Stimulus Checks Drive eCommerce Performance

As the nation receives their first payments, eCommerce industries see a jump in sales

As COVID-19 began to take the world by grip, many local and national governments began tightening their control over their citizen’s ability to do everything from gather public to drink in their local pubs. With these new mandates in place, business around the world began to send employees home. No country has been left unscathed; but the impact across the United States has been on center stage in global news media—in part due to their world-leading amount of reported COVID-19 cases and subsequent layoffs. To combat the lost income from these layoffs and help pump money into the economy, congress passed the CARES Act in late march, which promised to send every American a stimulus check up to $1200 dependent on income level. While many Americans were joyous about the news, many questioned whether the checks would be enough—especially to help stimulate the hard hit eCommerce and retail industries.

As 80 million Americans started receiving their stimulus payments this week, we kept track of how eCommerce performance has changed. We believe we have the first results, and they’re promising.

Retail sites see huge revenue and conversion jumps

The first metric that we look at is how actual brand sites have seen their metrics change since the beginning of the spread of this disease in early March. What we’ve noticed since mid-March is that every metric across the board has remained essentially steady, with conversion rates ranging from flat to slightly higher than normal and site revenue and visits much lower. This suggested that of those who visited, they were likely loyal customers who were already looking to convert. However, since the stimulus package has rolled out over the past few days, we’ve seen these numbers completely change. Site revenue has spiked, going on a 20%+ swing to seeing positive performance for this first time since March 1st. Similarly, visits have increase while conversion rate has remained flat, suggesting that even though site visits are increase, people are looking to spend.

Email drives massive revenue growth

One thing we consistently noticed throughout the proliferation of this disease, is the continued and sustained performance of email as an eCommerce marketing strategy. After an initial drop in early March, email conversion and revenue rates have risen drastically. Since March 20th, email conversions have seen a 100% swing to performance that’s nearly 80% above pre-COVID levels—driven even higher since stimulus payments have been distributed. Similarly, email has seen a nearly 80% to performance levels that are 40% higher than what retailers were seeing before March 1st. If you’re not currently looking into this channel, you need to be doing so as quickly as you possibly can.

NY, CA jump above pre-COVID visit levels

One of the key things that we wanted to look at to understand how COVID-19 was affecting the current state of retail and eCommerce was to to pull performance metrics for the regions of the country first, and hardest, hit by the pandemic. In that process, we pulled site visit changes and conversion rate for New York, California, and Washington. The first thing we looked at is how site visits have changed. While, this metric was consistently trended below levels seen before March 1st, over the past couple days we’ve seen site visits spike. Now, even New York—which is experiencing the brunt of the nations cases—as eclipsed the amount of site visits they were seeing before March 1st for the very first time.

Conversions in some of the hardest hit areas of the country are still trending a bit lower than they were before COVID-19 swept across the US. However, based on our metrics, the amount of conversions that each of these geos is currently hockey-sticking back towards flat overall performance. And, if the stimulus trends hold steady, conversions will eclipse pre-COVID19 performance within the next few days.

Non-US Regions remain flat

One of the biggest reasons why we believe this stimulus package is the driving force behind this surge in eCommerce performance across the US is because of how it compares to the rest of the world. As an example, we pulled together the performance that UK retailers are seeing on their sites since March 1st. While the performance has remained at a more comparably flat rate than in the states, metrics like revenue, visits, and conversion rate have consistently trended down over the past week. This suggests that their lack of a similar measure to the CARES Act being deployed at this time is resulting in performance not being influenced in the same way.

Simply put, if you do any business in the US, these stimulus checks mean it is a time for you to be pushing into the channels and strategies that work best for reaching consumers who have recently received their stimulus package. The best way we’re seeing to do this right now is through the combined conversion generating and revenue driving power of email campaigns. If you’re not already doing this, now is the time to start while people are still looking to spend their checks. If you’d like to see more about how performance is changing, sign up for our bi-weekly COVID-19 Retail Pulse Live sessions here. 

If you’d like to learn more about driving the highest performance possible with emails that provide your customers with products or discounts that can help them most right now, schedule a time to speak with one of our experts here.


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Elliott Moore

Elliott Moore is the Sr. Content Marketing Manager at Wunderkind, overseeing PR, Content, Social, Copy, and Partner Marketing. He has over 5 years of content experience across tech startups in New York, San Francisco, and Helsinki. In his spare time you can find him thrifting local stores in Brooklyn or having beers with friends.