May, WCO had spent £37,522.67 on Facebook advertising, and generated £1,412,500.00 – a massive Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) of 37.6x!
Even under the regulations put in place due to COVID-19, it was one of the best months WCO had achieved.
It is important to note that about 20% of these sales were collected via phone call, as opposed to the ecommerce store. However, with the omnipresent Facebook strategy that we put in place for WCO serving as their only method of marketing at the time, it was anticipated that this would lead to a number of over-the-phone enquiries from some customers.
We’re currently in the middle of Summer at the time of publishing (June 2020), and sales are still coming in frequently due to the outdoor nature of WCO’s products. Although we could have waited until the end of Summer to share the full results, we were eager to share our early wins for the month of May. We will release the full results once the Summer comes to a close, and can’t wait to share these with you!
While these results shouldn’t be considered “normal” for Facebook ads – particularly amidst the challenges COVID-19 – it paints an exciting picture of what is possible with the right advertising strategy on Facebook. And here at SA Agency, we fully believe we’ve effectively carved out that strategy.
We’d love to help you implement a strategy like this for your ecommerce store too! To talk to us about how Facebook ads could be used to scale your ecommerce store, simply book in a free strategy call with us today.