Lately we’ve been hearing a lot about how consumers are moving their shopping online because of COVID-19 and the impact this is having on the retail industry. We sat down with Anisa Kumar, VP, Global DTC Productivity and Omni-channel and Ecommerce at Levi Strauss & Co., to learn more about how shopping is changing and what the direct-to-consumer (DTC) team is doing in response.
We’re hearing that consumer behaviors have accelerated more over the past six months than we were expecting to see in the next five years. What are the key trends that you’re seeing?
The dramatic shift in the ways consumers want to shop as a result of the pandemic is accelerating the adoption of digital technologies faster than we ever would have imagined. Consumers are more open to trying digital alternatives. A few examples of this are ordering takeout via apps or joining livestream events because now, it is a necessity as restaurants are closed for dine-in customers and large in-person events will not exist for the foreseeable future.
A contactless approach is also becoming more mainstream, from contactless delivery to contactless payments. In fact, we’ve learned that one third of U.S. consumers tried contactless payments for the first time during the pandemic. (And contactless payments have been around since the ‘90s!)
We’re also seeing a resurgence of social media as consumers are going online to stay connected with friends and family. In the early days of the pandemic, messaging on Instagram and Facebook soared by more than 50%. And video has become the new normal. Zoom’s daily users ballooned to more than 200 million in March from a previous max of 10 million.
And a final trend that we believe is here to stay is the shift of consumer spending online. Our global ecommerce business grew 25% in our second quarter — with 79% growth for the month of May and triple digit growth in the U.S.
How has this changed how we approach the Levi’s® consumer experience?
In this new environment, our strategies to grow our DTC business are as relevant than ever. Prior digital investments in the omni–channel foundation enabled us to respond to consumer trends and quickly stand up new capabilities for consumers to engage with Levi’s®.
We know that convenience and connection are key with consumers right now, so as we roll out new capabilities based on these new trends, we are now thinking about them in two buckets: those that drive convenience, and those that create connection.
We can understand how convenience is paramount for consumers who want to make their purchases seamless and safe. Tell us more about what we’re doing to drive convenience for our consumer.
Consumers want to make their purchases in safe, convenient and contactless ways, and are willing to adopt digital tools to help with this. In the past couple months, we have launched contactless shopping options like buy online / pick up in store, curbside pick-up, same-day delivery and appointment scheduling for in–store visits. We’ve even rolled out a way for our consumers to connect with our stylists live via chat.
Also, in July, we expanded our existing partnership with Google Lens to give consumers a contactless way to learn more about our fits while they’re shopping in store.
And why is creating connection so important?
We all know that shopping is an inherently social activity. And without the ability to physically be in stores with friends and loved ones during the pandemic, our consumer is feeling a greater need to connect. This is where we’re working with technology players, large and small, to expand our efforts in social commerce.
Recently, Levi’s® became a select partner of TikTok’s “Shop Now” program, giving consumers the ability to purchase items they love via TikTok. The launch with TikTok builds on similar partnerships the Levi’s® brand has had with other social platforms such as Snap, Instagram and Pinterest.
In August, we launched a virtual closet experience in partnership with Snapchat and Kohls, which is perfect for back to school shopping.
Our new Levi’s® app and loyalty programs in the Americas and Europe are showing great results as consumers desire stronger connections to brands.
In 2021, we will build on these capabilities and take them to the next level.
What will stay the same in 2021 is our laser–focus on the consumer and our drive to deliver an inspirational, seamless and digitally enabled shopping experience for our fans.